Elf Holding a Lantern

The Wandering Elf

I have been traveling the County and am seeing many wonderful places, but I don't know everything about them.  Tell me more about the places I have visited and share you ideas of where I should go next.

The Wandering Elf is a simple educational game to demonstrate the features of the online mapping tool GeoSMART and introduce places to visit in Natrona County. The intended audience is grade school children but can be fun for all ages.

View All Posts

Sep 27

T.W. Elf Meets Olivia the Osprey

Posted on September 27, 2018 at 12:13 PM by T.W. Elf

I returned to Natrona County with mixed emotions. The highlight of my year is visiting the fine folks, terrain and wildlife found here, but this year was different. In December of 2016, Woodsy, my trusty sleigh, was caught in a gust of wind and floated down river from Gray Reef. I had to return home without him. …. With a very heavy sigh, I recall that moment….

I tried with all my might to hold on to my dear sleigh, but the Wyoming wind got the best of me. In a flash, I was thrown into the air. Rotating and spinning fiercely, I experienced the full force of the Wyoming wind as it grabbed hold of me and swung me around like a rag doll. When the squall was finished with me and the wind subsided, I realized the rope was no longer in my grasp. Woodsy was gone.

In the distance I could see him floating down the North Platte. In my dismay, I raced down the shoreline leaping and bounding as quickly as I could. I dodged sage brush, snow drifts and rocks. Just as I was about to grab the line, another gust swooped me up and tossed me. When I got my balance and recovered from the cold wind, Woodsy was lost. He was nowhere in sight.

Gray Reef was the last place I saw Woodsy, so, I started my journey there. Quite a different place in the summer. The shoreline is full of people fishing and patches of wildflowers bring color and warmth. The birds are busy singing and foraging for food.

Even with all this warmth, I was feeling blue as I strolled along the shoreline, kicking and tossing rocks along way. I hoped to find a clue or a hint to help me learn where he may have gone. I was lost in my thoughts as I traveled the North Platte. When I recovered from my day dreaming, I found myself near Trappers Road. (Latitude 42.639386N and Longitude 106.619101W).

It was a fine calm morning and morning dew on the trees and bushes glistened in the rising sun. Near the boat ramp, I spotted an Osprey sunning herself on a tall rock formation where she was taking a morning snooze. As I approached the sleeping bird, one of her eyes peaked open and she ruffled her feathers as if to say… ‘I’m busy. Go away.’ Not having the pleasure of conversation or company for a while and being friendly in nature, I persisted and nudged her awake and proceeded to introduce myself. “Good morning, I’m T.W. Elf. Who might you be?” Still feeling a little annoyed, she ruffled her feathers, stuck out her chest, peaked open one eye, and paused. “I’m Oliva the Osprey. You appear to be lost.” After assuring her I was familiar with the area, I shared my sad story.
Cartoon Osprey
Her response was intriguing. She looked up into the sky and thought for a moment as if she remembered something. I stretched out my neck and got closer.  I could see her breath in the cold air and she sighed and said. “I remember that sleigh.” Anxiously I waited for more, but she settled back down into her nap. Frustrated, I picked up a small twig and tickled her beak with the leaves hanging on the end. She roused up, sneezed, opened her wings, fluttered around and shouted “I saw something that looked like a sleigh. It was more like a small boat. It was spewing and spurting some odd colorful smoke out the back. I decided to follow the darn thing, because although it may not seem like it, I am a decent bird and wanted to make sure he wasn’t in trouble. Climb upon my back and I’ll take you there.” Turns out Olivia had been watching Woodsy during her regular hunting trips to and fro her favorite stop upon a bridge.

We took off and soared for what seemed like hours along the river. The hillside was a beautiful red and brown and sometimes she would swoop close to the river just for fun. Eventually we drew closer to Casper and when we arrived at the bridge, I checked my GPS. We landed at latitude 42.811578N and longitude 106.414894W.

Follow T.W. Elf this summer and he searches for his friend Woodsy.  Visit geosmart.casperwy.gov

Comments

You must log in before leaving your comment