Jim Taylor
WIDE OPEN SPACES
Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 19:49

I grew up in the West ... western United States. First in the Northwest .. Washington State. My grandpa's ranch was 18 miles from town and 5 miles from the nearest neighbor. Then from age 11 on in Arizona. Growing up in country that is literally "wide open spaces" was normal to me and it came as quite a shock in later life when I realized that most Americans live in areas where there is little to none free land. A little over 42% of Arizona is Federal lands .. BLM or Forest Service and most all of these are open to use. Some Western States are around 80% or more Federal lands. Ranchers often hold grazing rights from the government on these lands, but they cannot keep citizens from hunting on them. A lot of it is Open Range country. Now I know I have generalized and there are exceptions, but this is generally true.

After traveling in the East I would sometimes sit and look out over the view from my house, amazed at how people in other places were cramped in. We lived in Oracle, AZ. My house was at about 5000 feet elevation. Behind us was National Forest land and I could ride my horse out the back gate and go for 3 or 4 days without seeing a house or another person. There were hundreds of square miles of high Arizona desert country to hunt and it was home to a lot of game. Black Bear, Javelina, Mountain Lion, Bobcat, Coyotes, Foxes, Turkey, Coues Deer, Mule Deer, Coati Mundi, Jack Rabbits, Cottontail Rabbits, Skunks, Possum, Pack Rats, Mice and all sorts of snakes, lizards, spiders and bugs. We weren't that far from Mexico and I saw Jaguarundi that had wondered up our way. Some of the bigger cats from Mexico were seen now and then. It was a great place for a young guy who loved hunting and loved exploring mountains and canyons that seemed untouched by people!

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Oracle, Arizona

I think that is one thing that attracted me to Africa. Get out of the cities and suddenly you have an entire world of Wide Open Spaces! There are not a lot of people who are able to experience such a thing. Count yourselves blessed!


South Africa .. the Limpopo district

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