It's inevitable. All good things must, at some time, end. And my time with the Deseret News is coming to somewhat of an end. I will no longer be outdoor editor and responsible for the weekly Outdoors section. But, I will, thanks to the upper-level editors, be allowed to contribute stories to the paper.

After 35 years of writing about Utah's outdoors, it would be hard to quit cold turkey, and for that I'm happy.

Imagine, getting paid to participate in Utah's outdoor activities, and there are unlimited opportunities in that area. Finding stories was never a problem. Finding time to do all the stories was.

I've had it said that I have the best job in the world, and I can't argue.

And over the years, I've tried to write about as many different activities as possible. I've done stories on fishing on the Green River, snowmobiling in the Uintas, riding horses on Antelope Island and being able to ski 11 of Utah's ski areas in a single day.

Looking back on the best of the best, I'd have to rate riding from one end of the state to the other — Salt Lake City to St. George — on motorcycles on dirt roads as one of the best. A few years later I followed a similar route on snowmobiles. Spending three days in the Uintas at a mountainman rendezvous, with some 700 tepees, was another. Fishing at Lake Powell was always a high point. Running rivers — Westwater, Cataract and the Grand — will always be remembered. Following buffalo on horseback on Antelope Island was something I always looked forward to.

My trips with biologists for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources — shocking fish at night on the Green River, trapping and moving antelope off Parker Mountain, riding horses over winter range after the snow has melted, pulling gillnets from Strawberry, watching them net moose and bighorn sheep for transplant and covering the annual hunts — have been informative, exciting and memorable, and stories I enjoyed writing.

I've come to have a great deal of respect for the stewards of our public resources, those working for the DWR, Parks and Recreation, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. It's not about money with most, but an interest and appreciation for what it is they are responsible for, be it land, vegetation or animals.

I've also been able to cover things like tennis, auto racing and a range of minor sports, including racquetball, squash and motorcycle events.

I've had front-row seats to two Olympics — 1980 in Lake Placid and 2002 in Salt Lake City, which included watching the Americans win a gold in hockey in 1980. And I was fortunate enough to work on the 2002 Olympic book, said by many to be the best to come out of the Games, with Lee Benson and Tom Smart, two of the finest in journalism today.

I've covered World Cup and junior races in skiing, made turns on the slopes at all 14 ski areas, which would include Elk Meadows, and watched from a distance as small ski areas turned into world-class resorts.

Looking back, interviews I've enjoyed most include those with Jean-Claude Killy, Phil and Steve Mahre, Chris Everet and Picabo Street. The worst were interviews with John McEnroe and Tanner Hall, a participant in the wanna-be-sport of skier superpipe.

On a local level, the late Alf Engen and Dave Freed were great interviews not only because of what they had to say, but what each did for their respective sport — Engen in skiing and Freed in tennis.

I've flown on a parasail over Snowbird, ridden in a race car at Larry Miller's track, tried to match casts with fishing's best, starved for three days on a survival hike, looked for elk from the seat of a helicopter, watched bighorn rams butt heads, spent the night in a snowcave, flown in a kit over Willard Bay and followed Lake Powell through its highs and lows.

I could go on, but all things must end. I have, indeed, been lucky to have had the best job in the world, and luckier still to be able to continue in the role of a contributor, and have Utah as my source.


E-mail: grass@desnews.com