Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to sit down with Dylan Bear, a Physical Education teacher for Sweetwater County School District #1, and a recreationalist. Dylan grew up in Powell and moved to Rock Springs to teach.
He is a desert nomad who spends his time with kids and families exploring rocks, rivers, and wildlife in Sweetwater County.
Hearing people say, “it’s rough here,” and “there’s nothing to do here,” challenged him to start a guidebook exhibiting over 100 of the great outdoor qualities of our home.
It’s easy to tell when someone is passionate about what they do, and Dylan is definitely full of passion. He is the kind of person who puts his all into what he loves. Lucky for this community, those passions are teaching our youth and helping us to explore our great outdoors.
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Dylan, what do you do for a living?
I’m a PE teacher, district wide for Sweetwater County School District #1.
Why did you decide to go into education, and specifically physical education?
Humans love to move, so kids love coming to PE class. Moving inside education is a good medium to interact with students. It’s a good doorway into the lives of kids.
You’re writing an outdoors guidebook for Sweetwater County. Can you tell me a bit about it?
It’s 100 cool points for people to go to in Sweetwater County. It’s a scrapbook for families that encourages them to get outside and try different trails, rock climbing, photography and water sports. Trails could be trail running, mountain biking, or just walking trails to cool points. It has the coordinates so you can just type the coordinates into your phone and get directions on how to get there.
Travel and tourism places have a lot of books that have cool photos of places but they don’t have the information on how to get there. My guidebook will include how you get there, how long on average it takes to get there, and then there is a picture of a community member at the spot. This makes it so the community members are in the guide book, they’re a part of it.
And then there’s a blank spot on each activity where people can go to the spot and write in the book about their experience.
What inspired you to write the guidebook?
There’s the famous quote, “There’s nothing to do here.” I’ve heard it so many times from students and parents. I’ve taken so many families out to climb or hike or bike and they realize how much there is to do here and how beautiful it is here.
How did you get into all of these outdoor activities?
It all started with having a menagerie of friends who all have different hobbies. So just through interacting with them in all these different activities and then sharing them with others.
What are some of your hobbies?
Mountain biking, trail running, taking my dog out for walks, rock climbing, ice climbing, and bouldering. Then as far as water sports go would be spear fishing, kayaking, rafting, and surfing on the river on the wave. As far as photography goes just finding wildlife, stars, constellations, and cool points of view.
What is something unique about you?
As much as I do that’s really kind of self-fulfilling, when I’m out in the mountains or out in the desert or doing these hobbies that are pretty attractive like climbing or spear fishing, I don’t feel like I’m the coolest thing out there.
Everything else is a lot cooler, like to see a fish floating through with its school, or to see a sunset out walking, or sage grouse in a lek breeding. There’s a lot more going on than we think. Living in a selfie generation where we go out and take a picture of ourselves, I think it’s a unique point of view to have. It’s kind of humbling once you’re out there and see how much else is going on.
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
I was sitting in a coffee shop in Laramie and I needed to decide where I wanted to teach. So I closed my eyes and said a quick prayer and asked where I should end up. I opened my eyes and there was a Wyoming outdoors book.
Green River was featured with the white water park and the mountain bike pump track and all the public land access, so I decided that’s where I was going. It was because of all the access to the outdoors that Sweetwater County has.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
The people here value good people.
Another reason Sweetwater County is so amazing is it’s a good hub. Within two hours, you have access to world class mountains and outdoors in all directions.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
My favorite quote is “to be, not appear to be.” So, that would be my advice. And then also to read the poem “Desiderata” by Max Ehrman.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
Around the Flaming Gorge because you have rock climbing with pretty good sand stone and good views. Then you also have boating, kayaking, fishing, diving, spear fishing, and pretty much all the things in my guidebook.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse, or drive a car?
Walk, because you can go anywhere if you’re walking with a backpack. Everyone can go when you’re walking, you can take kids or older people.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
I would dance. A little country swing dancing to someone singing weird music with a bad voice. Bad voices make bad dancing look better.
How would your friends describe you?
One of my friends said, “a great torso with chiseled calves, eyes burning of deep sapphire, olive oil laser beams ripping from his Italian skin, a groomed head glimmering like a diamond in a tornado. A true man’s man. -All to be read in a Medieval person’s voice, I think something close to British.”
Another friend said, “A man who carries a song in his heart and a pistol on his hip.”
Another friend used the word “whimsical.”
Yeah, you don’t really want to ask my friends for advice.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
I worked with kindergartners through fifth graders for eight years, so a lot of kids I taught from when they were in kindergarten until they were 10 years old. Now that I’m working for all the schools, when my past students see me in the halls, they’ll say, “Oh that’s Mr. Bear, we grew up together.” And that’s really awesome.
So, kids feeling like I’m someone they can identify with as part of their childhood and growing up is something I’m proud of. And the fact that I was still young too, so I was kind of growing up with them as well.
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
No movies, no TV. I sold my TV about four years ago so that I would go outside more. I still watch some stuff on my laptop, so I guess, less movies less TV. Make your own life.
Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, especially Sweetwater County, we have a lot of multi-use lands. We’re able to recreate on it, able to use it for resources so people can make a living out here. We can mountain bike on it, horse ride on it, side by side or dirt bike on it. With all the access to public lands we have in Wyoming, you can kind of become anything you want to be. All people have the ability to do what they want to do and be who they want to be here.