National Geographic : 1993 Jan
20 years older. We talked outside his small sheep wagon that offers room only for a bunk, a hefty iron stove, and a few sacks of provi sions. This is his home as he follows his employer's flock. His dogs, Pinto and Montes, hopped around looking for an ear scratch. They were as anxious as their master to get back to the countryside. "The cities are too crowded. Not friendly. I prefer to be with my animals," Sebastian said. "They are more human than people." He peeled back thick bandages on his swol len hands-the fingernails ready to fall off and drew off a boot to preface his tale. His frostbitten toes were charcoal black. Yet his smile was undimmed. He knew he was lucky to be alive. "I was breaking camp on Crooks Moun tain, bringing in 1,700 sheep, when the storm hit," he said. "Everything went white. I couldn't find my way back to my wagon. It was the only time in my life I ever got lost. "For two days I kept going through the drifts, afraid to stop moving. Crossing Willow Creek, I broke through the ice up to my waist. After that my legs wouldn't move. I crawled under the shelter of a pine tree. My last match was gone. I had no food. "For three more days I stayed under that tree, half crazy with cold. I dreamed about thick steaks and mushroom sauce. Finally, I prayed to God to take me to him." The sheriff's rescue team found him 15 miles from his wagon. "It was the dogs that saved me," Sebastian said. He was hugging Pinto, a Border collie, and tears began welling in his hollow eyes. "They stayed with me. We huddled together A HUGE DRAGLINE scrapes away earth at Black Thunder Mine-largest open-pit coal mine in the Western Hemisphere. Hauled to electric utilities on mile-long trains (above), low-sulfur coal sells quickly because it burns relatively cleanly. Emission standards have spurred Wyoming to play this ace in the hole.