|Andrea Downing, author of Loveland|
Our first full Wyoming day, Andrea drove north to Grand Teton National Park. I worried that I’d not seen a straight line of horizon anywhere during the drive. Distances were constantly interrupted by mountains - the Teton Range, Gros Ventre Range, and Snake River Range. Not a single view of the horizon as I was so familiar with after a lifetime on the Texas Gulf Coast. I wondered how I would manage if I lived in such a place. All my life I’d watched stars spiral up from the flat line of horizon in the east to circle around to the west where they sink into an equally flat expanse of Earth. Sky above, Earth below, and only one clean line divided the two.
|Antelope Flats - No flat line horizon|
At Grand Teton National Park we climbed into a boat for a ride around Jenny Lake, hiked what we thought was to be a paved trail (Will not mention that my travel companion got the details wrong...) From there we drove to Jackson Lodge for the best view of Jackson Lake with the mountains in the distance. I’d developed a really nasty head cold and Andrea was still recovering from eye surgery. We couldn’t help but laugh at our misadventures at times - like hiking an unpaved paved trail. We were an odd pair - me blowing my nose like a tuba, Andrea blinking like a hoot owl in sunshine.
|Adrea enjoying the quiet sunshine at Lewis Lake|
|Exploring the shoreline at Lewis Lake|
One day we hiked around Lewis Lake. At the end of the hike Andrea sat quietly on a bench taking an occasional photograph while I walked the lake shoreline picking through colorful rocks. Time stretched to late day sunshine and I felt healed from the stress of deadlines and the constant and overwhelming weight of internet connection.
We ate huge sandwiches at a little convenience store at Dornan’s, delicious ice cream cones at Colter Bay. We visited with a storekeeper at the historic Menor’s Ferry Crossing of the Snake River and in the same area, entered the Chapel of the Transfiguration where I stood drop-jawed at the window behind the pulpit. The view of the mountains would inspire religion in anyone.
|Stunning view behind the pulpit at the Chapel of Transfiguration|
Historic Flying U Ranch established by J. Pierce Cunningham between 1888 and 1890 (facts are not clear to the exact year) was one of my favorite sites to visit. A brochure provided just enough history about Cunningham, his wife Margaret and their attempts at cattle ranching that I’m inspired to follow up with more in depth research from home. Another of my favorites was Antelope Flats, where buffalo and antelope roam freely on a pristine expanse of natural grasses between mountain ranges.
|The view from Cunningham's cabin|
Saturday night we rodeo-ed and then Sunday we danced our hearts out at the famous Stagecoach Bar and Grill where the same band has played every Sunday afternoon for 40 years. I’ve never heard such yodeling ... two perfect harmonizing yodelers.
|The yodeling duo|
It is a place of incredible beauty, rich in history, at times mysterious and as unspoiled by man as is possible given the fact that our world’s wild places are shrinking at an alarming pace. The one drawback? No horizon. But I’d go back in a heartbeat for more of its healing power and adventure.
I have searched for words of gratitude to adequately convey to Andrea Downing how much I enjoyed our week in Jackson Hole.
Thanks, Pal. I’ll carry the memories in my heart forever.
Andrea Downing will post her account of our week together today, too. Click here and see how her thoughts compare to mine. Both of us posted at Women Writing the West Blogspot a few days ago. Click on over if you are inclined. And, as always - leave comments. Writers cherish feedback.
Thanks for stopping by. Happy Trails.