I woke up thinking about the Tetons this morning. They were the first place I lived outside of Florida. Talk about setting a high water mark. While not everything went smoothly that summer–10 hour days, six days a week, love quadrangle in the kitchen– I remember snow falling on the 4th of July, bears sneaking around the ranch, a sandstone cave high on a bluff overlooking the Gros Ventre range. In that semi-lucid state just before waking, I squinted my eyes against the glare of the sun on the Snake river. I felt the thrill of being up high and far away. Fields of lupine, indian paintbrush, and sagebrush. Pints of Guiness at Dornan’s.
I hope Sasquatch shows up with a post from there today, and hits on a few things I might have forgotten about. Maybe I need to get back to the big sky country myself, just to have a look around. It makes me kind of sad to think of all the places I’ve been that I may not make it back to for a visit. On the other hand, maybe I’ll spend another 12 years seeing them all over again, with some new stuff in between. Hell, there’s plenty of time for everything right?
I made this journal entry two nights ago, but it took me until now to find internet access.
June 19: Life in Laramie
Not much jumpin tonight at the Howard Johnson’s in Laramie, Wyoming, but this day was a full one. We checked out the Red Rocks area and amphitheater outside of Denver and then drove out to Idaho Springs, Colorado and up to the highest paved and driveable point in America, Mount Evans. We could barely walk when we got up there it was so damn high. Kids were FREAKING out in the back seat the whole way up, convinced I was going to drive off the side of the world and we’d all tumble down to our fiery deaths. They kept insisting their mother drive, almost begging that she take the wheel! Truth to tell, though, I think they felt all the more courageous when it was all over and they’d been up and down the tallest driveable mountain in the country, with DAD DRIVING! Loosey Goosey at 14,000 feet! Other Notable Moments:
Squawtch and I finally went off on Jr. Squatch for asking millions of questions from the backseat that either: a) He could open his eyes, wake up in his body, and answer himself; or b) Are not answerable, as in we’re so hysterically and obviously lost that we’re about to send up a flare, and he’s suddenly wondering exactly how many more miles and could he get an E.T.A., give or take a minute? After we both blasted him good, there was a pensive silence from the back seat, and I’m thinking just maybe we’d gotten through. Finally he asks in his best deadpan, “And when exactly did curiosity become illegal, because somehow I missed that announcement.”
Part of our family culture involves perpetual drama around perceived danger. My wife and kids think I’m not cautious enough in any realm. My wife and I both think our kids are too cautious, and I think my wife is generally too cautious but appreciate that she’s not a pansy. The fact is if there’s ever a true emergency that involves blood or vomit, she’s much braver than I am, so I can’t say too much. Needless to say, our Sunday drive up Mount Evans today had us all stirred up in our usual “acceptable risk” shouting match, but on the way down we saw something that had us all laughing so hard we were crying. The car ahead of us (green Honda hatchback) was carrying a middle age couple who looked normal enough, except that the man (driving) was wearing a full, shiny black crash helmet with the thick black chin strap all fastened. He was driving ten and two looking like that Warner Brothers cartoon space guy who was always saying, “Heavens to Murgatroid!” We just fell apart! Regardless of our differences of opinion regarding the sanity of this adventure, we ALL knew that guy was a freak!
There’s lots of tetons around here. I’m spending most of my time trying to figure out which one is the Grand one.
I’m writing this from the Jackson Lodge here in the Grand Teton National Park. I’m looking out this HUGE set of windows, and…you know what? I’ll bet THAT ONE right there is the Grand One. Well good, now I can leave.
We spent most of our time this morning walking the valley trails and getting saturated with beauty. I’m trying hard not to compare, but so far I prefer the sweet, worn down verdancy of the Smokies and the boiled peanut stands of the Blue Ridge. I’m not saying this out loud, mind you, because Sqawtch would roll her eyes so hard she might fall over on the trail under the weight of her disgust. (She’s a western girl, and she’s digging this so hard she practically skips everywhere we go) Besides, I’m slow to warm, so by the time we’ve spent a night in Yellowstone (tonight) and bathed in the boiling river, I’ll be all about this mighty mountain range and nothing else.
Lots of great family stuff to report, but we’ve got to get back on the road to Yellowstone and get our camp settled.
Always bustin’ balls on the guy wit the helmet…
Your kids ARE courageous for riding with your loosey goosey ass…
Big dumb mountains? great,…NEXT!
Oh, and thanks for that soulful reminiscence to feed my spirit. Now I’m back to “Ah, fuck the West, and their fuckin’ bison too.”
1. That would be Marvin the Martian. How soon they forget.
2. I think they’re both (all?) supposed to be Grand.
3. Give the Rockies a few days to sink in; if that doesn’t work, wait ’til the second half of your trip and see if the High Desert (that’s right, caps) of the Southwest strums your mystic chords.
1 Grand, all Tetons. Wassup HT, you been ridin’? I hit the north side Sunday and today. Want some?