Friday, February 19, 2010

Living in the West is Like Living on Vacation

While Lander may not be the end-all, be-all of small towns out west, I do have to remember how many cool things there are in this area. What most people do on a well-planned and expensive vacation, I can do on an impromptu weekend. Or even in a day, if I started early. Jackson Hole, WY and Grand Teton National Park are the same distance away as the nearest Target. In the summer with no construction, that drive would be similar to the commutes some people in Chicago or DC have to work.

Sometimes I do have to remind myself how lucky I am. These photos can be taken just on the other side of the Fremont-Teton county line. Perhaps this is why people think I'm continuously on vacation? :-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Misplaced Mountains

The Tetons are astounding if only because they can be right there, and you may not see them.

They aren't huge mountains, especially if you're used to the Fourteeners in Colorado. The difference is, you can be right next to them, as they slink through the trees, playing with light and shadow and mounds of rock and mud to pretend they aren't really there. But the trees clear for an instant, and the shoulder falls away, and there they are, throbbing awkwardly in the sky above the snowy plains, alone.

The Tetons are freak mountains, lost mountains, misplaced mountains, a skeletal spine of sullen granite that grew roots amidst the emptiness of the Wyoming plains.

You climb the top of a mountain in Colorado and you see empty mountains, an endless cacophony of serrated edges and invisible depths and parasitic mines and rich white Americans looking to conquer them all. But you climb on top of Grand Teton, and you see what you have been seeing on the entire drive across Wyoming... more flat, dusty, boundless Wyoming.