Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Unique Corner of the World

Leaving the Bighorn Mountains and a slew of friends was difficult,  especially with a low tire light glaring through my retinas and tormenting my sub conscience. However, a kind young Cody, WY mechanic and a horizon full of Yellowstone National Park brightened the next morning.

My fourth visit to Yellowstone was a special one. In a vast land of many faces, colors, sounds, and odors, there was much I had not done. So, I sought out several new-to-me experiences as I made my way around the Grand Loop.

A slow hike here. A fast ride there. A run amongst bison. A nap on a hillside covered with flowers. A new ascent route up a previously climbed mountain. Stillness at sunset in the great geyser basin. Dinner with the Queen followed by a rest at the iconic Inn and a pre-breakfast run through heavy fog and sulfuric mist. Crisp air and variable gusting winds brought occasional strong storms surrounded by gleaming rays of sunshine. All of this activity toasted the magnificent uniqueness of America's oldest national park and quieted internal turmoil. Yes, this was a rewarding trip into the land of the Tukadika.

From Yellowstone the road led immediately to Grand Teton National Park. Again, I sought new experiences in a familiar landscape. A different hike. A ride with a constant grand view. A paddle on Jenny's still water. Aid to stranded backpackers. A beer with a new friend. Dinner with an old friend. The only thing missing was another jaunt up the big one, but I was heading the advice of a reliable source.

The road forked. I went further west into Idaho. There I challenged the ruggedly beautiful and diverse landscape in thin air on my carbon rocket before chatting with a gritty but funny fifth generation rancher who had observed and who professed dumbfounded awe at both my willingness and ability to "undertake such a peculiar act."

Little did he, or even I, know that many more such acts were in my near future. Far too many of those brown signs adorn America's roadways, beckoning curious travelers such as myself to drift aside. On this journey, I was open to the invites.

Here are just a few of the photos I took along the path described above. Sadly, these images barely glimpse into the variable elegance of the vistas I encountered. So, I encourage you to create your own pathways, your own experiences, and your own memories. Here's to wetting your appetite! (Click to enlarge slideshow)

Bighorn Mountains

Yellowstone NP

Grand Teton NP


More to come . . . ST

"There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm." - Teddy Roosevelt

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