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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Discovering Wyoming: Karen & Andrea's Excellent Adventure (Part II)

Karen, excited to be in Wyoming.
An email correspondence, Skype calls and a few days at the WWW conference—can a friendship be based on such a tenuous beginning?  I figured if that feisty little Texan was going to drive me nuts, I had my aerie (read upstairs bedroom) to which I could withdraw.  I needn’t have worried.


Church of the Transfiguration, Teton Range in the background
I have a long-standing love affair with Wyoming but unlike most lovers, I’m willing to share—at least with the right person.  It’s true that since I started coming here back in the ‘80s, the Jackson Hole area, and the town of Jackson itself, have changed somewhat in an attempt to deal with the numbers of people who tramp through every summer.  I eschew the high summer now; the Wyoming I wanted Karen to know was not one of long lines, traffic and crowded, sweaty cafes.  My Wyoming brings the peace of the mountains, the bounty of a varied wildlife, and the beauty of a landscape whose contours were formed by successive ice ages, volcanoes and earthquakes--so diverse, it’s a wonder it could all get crammed into this one small corner of the world.


The Cunningham Cabin, Jackson Hole
 And then there are the historic sites.  At The Church of the Transfiguration, Karen and I were totally in awe of those who have the opportunity to worship in such inspiring surroundings.  At Cunningham Cabin, we both had a huge dose of jealousy for those who, despite their hardships, could wake up every morning to views such as these.  


Menor's Landing, Jackson Hole
Menor’s Landing still has the cables that pulled the pontoon ferry across the river, as well as the furnished homestead and shop that served the tiny community.  History is ever-present in this landscape formed eight million years ago.

But we had less serious moments, too.  On the scenic boat ride around Jenny Lake a woman asked if the guide had said the mountains were formed EIGHT HUNDRED years ago.  I sat there thinking that, back in England, Canterbury Cathedral was finished with its lovely stained glass windows, yet here in Wyoming the earth could still be ravaging itself, trying to find a semblance of lasting shape.  At the first night of Rodeo for the season, a couple of broncos seem to have forgotten what, exactly, they were meant to do.  I invent a children’s story, “The Little Bronco Who Wanted to be Tame.”  The cowboys also seem to have forgotten their roping skills.  I tell Karen they’re probably bankers…


Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
And at the Stagecoach Bar and Grill, known to locals simply as The Coach, we dance the night away…or as much of the night as our somewhat elderly partners can stand.  One old cowboy grips me round the waist and pulls me in close to whisper gently in my ear.  I stiffen somewhat as he murmurs, “I have a confession.”  My eyes seek Karen to get help but she is dancing happily with another old codger and my partner continues in his soft tones, “I’m from Idaho…and I’m a Democrat.”

Heartfelt thanks to KCF for joining me in Wyoming.  While Poe’s Raven quoth “Nevermore” my raven says, “Encore, encore!” 

Andrea Downing returned to live in the USA from Britain in 2008 and now divides her time between New York and Wyoming.  Her first novel, Loveland, is a finalist for Best American Historical in the forthcoming RONE Awards.








Blog Coordinator's note: Visit the authors' blogs for the full story of Karen & Andrea's Wyoming Adventure: Andrea Downing and Karen Casey Fitzjerrell

13 comments:

Karen Casey Fitzjerrell said...

I knew I should have insisted you delete that goofy photo! Man!

Oh well, the joy of the experience makes up for everything. Thanks Andrea for a wonderful week in Wyoming and thank you too, Susan for inviting us to submit a guest blog.

andreadowning.com said...

My thanks to Susan, too...oh, and to Karen for joining me. Wouldn't have done half that stuff without you pal. But next time can you remind me to take the dang dates off the photos?

Julie said...

Loved reading Part II! Fun photo of Karen, and of course, love the photos of the mountains. You two had such a good time. I, too, am an Idahoan Democrat. There aren't too many of us. The dates on the photos made me smile--my mother always did that. Next time, if you have another and wouldn't mind a third companion, I'd love to join you and make the drive from central Idaho. By the way, the Sawtooths in Idaho are just as spectacular. Maybe you two should come my way! Thanks for sharing with us.

Irene Bennett Brown said...

Loved the account, didn't notice or mind the danged dates on the wonderful photos.

andreadowning.com said...

Thanks Irene. I sort of felt the dates were a bit conspicuous though! And Julie, we will definitely have to get together at some stage. As for the Idaho Democrat, I guess he felt he had to put that right out front because (IMHO) Wyoming is SO Republican. I did laugh...

Eunice Boeve said...

Oh, the fun you too must have had!!
Chuckled over the Idaho Democrat. I too am a Democrat and live in Kansas, although I once upon a time lived in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Anyway Democrats are scarce as hen's teeth in Kansas.

Eunice Boeve said...

Oh, shoot, I put in the wrong too/two. Makes me crazy.

Arletta Dawdy said...

I am glad you two had such a great adventure. I did something similar by taking a friend with me for the initial days of my retreat in SE AZ. I loved showing her the sights in Tombstone, Bisbee, Fort Huachuca, etc. It helped me to see it thru her eyes.

A.D. said...

Hey Eunie, I sort of get the feeling Democrats are pretty scarce throughout the west! Anyway, we did have fun and I hope one day will repeat it.
And Arletta, you are so right about seeing it all through the other's eyes. It makes a difference...as does sharing it all.

Karen Casey Fitzjerrell said...

Well, if we do it again...and I'm invited all cameras will have to be put under lock and key. I never knew I had such a big mouth1

A.D. said...

I think it best I don't reply to that comment Karen!

Carmen Peone said...

Loved the stories from you two ladies! I too love Jackson Hole Wyoming. I miss camping their as a young person. Thanks for sharing.

scribbler_kate said...

On your next Wyoming getaway, head south on Highway 189 for 70 miles, to Pinedale. Visit Bucky's Outdoors and ask for Gary. Ask him to take you on an ATV trip into the Sawtooth Mountains, for a steak fry over a huge bonfire, mud up to your ankles, and more clear running water and wildflowers than you can shake a stick at. I'm serious. Pinedale and its surrounding three mountain ranges are my love, my home.