Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mountains of Bliss

These things always seem to come in spurts, so I'll probably be posting a couple of blogs in the next couple of days.

About a week ago, I returned from a rich journey to Wyoming for my Grandfather's memorial and family reunion. As I've mentioned before, I spent four summers as a child at Green River Lakes, Wyoming, reading, swatting flies for my grandfather, and generally flitting about. These were some of the happiest, most formative moments of my life. This picture, taken from Upper Green River Lake, should give you some idea of the breath-taking beauty of this place.

What a pleasure it was to camp in this glorious place for a week. Easily following into my patterns of fifteen years ago, I read three books, hiked a total of about 20 miles, and smiled a bunch. My favorite day involved hiking with my (buff) dad in a figure eight around the lower and upper Green River Lakes. After carefully packing our bags and promising Mom that we'd be home for supper, we decided on this course because neither of us had seen the upper lake. Up the sunny side of the lower lake we trotted, nearly jogged. This was familiar territory. Aspen cheered us on as grasshoppers sang the end of the glorious summer. Next, we came to the unknown. Two paths lay before us, and we, we took the one more traveled by. We soon decided that it was headed in entirely the wrong direction, and set off on the less trodden path. And that, that made all the difference. The difference being that this path soon petered out. What to do? What any self-respecting renegade geologist, such as my dad, would do: blaze a trail. Blaze is the perfect verb there-- we were soon climbing through torturous swaths of fallen trees, over craggy rocks, and up cliffs. Here I am on the side of said cliff.

Thinking myself newly ripped due to daily yoga classes, I expected a walk in the park sort of hike. Boy, was I wrong. My fifty-eight year-old father kicked my proud little arse.
We found ourselves scanning the craggy ground for what Dad called "goat trails;" paths that existed for distances the animals using them considered necessary. On one such goat trail, we turned a corner and came face to face with a half-ton bull moose. He lifted his majestic antlers in curiosity. Humans with functioning brains didn't usually venture onto this side of the lake, he seemed to be thinking. Silence reigned the woods as two species considered one another. He soon moved up the steep incline to our right, in search of more succulent bushes. Here you see his noble butt.

That was the highlight of the trip, but later adventures included a picnic lunch in a gorgeous meadow at the top of the upper lake, and wading various streams, milky blue with glacier silt. There are more pictures below for you to enjoy. My Dad's carrying his shoes creatively as he fords the last stream. Eventually, we found the bona fide trail down the other side of the lake, and made our way back to camp. When we returned, I drank at least a liter of water all in one go. I had a marvelous time. Anyone looking for a hiking partner? Look no further. I plan to gain an education in long-distance backpacking, and to hike through the limestone-bottomed lakes of Croatia sometime soon. I'll need some weekend hikes as practice in the meantime.

Dad and I hiked that!! ---->


Jeimeken said...

Great pictures! What's this about Croatia?

BlueFrog said...

I'm pining to go to Plivitz (spP?) lakes in Croatia after seeing an amazing PBS Nature program about them. There are limestone caves under the lakes, which means the location of each lake changes yearly. Also, in the caves there are salamanders without eyes. They're completely free of pigment, too. The animals above ground are amazing, too: wolves, bears, boars, owls. The one I want to see the most looks just like a domestic cat. They meow in an old woman, "get-my-medicine, snot" kind of voice.

Who knows when any of this will happen, but it has been added to the list.