Thursday, June 30

The northern lights

Despite the sunshine, I've been in a grumpy mood for the past few days. The one thing I'm enjoying is rereading Phillip Pullman's "Northern Lights." I read the His Dark Materials trilogy when we first moved to England in 2002 and loved it so much that I named our dog after the heroine, Lyra. The books contain so much raw and beautiful adventure, and Lyra and the other kids are so innocent and fierce... they make me want to be ten years old again... preferably traveling across universes atop a loyal armored bear.

 Right now, Lyra is in her world's equivalent of Norway. I stumbled across this beautiful photo of Norway earlier... and it reminded of this song. Have a listen and have a good day.

Sunday, June 26

Summer in the mountains

During the past 2 weeks...

I saw 3 moose. One was super close, a toddler moose, I'd guess, off the Taggart Lake trail.

I broke in my hiking boots on several 8- to10-mile hikes and I mostly got over my fear of bears.

Dave came to visit.

So did summertime and 75+ degree weather (and an unreal number of mosquitoes --- misery).

We played disc golf in Teton Village and ate Thai food at Teton Thai. So yummy.

We went whitewater rafting on the Snake River, which is 3 times higher and faster than it should be due to record-breaking snow fall (and now, melt). Temporarily, I replaced my fear of bears with a fear of falling into a raging 40 degree river.

We watched The Sopranos and I liked it.

We saw a small black bear run across Inner Park Road and immediately to our right we saw a medium-size grizzly pacing back and forth along the edge of the words. We rolled down the car window and tried to take pictures. I whispered, "Be quiet. It could maul us."

Dave went back to London.

I discovered a little restaurant nearby that serves legit biscuits and gravy. Uh-oh.

Tuesday, June 14

Holy moly

Oh me, oh my --- hello!

Long time, no update. Sorry about that. 

It's hard to get into a rhythm living in the mountains, doing seasonal work. None of my days are the same. And the weather is temperamental, too. It seems every time I schedule a few hours of reading and blogging time, the sun comes out and being outside is a must. Last week, we had a few days of 70 degree summer, but since then it's been rain, snow, sleet, and lows in the 30s. Yuck. 

But it's lovely to be back in Wyoming. It feels a little bit like home and though lots of my friends from last season are gone, I'm getting to know new folks (and old folks I didn't hang out with last season) every day. The community aspect of Signal Mountain Lodge is intense. If I'm tired or in a bad mood, it's difficult to cope because there are always people around and I don't want to be antisocial. On the other hand, it's like summer camp for (sorta) grown ups. Hikes, picnics, basketball games, movie nights, drinks by the bar fire, sharing 3 meals a day together... And when it's not raining, snowing, and sleeting and those mountains are out, it's pretty magical.

So, I'm a lot more scared of bears this season.

Maybe because there's a grizzly mama and her cubs around Signal or because I had a few possible close encounters with bears last season. Shelley and I hiked up Signal a few days ago and I was scared the whole time, armed with easily accessible bear spray and making plenty of noise with my keys. I haven't seen any bears yet --- or any big animals besides elk --- and once I do, I'm sure my fear will subside. They're pretty relaxed creatures as long as they're not hungry or angry... kind of like me.

This season, I'm serving in Signal's restaurants rather than hosting. The first few days were difficult: I was nervous about messing up and having customers hate me, and physically, it's challenging... lifting heavy trays, power walking for 8+ hours, etc. But I've gotten the hang of it now, and I love working for tips. I find it's very motivating. And like with hosting, I get to talk with different people while I work. Last week I served a table of seven psychology professors; they were hilarious and I talked with one guy a long time about international development. He's involved with Mennonites Economic Development Associates and gave me some names and email addresses. A few days later, I served a girl who is about to start graduate school at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies, one of my favorite grad schools. She gave me her information and told me to Facebook her because she knows the dean of admissions well and would help me out if I decided to apply in the next few years.  You never know.

If anyone needs a vacation, consider the Tetons!  I don't think I will ever live in a more beautiful place.

I promise more regular updates starting now. Hopefully my next post will be about my first moose siting of the season. I'm so ready to see a moose. Moose are delightfully weird and one of my favorite animals.

Friday, June 3


Two thousand and three hundred ish miles.  Done.  The Tetons are still here and majestic.  I'll be back soon, after I've gotten settled back into real life.