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Go(ing) west

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I am getting calls now about planning for a trip in August to visit Wyoming and the great American west. I’ve decided to go if my health stays favorable.

I have shortages as usual of camping equipment and a friend called without me asking saying I could sleep in his tent and he will provide a cot. I at least have my own sleeping bag and blankets.

I’ll start planning now as if sure of going. I start by getting a small notebook for the trip. I write info like gear to take, personal items such as toilet articles, shaving gear, extra clothing. I usually have a huge suitcase full and another hand bag or two.

I’ve been about 14 times, plus lived nearly three years in Denver and a couple years in Iowa. I have all the trips recorded by narrative and photographs. Why go again? The long three day, 1900 mile, journey tires me and it takes a day or two in camp to get “normal” again.

Why go?

It’s the calling! I want to cross rivers and plains to seek the far mountains. There I hear the eagle’s cry as it circles high in the sky. I see the white clouds floating over the Wind River Mountains and they call me! Rugged, forest skirted, granite crowned mountains keep sending forth vibes. I imagine standing alone on a knoll as a breeze scented by pines or sage comb my hair. Usually my sinus allergies lay low in the high country, unless blooming sage blows my way. Re-visiting camp sites where I came with Ronald Vandiver or when my brother Dick and I came on journeys years ago may bring a tear or two. Both men, who loved the west so much, have passed on to the high hills of Heaven.

It’s a puzzle of life that two areas I love – Wyoming and North Georgia – are so far apart.

I think about wind and sun burned face and arms, nights in a tent with a cold wind blowing and little sleep; and hardest of all: the hundreds of miles just to get out there! Then I think of eagles soaring above and their wild screams; the sunrise inching up the rock-crested peaks after a cold night; seeking elk, moose, deer, coyote, wolf, hawk, pine squirrels, gophers, chipmunk, pine martin (weasel that chases squirrels in trees), snowshoe rabbit, and bear (hopefully off a ways); smelling Dan Ingersoll’s morning coffee boiling at daybreak; breaking ice in the bucket to get water; aching hips from the canvas cot; and taking a bath at the end of the first week in the icy mountain stream.

In two weeks, I’ll be ready for home!

It’s a puzzle of life that two areas I love – Wyoming and North Georgia – are so far apart.

A western lady who visited Georgia years ago fell in love with these “gentler” mountains and though she is gone her offspring and I stay in touch. Thus, folks reach out across the miles to share love and appreciation of this great land God created.

A few words from a poem I wrote:

“On North Platte at Miracle Mile in the river’s turbulent flow hefty trout rise to make us smile, strike swiftly and fight a while, to leap and rush to and fro.

The river is life in this land where sage and rocky cliffs abound, and in some areas dunes of sand, where the antelope buck guards his band from other bucks fooling around.

Now Miracle Mile is miles away across this great country I love, but scenes oft appear day to day of the hefty trout tossing spray while a bright sun beams from above.

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