Sunday, March 9, 2003 was probably one of the most
memorable days of the trip for everyone on my Spring
Semester in the Rockies. We all got to experience
something we had been working hard for and patiently
waiting for—the winter section.
A few days earlier, we set out from our camp at
Bailey Meadows, well into the Absaroka Mountains.
It had been windy and snowing for days but we all
wanted to press on to the next highest camp despite
the weather. The group set off in the morning on a
demanding uphill trek over the ridge we woke up to
every morning back in Bailey Meadows. We finally reached
a spot that everyone agreed was acceptable for our
new camp. The snow kept crankin’ and the winds
kept gusting. We all finished building our quigloos
(snow shelters); we were cold and tired, and passed
out for the night.
Up on our perch, we all knew that if the skies cleared
we would have an incredible view of the Grand Tetons.
The whole time we worked on our new camp all we could
see was the beginning of Jackson Lake and a small
island near the shore. It was like the great mountains
were testing us—making sure we were worthy and
deserving of experiencing something so rare and beautiful.
Each camp we made our home at was more aesthetically
pleasing than the one before, but this one would prove
to be the most superior by far.
On Sunday morning, still half asleep, I crawled out
of our small quigloo entrance, looked over our tall
kitchen wall and saw the sun poking through the clouds
with a thick, heavy rim around it. I knew what that
meant. I jumped on our “loveseat,” turned
to my right and got my first glimpse of the giants
themselves. Although it wasn’t a crystal clear
day, the skies gave just enough to stimulate our minds,
emotions, and imaginations. For the next few hours
we all skied down our new community slope with the
mighty Tetons as a backdrop. The beauty only lasted
a short while—giving us a small taste of the
true beauty of nature. But it was a genuine treat—something
that very few are fortunate enough to experience.
The images I carry from that day, I know, will last
in my mind forever.