Greetings! What a fantastic vacation we had! We flew to Denver, rented a car, and drove across Wyoming to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. After a week in those parks we drove across another part of Wyoming down to Boulder, CO where we spent several more days exploring that area including Rocky Mountain National Park and the Denver area. Over the years we have been very lucky with good weather on almost all of our vacations and our luck held again! In addition, we were early enough to avoid all the usual crowds at these popular national parks. Pure heaven!
On our trip, I particularly loved the incredible vistas and views of those wide open, “see forever”, spaces and the incredible mountain views and “big sky.” I love where we live in New Hampshire, but our house is in the woods and we are surrounded by trees. We have some rolling hills here in the southern part of the state (and the white mountains in the northern part), but the landscape is so different in the west. There is no way pictures can do justice to these vistas and views, but I’m going to share some pictures anyway (click to enlarge):
While in Jackson Hole we visited the National Museum of Wildlife Art which is built into the hillside with an incredible view. The art was wonderful. Outside were several sculptures of fanciful animal (one is a dragon!) heads by the famous Chinese artist Ai Wei:
I’m going to save some pictures for future posts, but here are a few from Yellowstone:
The “Lower Falls” looking in opposite directions:
Wildlife – our first bison and moose! ( We almost ran into a bison sauntering down the middle of the road as we came around a curve!) Lots of elk, but we have an elk farm down the road from us at home. Pronghorn antelope were prevalent. We also saw a mama bear with 3 cubs in the woods but I did not manage to get a good picture. Because it was spring, there were many bison calves:
Will share more pictures from Yellowstone, Wyoming, and Colorado in future posts, including pictures from the exhibit of quilts I saw at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO and pictures from the FANTASTIC exhibit of Native American Art at the Denver Art Museum.
The geology of this area is fascinating and prompted many thoughts on geological time. Rocks in the Tetons are over 2 billion years old. Fossils from hundreds of millions of years ago when the area was previously a sea are prevalent. Dinosaur bones are commonly found. I never realized before that the majority of Yellowstone sits in the caldera of a volcano that last erupted 640,000 years ago. Of course that is the reason for the geysers and other geothermal elements seen there.
During the trip I read 2 books that further prompted many meditations on the idea of time – I had no idea that they would fit in like that when I chose them for the trip! The first is “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert. It won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction for 2014 and is wonderful! Over the whole of the geological time of our planet, there have been 5 previous significant “extinctions” of large numbers of species. For example, the dinosaurs (and many, many other species along with them) are thought to have become extinct because of an asteroid collision with the earth. Many believe that we are currently in the midst of the 6th great extinction and the author goes into details to support this. One example is the heartbreaking disappearance of much of the coral reef ecosystem, which is ongoing as the oceans acidify and the planet warms up. Great book – I think it should be required reading for everyone! It does make one realize, though, that our human lives are fleeting. Whole geological eras are reduced to thin layers of rock in the earth’s crust over millions of years. I’m lucky in that this thought is not depressing to me; it is awe inspiring.
The other book I read is “The Rings of Saturn” by W.G. Sebald. This was a new author to me. He was tragically killed in an auto accident in 2001 and was being talked about just before that as a possible Nobel prize winner in literature. The book was wonderful and impossible to categorize. I found the writing mesmerizing and am eager to read more by him. The story is told from the first person perspective of someone taking a very long, many day, walk down the eastern coast of southern England and his musings about the area including the history, even back to the middle ages, the landscape, and the changes over time. Locations thrive for a period of time for various reasons, then become deserted and dilapidated for a period of time as culture changes occur. Once again, TIME passes and things change, often dramatically. Everything is fleeting. The way he writes about all of this is excellent.
Needless to say, not much sewing occurred the past 3 weeks! However, just in the past 3 days I have started up the “star factory” again and am trying to catch up with the Stars in a Time Warp project as I am 3 weeks behind! Will share pictures next time.
Cherish every day and be grateful! Gladi