Days 5 and 6 – Magnificent and Dusty

August 17, 2006 at 4:42 am (present)

As a Californian, I grew up with the majesty of the American West. National parks, Giant Sequoias, jagged peaks, huge open meadows and towering waterfalls were simply an inherent part of childhood. When I was five, the FF woke me up in the middle of the night, bundled me in blankets, plopped me down in the backseat of his old Mercedes diesel and drove me up into the Sierra Nevadas to see Halley’s Comet. I remember the blanket and my fathers arms keeping me warm while my nose was chilled by the crisp air. And I remember the stars, the smell of pine and silhouettes of trees against a blue-black sky. At 5, it was heaven. And that feeling of nature – overwhelming, grandiose, heavenly – stayed with me through 8 years on a coast primarily full of man-made monuments. My sense of who I am as a Californian and an American is largely built on natural wonders, much like a New Englander’s is built on the American Revolution. So, pausing as bison crossed the road less than 4 feet from my car in Custer State Park, driving through an immense canyon in the Grand Tetons, and wandering near hydrothermal features in Yellowstone should be old hat. But you just don’t get over these things. Custer, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are like a great film or painting – every time you examine it, you notice more to draw you in.

Today’s drive took us from Wyoming to Montana to Idaho. In a small town in Idaho, the woman at the gas station did not think my father was my father. Ew.

In Idaho, the smell of dirt permeates everything. With the window open in the hotel right now, I can’t get it out of my nostrils. The whole state feels in need of a rainstorm. It’s dusty small towns lined up along the highway with a gorgeous river running through it. It also happens to be one of the locations in one of my favorite books.

Incidentally, we have officially crossed over – somewhere in Yellowstone:

Day 6 photos.



  1. winnekat said,

    You are kind of inspiring me to upload all of my pictures from the trip to Seattle. Maybe that’s what I’ll do before grad school starts…

    I love the posts and pictures. And I guess I never got to know your dad, but he seems totally awesome.

  2. BS said,

    I’d love to see them! The FF is pretty awesome; I think I’ll keep him.

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