Cheryl Koshuta

Aware Life, Midlife, Good Life

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Rocky Mountain Bliss

Lupine in bloom

Lupine in bloom

I can’t believe it’s already June 2016. I’m in the Rocky Mountains amidst thigh-high purple lupine and rustling aspen leaves. It definitely feels like summer. However, back in the middle of February, when I first returned to the United States, it was a culture shock to fly from Nairobi, Kenya to Boise, Idaho. Contrasts were everywhere: hot to cold, chaotic to calm, equator to mountains, black to white, foreign to familiar. I had come back to the U.S. to ski, regroup, and decide what to do next.

Teton Mountains always a great view at Grand Targhee.

Grand Targhee & the Tetons

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or my domicile, but I did know that I was ready to get back on my skis. So, after spending a night at my brother’s home in Idaho, the next day I got into his Subaru (which he graciously loaned to me) to drive six hours to Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Wyoming. Two days earlier, I was watching giraffes in the wild and now I had an eye out for moose on the road. It almost felt like time travel.

 

 

 

The peaks at the head of the valley are the famous Maroon Bells of Aspen.

The famous Maroon Bells of Aspen.

Yes, two people out on the ice of Lake Louise late in the season.

Yes, two people out on the ice of Lake Louise.

I always say that skiing is “my thing,” and I do love it. I skied until the end of April at twelve different ski areas in the western U.S. and Canada. I was in heaven and finally knew for certain—I didn’t want to live in Portland anymore. The renter in my house there was to leave at the end of June, so I decided to sell it. If all goes as planned, we’ll close on the deal in a few weeks and I’ll be truly homeless.

 

 

The trusty Subaru vacationing on the Columbia Icefields of Canada.

The trusty Subaru vacationing on the Columbia Ice-fields of Canada.

I put a lot of miles on that car in the past few months, traveling to and through Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, California, New Mexico, and Oregon, as well as the Rocky Mountains of Canada. The sky was so big and the distances so vast, I sometimes felt like I was back in the Mustang region of Nepal (until I remembered I was in a car on a paved road and could easily get a cold drink and gas when I wanted). The snow-capped peaks and steep, mountain passes were a joy to see. The long, straight stretches of road through the high desert had me trying to identify migrating raptors sitting on every other utility pole. And yes, the deer and the antelope played, moose often crossed my path and herds of elk waited on the side of the road while I drove by.

 

 

Storm sky in Wyoming--no rainbow, only rain.

Storm sky in Wyoming–no rainbow, only rain.

Storm sky in Santa Fe--can you see the rainbow?

Storm sky in Santa Fe–can you see the rainbow?

I’ve come to grips with what I already knew: when it’s time to settle down, if it isn’t overseas, it will be in the Rocky Mountain West. I love these landscapes.

I’ve decided to spend the summer in Idaho and Wyoming, enjoying the outdoors as much as possible and I promise to share more of my adventures. Because although it’s familiar to me, every day there’s something different to notice, something you might be interested in reading about. Especially because I have readers all over the world now, some who have never been to the U.S. I can only imagine what they must think based on television shows and our political scene.

 

At Jackson Hole Ski Area, Wyoming, the end of the ski season brings out bare butts and real cowgirls.

End of season party at Jackson Hole Ski Resort.

But the truth is that we have a lot going for us here in America, despite the dirty laundry and negative issues that the media focuses on. (In fact, I’m quite happy we have a media that can report on such things—not every country can say that.) The scenery and nature is as unique and special as that of other countries. We have diverse cultures to experience. There’s a vast variety of local and artisanal foods, wines or beers to taste. It’s not a bad place to be!

 

 

 

Sometimes you've got to get hot to chill.

Sometimes you’ve got to get hot to chill.

But my international wanderlust hasn’t been satisfied yet. Unless I fall in love with a person or a place here in the U.S., I suspect that in September I’ll get on a plane to cross another ocean. But I’ll cross that divide when I come to it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep watching my email so I can follow Travel Rule Number 1: If somebody invites you, go.

9 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain Bliss

  1. candace

    great summer plans for you! But if you have not been to Portugal – come visit Drew and I in July- we have a large Airbnb flat and would love to hang out with you. If not we will be back July 12th and maybe catch up in US. Will ski with you next winter! hugs Candace

    Reply
    1. Cheryl Post author

      I spent October in Portugal last year and it was one of my favorite places–so jealous that you are there now. I can almost taste the octopus and red wines.

      Reply
      1. Cheryl Post author

        Oh, and thanks for my first invitation–but I’m already booked in Jackson Hole with another invitation for early July!

        Reply
  2. Jim Owens

    Thanks for keeping us posted on where you are in your big walkabout. Choosing the Rocky Mountain West for the summer, still having wanderlust — not surprising. And maybe We shouldn’t be surprised that you’re relinquishing your Portland base. But that likely means fewer opportunities to see you as you pass through. ? Do give a shout if one of those opportunities presents itself. Miss you.

    Jim

    Reply
  3. dan b

    You are a terrific skier Cheryl… glad I was able to get in a few runs with you last winter and I appreciate your slowing down for me so I could keep up with you…! I also learned this summer that you are an accomplished canoe enthusiast! Hope your current travels and adventures are going well for you!

    Reply

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