The Hundredth Meridian

Getting Somewhere

Jackson Hole is burning up. Gerry Spence had to evacuate his ranch ahead of the wildfires, and Dick Cheney could be next. Here above timberline in the Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow Mountains, 400 miles to the southeast, the breeze is cool, the grass is fresh and green, and the ponds of standing water are connected by torrenting rivulets of snow melt. There are also no tourists, and you don't have to be a millionaire to live here—as I'd be doing tonight, if only we'd brought the camp gear along with us.

Everyone who loves the outdoors is in love with a special place in the outdoors, as truly as if it were a woman, that no other place can ever quite compete with. Mine is the Wyoming Range north of Kemmerer, Wyoming, which I explored and hunted—by four-wheel-drive, on foot, and on horseback—for 18 years before I left in the summer of 1997 for southern New Mexico, where I suffered the heat and the Mex-Mex culture for nearly two years before coming home to Wyoming. For the next year and a half, I sulked in Laramie, pining for the western end of the state, before I came to my senses. There's no point being miserable, Jim Tate likes to say. And Tom Sheeley calls having fun the best revenge. So this summer, I've been in the Snowies with the horses as often as possible, seeing new things and learning new country. In fact, the Wyoming Range has nothing more beautiful to offer than this. (I tell myself...

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