San Juan Jon: Wind River Thunder

San Juan Jon: Wind River Thunder

by Jon Lovekin

Wind River RangeHappily exhausted, we lay down in the back of the truck with the Muz (our dog) snuggled between us.  The night was cool, going on to cold.  We had eaten our supper while trying to absorb the view to the west.  It was as if Yosemite had collided with Rocky Mountain National Park and dumped out all the tourists along the way.  The only crowds here were the swarms of mosquitoes trying to find a drilling point on what little flesh we still had exposed.

Eight hundred feet below beckoned the lake and another 500 feet below that ran the river.  Beyond this was the jumble of sheer rock, catches of water at their feet and woods carpeting what soil had formed in this stony world.  Great towers of rock, cliff faces streaked black with snow melt, connected with ridges that appeared like broken teeth or the ears of bears or rabbits.

Sleep came swiftly like the cold, deep water in the river below, and swept us three into the land of dreams.  Galloping hooves woke me as the herd drove about the truck till it shook.  Massive bull elk seemed to tear up the alpine turf as they surged along the ridge.  Struggling to sit I could see their shapes in the light of the moon as they galloped by.  Strangely, the antlers of one seemed shaped like a moose and at that I awoke and struggled to realize it was a dream. The sound of the hooves rang in my mind while dozing back to sleep as I thought of how great the ruin of hoof prints would look in the morning light.

Even in the clear illumination of dawn the belief held that the prints would be in the grass.  They were not there. The herd had galloped in from some other day and place, and awakened my sleeping ear and eye to see into the soul of the place, perhaps a gift from the fierce mountains. Night thunder in the Wind Rivers.

Jon Lovekin's interests: Geological Engineer, Photographer, Telemark Skier, 29er Mountain Biker, Writer, Oh, and FJ40 Landcruiser driver!

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