Sonia and I first went west together two summers ago. I met her in Colorado, and we drove to the Rocky Mountains. I was very much a hiking novice (wore my tennis shoes the whole time!). But being in the mountains, it was hard not to want to climb one, so we did some shorter hikes, and then climbed Mt. Ida. It was really beautiful! And I saw my first marmot.
We drove instead to Grand Teton National Park, stopping for a swim in Jackson Lake, and hiking up to Cathedral Lake. It would have been impossible to leave these mountain views to head back to Chicago if we didn’t already have plans to move west ourselves. But whenever I see photos of Grand Teton anywhere, I turn to Sonia and ask “When can we go back?” I’ve checked and the drive from Santa Fe is a lot less than Chicago!
We went back last Fall, before moving to New Mexico. We drove to Yellowstone National Park and stayed in Mammoth Hot Springs for a few nights before heading north to Bozeman Montana for a week long artist residency. After we got home, we made a book about our trip, looking at climate change and the west called STRATA. The wildfires were raging all across the country while we were there, and the smoke was really bad in Bozeman. We had planned to visit Glacier National Park once the residency was finished, but the fires got too bad and we headed south instead.