Saturday, February 19, 2011
I've stood on the shores of Jenny Lake and marveled at the Tetons as they climb to the sky, seemingly before my very eyes. It's a severe view. Intimidating, yet stunningly beautiful. It's a fitting final view, and I know I'd be sated if my eyes closed with that image burned on my brain and they never opened again.
I've come over Galena Summit and been forced to pull the car to the side of the road just to take in the splendor of the Sawtooths. On frosty spring mornings, when the sun hits them just right, I'd swear they were among the most beautiful of God's creations, and that, if He stole my last breath right there, I'd be OK with it.
But, perhaps it's my Colorado roots, or the fact that each time I see them I'm stunned into speechless pause, the San Juans have my heart. Mount Sneffels on a cold and clear day, with its scores of jagged little sisters pushing their way into the heavens, never disappoints. Never.
Now, I'm sure the trouty goodness hidden in the creases of these mighty mountains has a lot to do with my infatuation. But mountains all over the West shelter backcountry fishing bounty. I suppose the winding mountain passes with names like Engineer, Cinnamon, Red Mountain and Lizard Head have a little grip on my soul, but there are sketchy high-country biways all along the spine of the continent.
I think the logic behind my attachment to these mountains, though, has to do with the attachment so many others have to those other rocky monoliths. It's almost as if they've forgotten this wild corner of Colorado, with its history, its crystalline waters and the alpenglow just as the sun sets. They've overlooked the funky little mining towns that will never again see such prosperity, at least not at the doing of the pick and the shovel.
To these romantic souls who, like me, find magic in the viewscape and the marvels mountains ferret away for the adventurous to uncover, I ask one favor. Look again at the San Juans. And before you turn your back on them, I think you'll believe, as I do, that the endearing image of these mountains stretching before you will snatch a corner of your spirit and tug on it, endlessly.
You won't overlook them again.