I was brought to the Wood River Valley due to an AmeriCorps placement. At face value, a bystander would see me as a classic vagabond, not staying anywhere long enough to accumulate worldly possessions that wouldn’t ultimately fit into my Subaru Forester. I have worked and lived in Colorado, California, Arizona, Washington; the “west” is my playground. Up to now I have never felt like I could be happy in one place. I have been looking for a magical playground that is always surprising me with its opportunities.
The Wood River Valley is this always prodding place. I feel called to be outside and to connect to this land, like no other place. In my travels through wilderness, I regularly feel like only a visitor and that the place around me is just waiting for me to leave in order to return it to its natural rhythms, without my presence.
Not only have I felt called to be a part of natural landscape but I have had the honor to be able to teach students about this passion of the wilderness and the natural world. The Wood River Valley is a special place where amongst the micro-ranges of the Rocky Mountains, one finds the confluence of sub-alpine and sage grass, majestic rivers and hot springs, and the influence of the pacific and the continental climate complex. To say it simply; this area is unique in so many ways.
In comparison to the gothic peaks of the Colorado Rockies, one might think that our mountains are small and underwhelming. But to say this would be missing what makes them special. In our valley, due to the combination of the Boulder Range, Pioneer Range and Smoky Range this creates a maze of valleys and gulches that provide never ending exploration and discovery.
I can thank this valley for giving me proof that I know I will be able to settle down one day. It might be here; I hope it’s here. Nonetheless it has given me faith that I won’t be a vagabond forever. There are places out there that are special enough to dedicate more time than the usual pass through. The Wood River Valley is one of these places.