autumn in wyoming

fall is my favorite time of year.  wyoming is my favorite place in the states.  so you may be thinking, “i know where he’s going with all of this…”

well, i really wish i could say, “not so fast!”  but i can’t.  you’re right.  i’m about to get all mushy on my favorite time of year in my favorite place.

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the proximity of all the wildfires this year to all of my favorite spots, added a drama to the landscape that i never experienced.  it was great for pictures.

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mount moran towers over the fire on jackson lake with the moon and stars illuminating the night sky.  maybe my favorite shot from the 2 week trip…

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my good friend mike and his girlfriend ellen let me tag along on a quick pack trip into the wind river mountains near pinedale.

mike knows the winds and teton wilderness like the back of his hand.  seriously.  he has lived in the area since he was a little tyke, and he guided elk hunters through this maze of a landscape for over twenty years.  he knows the land, it’s history, and it’s wildlife, but more importantly, he knows the ways of the wilderness.

there are certain unspoken rules one must follow when traversing the backcountry.  it’s a matter of respect for the elements.  someone like mike would have never survived so many years in the wilderness without acquiring such knowledge.  he’s a great guy to have with you out there.

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ellen is a great personality, and not too shabby with horses.  she was breaking a young colt on this trip, and considering the nature of the trip, the horse did quite well.  a testament to her abilities.

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being texan, i’m naturally inclined toward firearms.  we are all born with sidearms tied to our umbilical cords down here.  so of course, mike didn’t hesitate when i volunteered to carry our protection from bears and lions (or worse… crazy people).  later, as seen above, i showed the two what i would do if we encountered an aggressive bear.  not all that intimidating, i must say…

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the wind river range from soda lake.  i go here a lot.  it’s only a 5 minute drive from pinedale, but the views are spectacular, and i frequently get to see pronghorn, bald eagles, and sometimes moose and elk.

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the golden hills and sky surrounding soda lake never cease to inspire me.  i’ll never get sick of this place…

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the magic of the alpenglow in the winds.

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this is pinedale.  no stoplights or fast food.  just beautiful surroundings, friendly people, and my favorite beer in the world – the wpa (wyoming pale ale), from wind river brewery.  hoppy and extra strong.  the way i like ’em.

i’m kind of glad i can’t get it back home.  i’d be just a little less likely to have a good excuse to go up to wyoming as frequently as i do.

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the winds on a clear day from soda…

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some of the surrounding hills between willow and soda lake looked as though they were on fire.  the colors this year were spectacular.

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my last night in the tetons was frigid.  the first snow had come and gone.  the clouds were moving out of the area, and thus, the heat from the sun generated during the day was vanishing from the land quickly.  i awoke early to the sound of wolves.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009