GO West Young Man (8)

Jackson Hole Wyoming offered a couple of shoot-outs a day…maybe they still do. We stayed for one but I couldn’t get the family to hang around for re-runs. The stores along the wooden sidewalks offered other distractions with shelf after shelf of wondrous trinkets. I was a discriminating shopper with shallow pockets. I seem to remember a miniature bison calling out to me.

After high school, I returned to Jackson Hole on a Greyhound bus. Thanks to an introduction from my Uncle Bill, I spent a night in nearby Moose at the home of Mrs. Murie. Mardy Murie was the author of two books (Two in the Far North, and Wapiti Wilderness co-authored with her husband Olaus) that I had read on a recommendation from Uncle Bill, a wildlife biologist who had worked with the Muries. Mardy and Olaus, together with Adolph and Louise Murie, were remarkable conservationists who spent a great deal of time in Alaska studying wildlife. Mrs Murie was a formidable person yet she had a very kind and generous way about her. She had bright eyes and her long graying hair braided and wrapped around the crown of her head giving her a Nordic look. The morning I woke at her place, I found a note in the kitchen directing to make my own sourdough pancakes from the home-made batter in the refrigerator and then explore. (She was already out bird watching.) I had the run of the place and spent most of my time in Olaus Murie’s work space where I pulled out drawer after drawer of specimens collected over the years in the West. As an aspiring wildlife biologist, I was in a most sacred spot, where giants walked. I did tread lightly. These people had experienced wildness and fought to preserve it. Where was the Wild now?

About Whittoons

Cartoonist, and community organizer who has covered the globe as a doodlebugger, gandydancer, supernumerary steward, Able Bodied Seaman, Wireman, monkey man, Night Baker and dishwasher, Hobo, hitchhiker and husband.
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