When I left Grand Teton in October, I knew I wouldn't be coming back for at least a few years. I had mentally prepared myself for a new park and thought I was finally ready. However, as I sit here on the eve of my transition to Yosemite, I can't help but be filled with fears and worries. I am positive that once I get there all will be okay, but tonight, the fears have won and the anxiety has won. I don't write often, but when I do write its usually to pinpoint my thoughts and process things, and that is why tonight, I write.
I, like many others, am extremely active on social media. I check it first thing when I wake up and right before I fall asleep. I follow many people whose work I find inspiring and I constantly check hashtags in an effort to discover new people, new locations, and new perspectives. However, lately I have begun noticing a trend that extremely distressing to me as a conservationist and park ranger: People hurting the protected (and to me, the absolutely most sacred) land of our national parks, in order to get the shot. I don’t want to point fingers, name names, or even be a spoil-sport, but somebody has got to say something, and it might as well be me. But before we go farther, I want to make one thing clear. I do not in any way, shape or form, believe that social media is the root of the problem that is apathy, or that it is a new problem. People have been disrespecting parks for years. But I do strongly believe that the influences social media has is now a huge issue and is quietly destroying the parks faster than ever before.
(n.) A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief, for the lost places of your past.
Working the jobs I do, I am asked what I recommend for people to do in the area on a daily basis. Its hard for me to give a brief answer because there is just so much to do here. I have spent three years in the Tetons and still feel like I have only scratched the surface on all this place has to offer. This my attempt to compile all of my absolute favorite things that I would highly recommend to anyone coming to the Jackson Hole area. Many people may disagree, or think I left something important off the list. That's fine, this isn't meant to be the ultimate list. This is just my list. What this won't include is a list of my favorite hikes or winter activities, there are plenty of lists like that out there and so many fabulous hikes in the Tetons it makes it hard to chose. What it also won't include is Jenny Lake. Most people come to the Tetons just to see Jenny Lake and Hidden Falls and leave missing all the best jewels that the Tetons have to offer. Jenny Lake is pretty, but doesn't even come close to the top of the list of the best things to see in the Tetons. Trust me, skip Jenny Lake and do any or all of these instead.
I miss you.
And by you, I don’t mean a specific person. I mean a collective you. The best friends, boyfriends, roommates, teammates, coworkers, acquaintances, and, hell, even the complete strangers that filled my life in the past years. I miss you.
I miss you all.
Your ghosts haunt me as I pass through these places silently. Alone.
I guarantee that everyone who has ever worked at/near/in a national park has gotten some pretty stupid questions in their life. We in Grand Teton most definitely do. In the summers I generally work at the Moose Entrance Station of Grand Teton National Park and when people visit the park, I am the one who sells them their passes. In most cases I am the only uniformed National Park Service employee that the visitors will have contact with in their time in the park. As such, me and everyone else who works in my position get some pretty ridiculous questions. I was extremely delighted to discover the log of some of craziest things said stretching back to 2006 in my kiosk yesterday and thought that some of these gems were just too good not to share. These are just a few of the comments in that book. Trust me, there are A LOT more where these came from. Although you have to have knowledge of Grand Teton and surrounding areas for a lot of these to be funny, many of them are amusing on their own as well. Enjoy!
I met Sandra while doing colorguard with RCC in 2011. Since then she has been such good friend to me and I am so excited for her as she graduates with her Bachelor's in Psychology. Sandra's best friend and roommate is also graduating with the same degree and joined us for this fun shoot. Congratulations guys!
I can vividly remember when Ella's mom, Dore, was pregnant with her and cannot believe she is already four years old! We spent a wonderful afternoon at the Oak Glen Wildlands Conservancy together- dancing, looking at wildlife, racing "horses", and laughing. Ella's cousin Liam also appears in these photos, I did his parent's maternity photos a few days before he was born over 6 months ago.. I cannot believe how time flies!
I don't know when exactly I knew I wanted to become a park ranger, but I know that by the time I was in third grade that dream was already very clear to me. I know because I have a piece of poorly made artwork that I made at the time that said "When I grow up I want to be a ranger", complete with drawing of me in a ranger truck chasing what appears to be an elk. This is the story of how that dream became a reality, and I feel it is important for me to tell because God's hand is so evident in it and I think it may be the strongest testimony I will ever have.
Throughout the years, I have found great joy in traveling the world and documenting my sites and experiences through photography. I invite you to explore my portfolio and share in the many fantastic adventures and experiences that have made up my life.