Place Where You Live:

Kelly, Wyoming

What's in Wyoming?

“What’s in Wyoming?!” is how my Bay Area friends responded when I told them I was moving to Wyoming. Their faces expressed a combination of confusion and concern.

“Have you heard of the Grand Tetons?” I would ask. They would shake their head and shrug. To ease their consternation I would proceed to explain how beautiful Kelly is; the robust peaks, so high they create their own weather; the magical feeling of seeing it snow for the first time while snowshoe hiking; and lastly, nothing’s more exhilarating and frightening than running into a moose or a bear on the trail. Their eyes would light up as they imagine what that must be like, then they would give me a puzzled look.

“Wait, haven’t you been there before?”

I first came to the Grand Tetons for spring break in 2013, which is when this picture was taken, my visible excitement for Wyoming hasn’t waned. Seeing the Grand Tetons for the first time was such a powerful experience, that it made this urban kid from Oakland change his career path to a life working in the outdoors. Two years later I figure out how to do it and I made my way back to Kelly to pursue a graduate degree in environmental education.

“Well if that makes you happy,” they would respond.

It has!

How could any human being not enjoy the otherworldly sound of bugling of elk in the night or going out on hikes to forage for delicious huckleberries. Sometimes, while I watch the shooting stars at night, I wonder if the Tetons can feel how much they mean to me. But that’s silly, how could the Tetons understand that they have given me a home or a connection to the natural world?

The least I can do for this place is to help preserve it and its naturalness. So that I can bring my family and friends and they will finally understand why I moved to Wyoming.

I can’t wait to see them look up at the Tetons and say “That’s what’s in Wyoming.”