Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow On The Distant Mountains

On a very beautiful and very cold Sunday morning LC and I went for a drive out to Clark.
Clark is an isolated community located about 25 miles from Cody.
There is very little in Clark.
A school, fire and road service buildings, churches a community center.
No stores or gas stations or bars or really any other commercial enterprises.
The area contains huge ranches and many homes with large acreages.
It is predominantly rocky, sage brush and beige dirt covered, and surrounded by mountains.
The canyon in back is stunningly beautiful and eventually dead-ends at the Clark River and Shoshone National Forest.
The entire area surrounding Clark is filled with mountains.
Clark is renowned primarily for two things - people who want to be left alone, and wind.
Wind strong enough to buckle roads and tear off roofs. 
Wind so strong it feels as though it will rip your head off.
Wind so strong that, in this windy state, has a reputation all of its own.
We love it there.
The mountains, the canyon, the river, the wild life, the isolation and the incredibly beauty.
A beautiful area that is even more beautiful when covered with snow...................
When we reached a fork in the road while driving through this isolated community, LC and I briefly debated which way to turn.  
The left fork would lead us through the canyon and take us to the national forest.
Usually we would automatically take this left fork, but on this absolutely deep-freeze cold day we instead turned right.
Aimlessly driving without goals, we just wanted to be "out".  Left.  Right.  It didn't matter.  I was just happy to be out.
As I watched the world quietly pass by me, I realized that this was one of my favorite areas surrounding Cody.
I am not certain why because there are many quiet and beautiful spaces around Cody. 
There is just something about Clark that I am drawn to.
We saw no animals on this winter day.  No antelope or mule deer or elk and the bears are all sleeping.
One day last year LC and I drove this same road and unexpectedly found ourselves at one more dead end. 
A trail head led up into the mountains, and we were headed that way again.
On the way to this second dead-end we saw a sign for a house for sale.  We slowed and then stopped the truck in the middle of the snow covered and isolated road, determined that no-one lived there and (on the spur of the moment) pulled into the driveway.
We had seen something interesting.................
The home itself was a slightly disheveled log home, but behind it and beside it were buildings that were even more interesting.
Tiny log buildings that looked as though they had been in place for a very long time.
Feeling slightly like interlopers (Who would know?  Nobody lived there.  People got shot for doing such things in Clark.  But there was nobody around.  It was Sunday and isolated and freezing cold.  But people got shot for doing such things in Clark, Wyoming..........).
We climbed out of the truck and began to explore in the snow. 
A barn further down the driveway. 
I stood in the sunshine that provided no warmth, looked out over the blue sky, and the glistening snow, and loved what I was seeing.................
There were four log buildings on the property, and LC and I wandered from one to the other.
The day was freezing cold but very still and we both greatly enjoyed the silence of the area.
You could see the axe marks in each of the logs.
The porches were rickety and beginning to teeter.  The roofs were highly suspect.
But you could see the axe marks for goodness sakes.
The wood look aged enough that I could easily imagine that these were early homesteads - perhaps some of the earliest homes in Clark.
What an exciting find.................
The property was fairly large, perhaps 15 or 20 acres.
It was obvious from the downed portions of the fence, the disheveled home and the run down log structures that no-one had lived on the property for a good while.
But in reality it was a beautiful place.
Winter made it look even more beautiful......................
Views in both directions from the end of the driveway.
A whole lot of nothing and beautiful.............
Pictures of a winter wonderland as we slowly continued driving and wandering through the area..........
The snow on the distant mountains was soft and creamy, as if veiled in a faint smoke..............Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country

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