As I was driving alone cross-country this past June I had some incredible experiences.
- I accidentally drove a fully loaded moving truck with car and trailer in tow through an agricultural field at 4am in the middle of Arkansas – at full speed.
- I had a full-grown buffalo run at me full-tilt while keeping a steady hand on my camera’s shutter.
- I saw my first cornfield.
- I stayed a night in the town where Jesse James was killed.
- I shivered on the ground next to the truck all night halfway up a mountain while listening to wolves and was so cold that I didn’t care if they ate me.
- I actually said aloud that “I’m not in Kansas anymore” after crossing a state line (ok, ok – I was jacked up on Starbucks and delirious at the time)
- I saw what it really means when the Missouri River floods and even the Interstate system shuts down.
- I saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time.
- I experienced a real desert for the first time and searched for rattlesnakes and photographed various cacti in flower.
- I went mountain biking in Iowa and Colorado and had a blast!
- I passed through several towns that were absolutely devastated by a series of massive tornadoes.
- I got mobbed by a pack of thieving ground squirrels in Montana.
This list goes on and on….
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Then just when after a week of full-on constant new-experience-overload that I thought nothing could amaze me like the wild experience the hour before, I turn the corner and see this view of beautiful snowy mountains reflected in a crystal-blue lake on a gorgeous summer day in the Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming. Even now just thinking about it, the memory of the grandeur of the landscape just blows my mind.Rich Leighton December 8, 2011