Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Alta, Wyoming

I'm supposed to list out some places that have significance to me. And then I'm supposed to write about one of them for a while.

Alta, Wyoming

Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming

Carlsbad Caverns Cave

Rockford, Illinois

The San Diego Zoo



Twin Falls, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

Munich, Germany

Coburg, Germany

I'll write about the first one.

Alta, Wyoming isn't a place I ever would've gone to without the influence of friend. The friend's name is James Lee Christiansen. I first met Jim in Boise not long after we moved there from Twin Falls, Idaho.

At church, they asked me to teach a lesson in priesthood meeting, so I did. I don't remember the subject matter of the lesson exactly, however, I do remember relating the story relative to the three German youth who belonged to the Mormon church during the Third Reich and the reign of Adolf Hitler who took up a private campaign against the Nazis and Hitler in particular. The leader of the three youth ended up beheaded. The other two were imprisoned and tortured until delivered by the Americans.

After I completed the lesson, Jim Christiansen came up to me to discuss the story further. I learned that he had enjoyed my use of it as an example for the lesson and that he was a professor of sociology at Boise State University. Thereafter, we became friends. Jim was a unique character. He was devoted to self-reliance and primitive ways. For example, he made his own clothes, often from homemade leather. It wasn't unusual for him to ask a farmer for the hide of a steer that he would then treat and utilize to make clothing and shoes. He was also a jogger, and in those early years he often ran marathons. I remember one trip we took to the Idaho Falls Temple on a bus with the rest of the people who wanted to go from our stake in Boise. As the bus approached Boise after the trip, Jim stripped off his clothing and stuffed it into his suitcase, left the suitcase with a friend, and talk the bus driver into letting him so he could run home.

Anyway, Jim was born in Alta, Wyoming. Where is Alta, Wyoming? Most people are acquainted with Teton National Park and know where it's located. Many who have visited the park have also visited Jenny Lake, one of the most frequented locations in the park. At Jenny Lake, visitors can hike down to lakeside, catch a boat to the other side, and visit a waterfall or hike further up the trail of the canyon beside the stream that provides much of the water that flows into the lake. If you hike up the canyon and climb over the mountains on the trails there into the canyon that comes out the other side of the Teton Mountains, you'll come to Grand Targee, the famous ski resort, and further on down the road you come to Alta, Wyoming. If you go much further than Alta, Wyoming you'll be in Idaho. If you keep going down the road you'll come to Driggs, Idaho.

Alta is a small town. I think it is incorporated as a town, but there is not much of an infrastructure there. Jim grew up there. He has a "house" there that is as rustic and unique as the clothing he made and wore back then. His mother's house is still there on the side of the road that runs from Driggs on up to Grand Targee. Jim and his wife invited us to that rustic house and we went there many times.

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