5 wk trip, day 26: Viola, apple bites, Snow King Mountain, Lava Hot Springs

Continuing one of the themes from day 25, artistic expression, yesterday morning before my departure I asked Todd if she would please play a tune for me on her viola.

violaWhen I asked her why she decided to learn to play that instrument rather than any other, she responded: “Viola is known as the mediator, between violin and cello.” That describes well Todd’s intensely subtle shaping of all that surrounds and encompasses her. This crone woman can hold and honor various conflicting points of view within her very deep self without judgment. Hers is a rare and desperately needed gift for long-term interior transmutation during this extraordinarily tumultuous time on planet Earth.

Furthermore, just to put it on the record, I would say that Todd saved my life during my early 40s when I was briefly homeless (living in my car) and utterly in despair, without hope for our collective future. So it’s no wonder that of all people in Wyoming, I would want to stop and see her on my spiral journey.

Okay, it’s nearly 9 am, time to load up my car. Oops! Yep, this is the “surprise” mentioned in the post from day 25: Suddenly Todd calls out: “The deer got into your newly picked box of apples!” Wow! “Wait!” I yelled back. “Want to take a picture.” But I didn’t get there quite in time. She had already removed some of the bitten apples. Here’s the box —


— and the basket she had already partially filled.


I have the box of those that survived the sharp little deer teeth in the back seat of my car, now at a hotel in Lava Hot Springs, parked in the shade. Hopefully they will remain cool enough until tomorrow when I complete the last leg of this 5-week spiral journey, from here to Hailey, Idaho, about a three hour drive.

But first, I must tell you of my experience on Snow King Mountain, which abuts Jackson Wyoming, my home for nearly two decades (prior to moving to Bloomington, Indiana). It was there that I launched myself as the area’s first professional astrologer, lived on the outskirts in a 20-foot yurt, married my mathematician husband Jeff (a transplant from Ann Arbor), published the magazine Crone Chronicles (1989-2001), and co-founded the ongoing Crones Counsel. So let’s just say I knew lots and lots of locals!

But in preparing for this trip, I couldn’t decide who to let know that I was coming. I would have only two days in Jackson, I knew that, but who to contact? Finally, after trying one old old friend there, and discovering that she would be out of town, I decided not to stop at all, but to go to Lava Hot Springs instead. YES! Take a bit of down time in this long spiral journey that has featured a number of presentations on both Hildegard and Green Acres, plus extremely intense and rich encounters with both old friends and new nearly every single day!

And on this first morning after arrival in Lava, I’m so glad I made that choice! After all, I am about to launch into another intensity, our first week-long sibling reunion after three expected deaths in five years (parents both in their mid-90s, three and four years ago, and, one year ago, the death of sister  Mary who suffered from cancer off and on for nearly 40 years).

Six of us, plus spouses, are to meet in a house we have rented near Sun Valley, in the Wood River Valley, where the Kreilkamps lived after Dad decided to move his medical practice from Twin Falls to Ketchum, Idaho so that our family could live full-time in the beautiful and innovative “cabin” that my first (architect) husband designed and built on the confluence of two rivers back in 1966. So it’s our old stomping grounds. And we are very much looking forward.

And I very much needed this stop, this rest, this immersion, over and over again for nearly 48 hours in hot mineral waters.

Oops! Just about forgot about Snow King! Okay. I had decided not to see anyone in Jackson. In fact, to travel through incognito. But, I also wanted to climb Snow King, something I had done at least twice a week for many years when Jeff and I had our office in town. Here are the stats:


I knew that I was in no way prepared for this climb: both not fully acclimated to the altitude, and nearly 15 years older than when I used to climb it!

But I decided to do it anyhow. Not seriously. I knew I probably wouldn’t make it all the way up. Furthermore, as Scott reminded me, there’s snow up there. Plus, I didn’t even take my water bottle!

Here it is from the base, showing where the snow starts.


A few hundred feet up, I stop to rest.


Continue long, slow, uphill slog, at about 45°. Laughing, cursing myself for not bringing water.


I stop again, catch and slow my heaving breath. Damn! Water! Okay, can I at least make it up to the snow?

Another stop. Tetons peeking over Blacktail Butte, another favorite trek from long ago . . .


Snow. Okay. That’s it. I must turn around.


The road not taken.


Final view. Slightly higher.


So yes, I’m getting used to the idea that, at 73 years old, I don’t have to be victorious and climb to the top of every mountain I desire to conquer. My recent experience in Helena on Mt. Ascension very much echoed and amplifed on Snow King. Bittersweet, and very very real.

Meanwhile, I’m embraced by the healing mineral waters of Lava Hot Springs, my new “home,” until around 9 AM tomorrow morning. Here’s a peek at the extensive public baths at Lava, featuring very beautiful grounds.



Check this out! The public baths are situated right next to the Portneuf river, and those are blooming flowers all along the top of the wall.


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