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Great Country, Great Friends & Dinner with a Nobel Prize Winner

Sitting in this ridiculously gorgeous lobby at Jackson Lake Lodge - the sun has faded and so, too, the peaks.

It was a very good day, full of the things that brought me back to this Yellowstone-Teton area to stay after misguided attempts, years ago, to find a real job.

Delivered a Cool Works sweatshirt to Scott at the Old Faithful Inn. Scott's background in the Marines and 10 years of working seasonally around the country are full of great stories. I met him in Anchorage last October. Took a good look at Yellowstone Lake while coming off of Craig Pass. Place your bets on when the ice will go out. Lewis Lake is still frozen as well.

Plenty of snow in Lewis River Canyon, less than I expected at the south entrance. Bombed up to Togwotee Mountain Lodge to visit with the HR folk that Patty, Kari, Kathi and I work with. Thanks Jeff and Duncan. It's still mud season up there. A group was training at the front desk and they were all about Cool Works. It was great to meet them. They'll be opening soon. Met Cool Works fans up and down the road today. Makes me smile.

Got Greg Smith on the phone and agreed to meet at Dornans. He showed up with Roxanne, followed by Holly, Andy and Dave. We all came into this country in our late teens and early twenties - we're well into our 50's these days with the bold and brave tipping to 60. We're all still in the region, have managed to make lives here (with the occasional digression to pay some dues), raised families, moved up some ladders, in positions of alarming responsibility and making a difference. Stunning, really, to now see some of these peers start to retire.

We draw from a deep well of shared experiences: winters at Old Faithful, summers at the gas pumps in Yellowstone, seasons in Alaska, attending each other's weddings (Holly got married right in front of me - on the sidewalk out there in front of this lobby), watching kids grow up, trips, retirement parties, memorial services.... Shared experiences that go back more than 30 years. I don't see these pals nearly often enough. Makes me want to move down here for awhile.

It was Hootenanny night at Dornans. Only in Jackson Hole could that be so wonderfully cool. We stayed for a bit of it. A long-running and regular event, the local talent puts on a show. And if you've been around Jackson you recognize the names of some of these amateur musicians. Ski pioneers, whitewater pioneers - names I've heard for years. Like I said - makes you want to move here for awhile.

Photo stop near Jackson Lake Lodge - Monday Evening

That all made me late for the kick off of the Yellowstone Business Partnership annual conference but it worked out great. I walked in and settled into dinner with Steve Running, who won a share of a Nobel Prize in 2007. I saw him speak in Billings that year - the man has done some serious and important work. Wrapped the night up in conversation talking wind energy and Cool Works with Rich of Ridgeline Energy and now, hanging in the lobby.

Good day...

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