Trying to make sense of the many mountain ranges connected to the Rockies is no easy feat for a flatlander like me. I just assumed the Rockies were the Rockies, the end. Not exactly. The Rocky Mountains actually encompass numerous mountain ranges within the massive range that runs from New Mexico to Canada.
Wyoming’s portion of the Rockies rise up from the Eastern Plains and offer us some of those heart-stoppingly pronounced views of the Tetons in Wyoming. The Tetons aren’t the only mountain ranges within the Rockies in Wyoming, though.
Wyoming counts many more smaller ranges within the Rockies, but the one closest to the Tetons is the Wind River Range, a gorgeous rugged range that’s often overlooked when visiting northwest Wyoming, which is unfortunate because the Wind Rivers are ridiculously monumental, too.
The earth is so tiny, a speck in the Milky Way, and this speck somehow possesses the kind of geographic features that can make a place like the Wind Rivers seem all-encompassing to a human.
It’s enough to make a person want to punch herself in the face for getting worked up about pedestrian matters like homeownership and a permanently wrecked GI tract. If a woman punches herself in the face in the middle of the wilderness and nobody else is around, will the fist hitting cheekbone make a sound? Fortunately, I was too overwhelmed with the beauty of the Wind Rivers to bother actually kick myself in the rear for sweating the small stuff in life.
After our morning visit to Mormon Row in Moose, Wyoming, Cameron and I explored the Gros Ventre Wilderness in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Grand Teton National Park. We drove along a curvy mountain road with views of the Wind Rivers and the Tetons and then parked the car at Red Hill…
and took Charlotte for a short walk along the Gros Ventre River in Red Hill, Wyoming.
Red Hill was yet another reminder of the way geological features stand out against difference. In the middle of rugged mountains and lush forests the Red Hill range rises up in all its rust-hued glory.
We headed out from the Gros Ventre Wilderness once Charlotte had gotten her fair share of rolling around in red dirt (she’s not called a red heeler for nothin’), making our way south to Pinedale, Wyoming, where we’d be staying for the night at Rivera Lodge.
Pinedale deserves its own post, so I’ll leave you with today’s recipe: brown sugar ginger cookies. The recipe is zesty and sweet and the closest I could find to the amazing melt-in-your-mouth ginger cookies our Rivera Lodge hostess gave us as a check-in welcome.
Brown Sugar Ginger Cookies
(A Scientifically Sweet recipe)
Makes 24 cookies
– 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
– 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
– 1 large egg, at room temperature
– 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
– 1 tsp fancy molasses
– 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar by hand using a wide rubber spatula until somewhat light and smooth. Stir in molasses. Add whole egg and stir until well incorporated and smooth. Stir in yolk and vanilla extract until combined. The batter should not look curdled.
3. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture all at once and stir until most of the flour is absorbed, but a few streaks remain. Do not over-mix. You should end up with a soft, somewhat moist dough.
4. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the dough in the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. This allows the butter to firm up so that it doesn’t melt too quickly in the oven, letting the dough set before the butter melts and spreads. This way the cookies don’t spread flat like pancakes and remain a bit gooey in the middle even once the tops are golden.
5. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F.
6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roll 1-oz mounds of chilled dough into balls and then roll into sugar.
7. Place them on prepared baking sheet spacing them about 2.5 inches apart.
8. Bake until golden brown and cracked at the surface, about 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 30 seconds before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.