A few weeks back, our pal Jenn Barger (fashion writer, style expert and shopping guru at dcstylefactory), and her husband, Callan, spent two weeks out West. Both hail from those parts; Jenn an ex-Texan, Callan a South Dakotan. Escaping DC heat and reconnecting with their roots, they flew into Salt Lake City and took off on a road trip through Montana, Wyoming and Utah (plus a shred of Idaho) that meshed yee-ha cowboy fun with old friends and a lot of terrific trout-eating (and microbrew-trying).
Back in DC, but perhaps still in her denim and boots, Jenn takes the PT Questionnaire:
What was the first thing that caught your eye?
Both Cal and I spent time in the Grand Tetons when we were kids, but coming back as adults was just a reminder of what a beauty queen national park it is — it’s all gigantic, snow-kissed mountains plunging to green, wildflower-filled valleys with postcard-worthy lakes. Oh, and view of moose, beavers and elk. It was nice to come to a place full of memories for both of us and not be disappointed in the least.
Most intriguing smells? Sounds?
The scent of sage grass, which filled our noses both in the Tetons and in and around Bozeman, Montana, where we spent part of the trip. It’s so fresh and clean, and accentuates the crisp air out there. Sounds ... hail hitting our rain jackets in the Tetons — we got rained on a little bit daily, but I guess it’s good for the flowers, right?
Most vibrant colors?
Wildflowers in the Grand Tetons — purple lupines, yellow balsamroots, other flowers too colorful and numerous to name.
Huckleberries are in everything out west! They’re a little, purple blueberry-like fruit, but a bit less sweet. We slurped them in cocktails and beers, ate them atop French toast and brought home decadent candy bars stuffed with dried ones. And there’s also a buzzing microbrewing scene out West, so my husband loved trying all the interesting beers.
Person/people you met who'll stick with you?
We spent time with friends in Montana at a 10th wedding anniversary party atop a mountain. The wedding was beautiful a decade ago, and the reunion of friends old and new was terrific too. I also took a horseback ride in the Paradise Valley with my friend (the bride!) and we had a memorably chatty cowboy who cracked so many bad jokes, I thought he’d fall off the horse.
Best overheard snippets?
“Are you sure I can’t give you a free Book of Mormon,” overheard in Temple Square in Salt Lake City, coming from a tour guide/missionary to a tourist.
Absorbing summer reads?
I’m a thriller girl, and I dug into Irish author Tana French’s excellent The Secret Place.
Most interesting animals?
We got up early one morning in the Tetons to go to a wildlife spot, and were rewarded by good views of a mother and baby moose romping in the marsh below.
Most magical moments?
A river float trip on the Snake River in the Tetons, with mountain views and encounters with swimming beavers.
I’m not a daredevil…but I think horseback riding and long hikes qualify, right?
I grew up in South Texas, so I still love to mix a little bit of Western wear into my closet. Cal and I went to Murdoch’s, this fabulous ranch supply/clothing/hardware store and got plaid Western shirts (not matching) that we’ve both worn since we got back.
Now, sit back and imagine the sound of the projector carousel as you click through Jenn & Callan's slideshow:
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