by Kelly Cordes
In contrast to the mountains of Chamonix, but in a similar vein of easy access, I recently headed north to a beautiful spot in Wyoming called Ten Sleep. I took a few notes:
[Approaching one of the cliffs in Ten Sleep Canyon. Photo: Kelly Cordes]
• The official name is Ten Sleep. I thought my illiterate friends who pronounce it plural (“Ten Sleeps”) were mere simpletons. I have, however, learned that the name relates to travel distances expressed by Native Americans. Like it’s ten nights’ sleep from the nearest place (presumably the nearest climbing area). So I’m told. This distance thing must have been before cars got fast, because it’s not that far from other climbing areas. Of course I didn’t follow-up on any of this, so I still insist that it’s “Ten Sleep.” One letter? Sure, but standards matter. This is not ‘Nam, there are rules here.
• Just outside the town of Ten Sleep (note the lack of “s” at the end) is Brokeback Road, which, being the astute literary type, made me wonder if this is where Wyoming writer Annie Proulx got the title for her superb short story (later made into an Academy Award-winning film), Brokeback Mountain. But then I noticed that, unlike the story and the film, the road outside of town is actually Brokenback Road (note the “n” in the middle). But it’s just one letter – whatever. Ten Sleep, why can’t I quit you?!