By Mary Beth Baptiste
Conscious that her adolescence is slipping through, Mary Beth Baptiste comes to a decision to flee her lackluster, suburban existence in coastal Massachusetts to pursue her lifelong dream of being a Rocky Mountain woodswoman. To the horror of her conventional, ethnic kin, she divorces her husband of fifteen years, dusts off her flora and fauna biology measure, and flees to Moose, Wyoming for a role at Grand Teton nationwide Park. In those rugged mountains, unforeseen classes from nature and flora and fauna advisor her trip as she creates a brand new lifestyles for herself. Set opposed to the dramatic backdrop and quirky tradition of Jackson gap, this superbly written memoir is a considerate, usually funny account of a woman’s bumbling quest for objective, redemption, and love via barren region event, solitude, and offbeat human connections.
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Extra info for Altitude Adjustment: A Quest for Love, Home, and Meaning in the Tetons
I. Title. 09787’55—dc23 [B] 2013035416 For my best friend and partner, Richard and In memory of DadJoseph F. Baptiste1930–2013 and NanMary Silvia Medeiros1904-1999 Amor Para Sempre TABLE OF CONTENTS Copyright Prologue: Woodswoman PART 1: WATER OF A NEW LIFE CHAPTER 1: First Glimpse CHAPTER 2: There/Here CHAPTER 3: Baggage CHAPTER 4: The Price CHAPTER 5: Places CHAPTER 6: Learning Curve CHAPTER 7: Digging In CHAPTER 8: Hopping on Board CHAPTER 9: Evolution CHAPTER 10: Trying Out CHAPTER 11: Animal Nature CHAPTER 12: Teton Two-Step CHAPTER 13: Bliss CHAPTER 14: Female Trouble CHAPTER 15: Heritage CHAPTER 16: Stakeout CHAPTER 17: Ursine Lessons CHAPTER 18: Harlequin Romance CHAPTER 19: Taproot CHAPTER 20: Ghosts CHAPTER 21: Short Timing CHAPTER 22: Transition CHAPTER 23: Kissing Toads CHAPTER 24: Turning Point CHAPTER 25: Altitude Adjustment CHAPTER 26: Search CHAPTER 27: Forever Love CHAPTER 28: Any Port CHAPTER 29: Uncertainty Principles PART 2: WHITE COMBS AND SWEET HONEY CHAPTER 30: Homing CHAPTER 31: Hermit Crab CHAPTER 32: Stewardship CHAPTER 33: Cabin Fever CHAPTER 34: Grizzly Distinction CHAPTER 35: Gift CHAPTER 36: Mudpuppy Love CHAPTER 37: Dog Days CHAPTER 38: Niche CHAPTER 39: Opening Day CHAPTER 40: Borealis PART 3: LIGHT INSIDE MY HEART CHAPTER 41: Sharpshooter CHAPTER 42: Swan Lake CHAPTER 43: Bearing Up CHAPTER 44: Growing Pains CHAPTER 45: Woodswoman, Reprise CHAPTER 46: Dream Story Author’s Note Acknowledgments Bibliography About the Author Photo Insert PROLOGUE WOODSWOMAN A twist of the binoculars’ focus wheel and I gasp: two toddler-sized black bear cubs, one brown and one black, twined together high up in a spruce tree fifty yards away.
Three-toed woodpecker. I’ve got a lot to learn. Years ago when I studied ornithology at Virginia Tech, I discovered I lacked the bird identification gene. Give me something stationary, like plants. Dendrology had been a snap, even in the prolific eastern forests. “Look. There …” Binoculars at her eyes, Katy dips one hand in front of her, imitating the flight pattern of a raptor just above the sagebrush. “Northern harrier. See the white rump? That’s the thing to watch for. And see how it flies? It stays low, looking for prey.
She’s peering at a signpost with two arrows: the right-pointing one reads YOUR LIFE, the one pointing left, NO LONGER AN OPTION. I’ve died and entered an afterlife. The old one is gone. Over. Yet, the old still combs the new, leaving stubborn ruts. After breakfast I pull on my hiking boots and go outside to explore. As I creak open the door, the snowshoe hare hops by our picnic table. The morning brightens, but piles of pewter-colored clouds still hide the mountains. The silence is so compelling that I feel the need to tiptoe.
Altitude Adjustment: A Quest for Love, Home, and Meaning in the Tetons by Mary Beth Baptiste