Home Sweet Home
By Kelli Ward, as told to Maggie Theodora
Photograph by Ryan Jones ∙ Illustration by Colleen Valenstein
Our home is this peaceful, tranquil escape. The Snow King trail system is right above the back of the house. We take frequent family hikes there most days. In our own yard, we see all sorts of wildlife, from moose to owls—it’s amazing seeing them up close—deer, fox, raptors, and antelope. We’ve had a moose eat the herbs in our garden, which tortured Jeff, who loves to cook. We got a call once when there was a bear messing around with the tire swing hanging from a huge pine tree in our yard. We didn’t see it, but a neighbor did and called to make sure the kids weren’t cruising around outside.
Even though we feel so removed, we’re still very connected to town. We have about 2,000 square feet of decks going around the house, and we’re out there all the time. Relaxing on the deck we don’t see any neighbors, but we see the entire town lit up below us. (We’re several hundred feet above the valley floor.) When there’s a concert at Snow King, we walk. We ride our bikes to the people’s market and the farmers market. We watch Snow King’s Fourth of July fireworks from our driveway. Last year, we parked our camper in the driveway, popped it up, and the kids watched from in there. And then there’s the county fair. We have a bird’s-eye view of the fairgrounds. As soon as the first truck rolls in, the kids get excited about riding the rides. We watch the setup, then enjoy the lights and sounds of the carnival all week until, finally, we watch everything get broken down. When we bought this place twelve years ago, it was the only house we looked at.