by CC McCarthy
This Valley takes my breath away everyday! It continues to amaze me that living here was barely even a dream just a year ago and now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. This dream of mine started when my dad gave me my first David Stoecklein book, The Idaho Cowboy when I was just a girl. At the time the cowboys and cowgirls in his book were almost mythical creatures; little did I know my life would lead me in a direction where I would actually move to this beautiful place.
Dave’s ability to capture the reality and beauty of the west was something I was in awe of and couldn’t really believe that some of these places actually existed. I don’t know if it was the magnificence and drama of the landscapes in his pictures or the dirt, sweat, and fatigue on the faces of the cowboys from a hard day’s work that captured my attention more! How could a place this stunning truly exist?
In September of 2013 for my birthday my parents gave me one of the most memorable and special gifts I could ever ask for. Dad and I were going to one of the Stoecklein Family’s photography workshops and I was actually going to meet this legend and person I admired for as long as I can remember. To be honest I was terrified and excited all at the same time, I am by no means a good photographer and here I was learning from the best. Of course everyone has expectations going into something but mine were completely blown out of the water.
That weekend I fell in love with Idaho! From my first hike in the Pioneer Mountains to the most genuine group of people I’d ever met, I knew going back to D.C. would be difficult. I never even considered I would learn so much not only about photography but about this area. Over the next several months I had a decision to make, did I move close to my brother in Jackson, WY, did I go to a mountain town in Colorado or did I come here? Well Dave made my decision easy, when I would ask for advice he would stop the conversation with just two words, Sun Valley. So here I am!
From my first glance at Dave’s books when I was a girl to my weekend in Mackay I knew this place and the people who live here were special but since living here I’ve realized it’s much more than that! There are not many places in the world where you can walk out your front door and be on top of a mountain in 15 minutes, where you can fish in one of the most famous rivers in the country which just happens to run through your backyard, or quite simply take in a sunset that on any given day could be featured in a book somewhere.
What is the purpose of this? So often we get caught up in our daily routine, I know I do! It took years of living in corporate D.C. for me to realize I was just itching to get outside. The final evening of that September workshop I was sitting on the front porch with Dave and he looked up and said “just look at those clouds.” The clouds themselves were stunning but the shadows they cast on the mountains made them look like something out of a fairy tale. In that moment Dave reminded me how important it was to appreciate the little things and to see beauty in everything. It is because of moments like this that I now try to take a moment every day to quite simply appreciate where we live and I challenge you to do the same!