Thursday, October 22, 2009

The West and Mountains

I can't leave the Northwest without some reflection. I have always been fascinated by the American West. Perhaps it was because of the old western movies, but probably more because of the wonderful topography, the vast prairies, (Little House on the Prairie and all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books), the wildlife, and the colorful historical characters who inhabited it. Many of those characters had lives that were stranger than fiction. And I can't leave out the native Americans who lived somewhat primitive lives, but had marvelous resiliency and tenacity, as well as their own myths and spiritual elements.

Mostly this past summer I have reflected on Mountains. We were within view of mountains, or at least high, high hills, almost everyday of our seven weeks in the northwest. I love the mountains. They challenge us to be stronger and braver than we normally are. They inspire us with their beauty. They draw us closer to God, not just in terms of height and feeling physically nearer to Him, although that is definitely there, but also in terms of understanding a little more of His majesty and grandeur. I plan to begin writing a series of Bible studies on the significance of mountains in the Old and New Testaments. I was going to start them this past month, but other events have pushed this to the back burner for a while. It probably won't start until after we get settled in Ukraine, but I want to write the studies and post them to the blog here, perhaps twice a month. It all depends on our work schedule there. Stayed tuned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yellowstone National Park

Well, it's been two months since I wrote here, but when we got home from the Northwest we had lots of things to catch up on, and nothing much seemed to happen. So I neglected the blog. Well, things are definitely happening now, so I need to get back to it. And I think a good place to start is where we left off.

In my last posting I wrote about the casinos in Montana and South Dakota. After that we stayed with friends in Fallon, Montana, for a week or so and then decided we couldn't leave the northwest without a stop at perhaps our most famous national park, Yellowstone. It is definitely the first national park established. So we headed toward Cody, Wyoming, which we used as our resting place two nights. We drove into the park from the east and were thrilled by the forests and mountains and geological formations along the way. And of course the first part of the park we had to see was Old Faithful. I took pictures from the front side, but the wind was blowing the steam and water vapor sideways, so it really didn't show up very well. But later we were walking behind the geyser along the pathways and Old Faithful shot off again and I got some decent pictures from the rear.

We roamed the park for two days, saw lots of animals (mostly buffalo again), and were fascinated by the geysers, hot springs, mud volcanoes and Yellowstone Lake and River and the Grand Canyon of the park. All of it something everyone should try to see at least once in their lives. We left the park from the northeast entrance and drove the next day over Beartooth Pass, along one of the curviest roads we have ever traveled. We were finally high enough to be at a level with the peak of Beartooth Mountain. In the picture below you can see the bear's tooth in the center of the peaks. We were just about level with the top of the mountain here.

After leaving Yellowstone we had a meeting in the small, small town of Reed Point, Montana, and met some more great people there. We left Reed Point Sunday afternoon and headed south toward home. We stopped at Dalhart, Texas, to see Evan and his family again and stayed there for a day or so. We finally arrived home on August 26 after seven weeks of roaming the northwest.
It was a wonderful summer. We saw our beautiful nation, we met wonderful people, we shared about the needs of both India and Ukraine, we raised some new support for our work in Ukraine, and we learned more about faith and trusting God for all our needs. We have lots of happy memories of July and August, 2009.