Today, we move on from Yellowstone National Park. Next stop is family in Montana for a couple of weeks. I guess there could be some sadness exiting the gates of Yellowstone for what will likely be the last time for a while - and a while is always that challenging unknown isn't it. But I don't think I'll feel anything but gratitude for the opportunity to see so much of what is widely regarded as the world's first national park. I consider us nothing but fortunate to have the chance, two years in a row, to show our boys the magic of nature. Even more, to have them accompanied by one of the most passionate fans of nature I know - who just happens to love recording as many nature memories as possible - their mom - that is a gift from God I'll never be able to repay.
One observation from the last few days. The park is filled with people who are searching. Searching for the next bear or elk, the next breath-taking scene, some quiet place to pray or meditate along a stream crawling off into unknown corners of the park and beyond. No one seems to be looking to tell anyone what they should be searching for, only helping in each others' searches if they can. I have found that relaxing. Enjoying and celebrating this majestic land instead of spending days of telling each other what's wrong with it. The real world awaits again, I know. But I'm sure enjoying the break from it.
It's been fun joining in Elliott's obsession for finding a male Bighorn Sheep - the one with the big, spiraling horns. It's taken us to some interesting locations in the park we may have never otherwise seen.
When you spend so much time living in one place, it's easy to give little thought to the reality that both under and above this planet magic is happening in so many different ways. My idea of heaven is God will one day restore this planet to it's purest and most beautiful form, and give us eternity to explore every single inch of it - all the while giving Him unending praise for the power and beauty of His creation.
This is the angle from which we saw this spring last year. You can make out some of the blues and reds in the steam. Katie, the photographer, had a much different angle in mind when we returned this year. I know her biggest disappointment last year was not getting that perfect angle. Her redeeming thrill - capturing that viewpoint this year.
It would take some climbing to get there:
But when we did - talk about worth it. The perfect angle:
Katie's angle. Katie's perfect shot.
I'm one who enjoys finding that stream to wander along. Wondering what the water's seen. What it's off to explore next.
It's along these streams you often get some of the best surprises.
So cool to spend some time along Yellowstone Lake yesterday. It's one of the big visuals I have in my bank of memories from my childhood trip to Yellowstone. For some reason the images of this lake have stayed with me. I know when I see people in Yellowstone, they are all living out a story. Maybe one that will stay with them forever.
It is hard to escape the memory of scenes like this.
I'm a boy. So I have some intimate knowledge of what it means for boys to be boys. Much of the excitement of this trip has come from just that: boys being boys on a grand adventure.
Boys being boys has offered its fair share of opportunities for nature lessons. Ian asked me when seeing this flower, "do the flies like this flower because it stinks?" I gave him my standard answer for questions like that. Go ask your mom.
In the end we all go to Yellowstone for one reason don't we. To see the bear. Appropriate that one of the last things we saw yesterday was this mama grizzly bear and her two cubs. Yes, we arrived an hour or so late to stand just 20 yards or so away from her as they ate a Bison carcass. But we didn't arrive to late to soak up a scene that, for many, defines the wild.