As we drove out of Yellowstone, the scenery continued to amaze. We exited on the opposite side of Yellowstone Lake. I cannot convey the size of this lake. At one point we were told that when it was first discovered it was so big the men thought it was a sea. I don’t doubt it. It seems to go on forever.
This picture struck me as funny. This goose was taking advantage of the warm pool on the cool morning!
We had seen several places where obvious forest fires had taken place throughout the park. The big fire from 1988 left a lot of damage, but new growth is taking place in those areas. We learned why fire is actually a good and necessary thing in places like Yellowstone. But, we hadn’t come across an area quite as barren as this one we saw as we were leaving.
Reflecting on it, it occurs to me how much it is like God’s refining fire. Fire purifies the forest, and allows for new growth to take place, much like God’s refining fire purified us, allowing for new growth to occur in us. The fire hurts as it is happening, and in the midst of it, it is often hard for us to see how we will ever recover. But, as there is hope for this forest, there is hope for us. Do you know there is a particular tree that grows in Yellowstone — the Lodgepole Pine — that grows two types of pinecones, or seeds? One is the typical cone that falls, opens, and releases seeds. But, there is another cone dropped by that particular tree that is covered in thick sap. This pinecone also holds the seeds for regrowth of that tree, but the only thing that can get through that sap so the seeds can be released? Fire. That got me thinking. Maybe we are like the Lodgepole Pine. We have seeds that “fall off” of us regularly. Others see them, but perhaps not much ever comes of those seeds. But, when we go through the fire, we release seeds that cause rebirth, new growth around us. That is exciting! I can’t wait to see the regrowth in this section of Yellowstone next time I return. And, I continue to look forward to the new growth that comes from my times in God’s refining fire.
Okay, back to our travels. Remember a few posts back I told you we changed our itinerary a bit? Well, when he was working all that out, Vence found that there was an available route that included a beautiful drive through the Big Horn National Fores. So, we took that route. Some of the comments he found said that people had hardly seen wildlife in Yellowstone, but then experienced several sitings when they drove through Bighorn. We didn’t get our hopes up too high, but we certainly fell in the category of not seeing much wildlife in Yellowstone, so we were slightly hopeful. The scenery certainly was striking.
And, we were definitely driving up a mountain! We just kept going higher and higher and higher. We saw snow just a few feet away from us, we were up so high! And, then, as we were on our descent, we came around a bend, and I said, “What is that running through that field? Horses? Or, is it moose? It’s moose! IT’S MOOSE!” Vence just started snapping pictures! You have to understand something. I have wanted to see a moose for years. Back when I worked in the School of Education at Anderson University I was introduced to the book, Have You Ever Seen a Moose Taking a Bath?, which was written when the author saw a moose taking a bath in a stream in Yellowstone. I fell in love with the book, and with the idea of seeing moose someday. So, when I saw 6 moose running through this field, I was ecstatic.
As we pulled away, Minnie Mouse yelled out “Pronghorn!” as she saw one off to the side of the road. This was the first wildlife sighting where she actually saw it first, so she was pretty excited. Then, we saw a few people pulled off in an overlook near a field, and as we approached I yelled again, “Moose!” This time, we pulled off and there she was — a beautiful cow (I’m guessing this because she had no antlers) grazing in the field. We watched her for several minutes, and then she raised her head and looked right at me (don’t ruin this for me, I know she was looking at me), as if to say, “I’ve been waiting!” And then, she turned and ran off into the woods!
I was giddy with excitement. Minnie Mouse was embarrassed, even though there was no one there to see me.
Eventually we got all the way down, and we drove to this little lakeside campground for the night. We got Harriet settled in, then headed down to the lake for a bit.
The sunset was beautiful here too!
Well, such an exciting day! I will see you at the next stop!