Sunday, June 8, 2008

Great Falls, Montana

Good Saturday morning from the Big Sky Country.

As most of the country swelters in record breaking temperatures, we have been snowed upon for three of the four days we have been traveling. I must live a charmed life. ;-)

I have only a few minutes this morning. We have to get rolling to make Calgary by any decent hour.

Because this update is so rushed I will save the major thoughts about our experiences so far for another post once I get to Yellowknife. There is just way too much to tell and no time to do it.

For this morning, I just want to get across one point.

Yesterday we stopped at Old Faithful. There were a few hundred people standing around the barrier that keeps the stupid and the brave away from the thermal vent. The appointed time came, the geyser did what geysers do. I stood and watched the hot water and steam mixing with the snow fall and the fog and listening. I was not listening to the geyser. I was listening to the people.

The number one remark I heard was, "Is that it?". Even Tyler remarked that he was disappointed.

We had just witnessed a truly remarkable thing. This geyser spouts it's contents about 70 ft. into the air at semi-regular intervals. It has been doing this for as long as anyone can know. This is an awesome thing. The mechanism at work builds pressure in an antechamber until some block, plug, or something can no longer contain it. When that critical pressure is reached, Old Faithful vents for about 5 minutes. That in itself is enough of a mystery to fuel my sense of wonder.

Because so many people hear so much about the geyser, they expect more. They want, to quote Marvin the Martian, an "Earth shattering kaboom". When you come to Yellowstone please do not let your preconceived notions, formed by media hype and well meaning mentors, cloud your perception of beauty. Take it for what it is: marvelous, mysterious, and wonderful. It is not, and never has been, a towering display of power.

Stay tuned. More to come...


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