Friday, August 27, 2010

Mill Creek Adventure Begins

I can feel summer’s end approaching.  The changes are subtle if you don’t really watch but it can be seen and the signs are everywhere.  The light is just a bit different.  The shades of color in the sun sets in particular has that peach hue that you don’t see in the early weeks of summer I guess I don’t mind that the season is progressing but it just seems that it’s been an odd season that hardly got here before it’s end can be seen already I also realize that fall will be strange with us being in Africa for the first and most pleasant part of it.  I’m not sad but we all know that with age time seems to go by faster.  I can feel the current of life picking up and I find it a bit disorienting.  Sometimes I feel a bit like a cotton ball cloud in the middle of a vast storm that is far beyond my control My thoughts have grown more and more troubled as our trip to Africa approaches like a freight train.  My sleep was disturbed often as we settled into our mountain cabin on Mill Creek.  The usual bleeding away of stress didn’t come easily though I loved every moment of our time away.  We were on the run a lot to go from place to place and then come back to our cabin get away.  Many beautiful things we saw and experienced together but underneath it my thoughts are ever drawn to the future.

We were greeted by a delightful peak near our cabin that seemed to change with the shades of the day as it passed lazily by Our days were not lazy for the most part because Yellowstone was within 30 miles of our cabin.  We went time and again through the Roosevelt Arch which a relative on my dad’s side helped build.  Our first trip in took us to Mammoth where the elk look about as bored as can be with the mass of tourists that pass by all day long Signs everywhere warn not to approach them…most of us know better but people come from all over the world so I guess it doesn’t hurt to state the obvious…hope they can read English.  We didn’t see any bulls there at the moment but I’m sure the mother could do plenty to protect her calf There are many dangers in Yellowstone to be sure…anything from animals to various geysers and hot springs.  This area has thermal formations both old and new to see .  Areas that have been dormant can spring to life again and most dangerous of all is that you may not see it or know it’s happening until you decide to go off trail and fall through the thin crust to be boiled alive This particular mound has been dormant for some time but it none the less spectacular …it’s like a giant thumbs up!  It is called Liberty Cap and has been delighting visitors for many years now .  The minerals in the hot water coat anything that it runs over which makes for many interesting patterns and colors The heat from this portion of the area was obvious however it’s not always so obvious and I don’t know how many I see putting their hand in the water to see just how hot it is.  I was glad I drilled my kids in how to behave here.  Especially Gabby who did very well.  Sticking to the trail still provides some glorious sights to see Some of the terraces were dead and white and seemed to be hopeless of having anything happen again any time soon but this is a deceptive calm which belies the activity underneath.  This jutting rock is known as the Devil’s Thumb Who would guess that such strange things exist in the world and are naturally occurring?  Here is a good example of how thin the earth is in some spots around hereSink holes are everywhere to be seen.  Some spew hot gasses while other seem to have grown quiet and have allowed some growth of wild flowers inside.  I liked the formations whether they were active or not They have done an excellent job constructing the walkways that extend far and wide in this area Notice the stark contrast between the terrace area and the surrounding hills and mountainsSome have described this area as a cave turned inside out…these look just like stalactites so I can see why the description is so fitting This area is indeed a place of shocking contrasts The panorama of the surrounding mountains can be almost dizzying at some points but all too quickly I’m drawn back to those things that ground me and give me a taste of heaven on earth I think she may have noticed Lovely and I taking her picture what do you think ?  Yes, the little Miss took time out of her busy schedule to pose a little .  Ever had a boulder give you a toothy grin?  Well, I certainly have Still in the middle of all the heat and deadly thin earth areas life springs eternal This tenacity reminds me of how fragile yet unrelentingly powerful life can be…I see this power in my children and know it could only come from God Walking on we had an overlook of Canary Springs though it’s very hot and dangerous I find the haunting blue draws my eye It’s a deadly beauty that must be treated with respect.  Golden wrinkles in the hot water seem to testify of the age of this place but it also speaks of the endless process of renewal.  It could all be different a few years from now depending on what the hot water does and where it goes.  I think that I could never have anything but love for Yellowstone no matter where in the park I am Heat rising from this area about took my breath away…it smelled strongly of rotten eggs and burned rubber Sometimes it can almost look as though nature is poisoning itself here but it’s a process that’s so much bigger than us and has to be understood in the huge scope of God’s creation…which I really love.  Anything that falls in this water dies yet in a strange way it becomes immortalized to all who pass by and witness it Everything from insects to twigs or flowers that fall here are covered with a layer of minerals that grows over the course of time.  We actually saw bumble bees that had gotten in the water and were being slowly embalmed.  Some trees were thriving while others were dying in the hot water but it all spoke of a big picture.  This area spoke to me deep down inside…I can’t understand it all yet because it’s still speaking to me but one thing is for sure:  I will listen to what God is whispering in my ear Though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil for He is with us.  I know life is filled with cycles and circles.  Good things and difficult things come to us all but what are we living our lives for here and now?  Do we abandoned our faith when life seems unfair.  Or do we stand like these trees who even in deadly circumstance refuse to fall ?  Things that happen to us can scar us but like the scars Christ bore for us they can have purpose and even a beauty all their own as it gives us a great desire for God and a willingness to have compassion for our fellow man Leaving Mammoth left me with a sense of purpose somehow and I intend to hold onto that sense and bring it with me wherever I go.


  1. These pictures are each one more than first rate. They are fabulous. They show me something I will likely never see on my own.

    I sincerely feel these are better than a book I might buy explaining the area with illustrative photos. Yours are detailed and plenty of them.

    I enjoyed each one and savored looking at each slowly so as to get all the detail.

    Thank you for these Joe and taking the time to put them in..and by the way..Peace. Be still. It will be well with you.

  2. Hi Joe, I have never seen Yellowstone and what a fabulous place that is! I would test the water! and probably taste it too! I thought that it was snow...than is minerals right? I love how God's words are introduced Joe, and I wonder WHY God put that there! When I get to heaven I will have ALOT of questions =]. I have also been praying about your trip to Africa.....God be with you Joe and Lovely and children and your Mother...Thanks Joe for stopping by my blog =]. Encouragement with words******* Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

    ~ Hebrews 10:24, NLT

  3. Wonderful photos and narrative Joe. Made us feel like we were on the trip with your family.

  4. wow Joe, you have truly taken my breath away with this one, thank you for sharing, the pictures are well "out of this world", but then again they are in it and I have learnt so much. what an adventure, you are a brave family, the little girl, looks so happy - could relate to some of your words at the start of this blog. will be back to visit this again. So pleased to have you as a friend and brother in Our lord, on here and wish you god speed on your journeys - take care, god bless you and your family - nita.

  5. Joe I think it normal to have some thoughts about your travels coming up. I have had them for you all as well.
    But wonderful photos of your travels . I love each and every photo. You really had an amzaing time . Nice to view what you see and read what you experience .
    Have a wonderful day.
    Wonderful Photography Joe. You just keep getting better and better.

  6. When do you leave for Af. and how long will you all be gone.

  7. Incredible! I've never been to Yellowstone, just around the north edge, but I'd love to see it sometime in my life. Looked amazing and makes you aware of how powerful mother nature is. We have giesers here in N. CA, and lots of hot springs, but nothing to compare with that! Thanks for sharing your trip in such a beautiful way. So, when DO you leave for AF?

  8. Your photos are BEAUTIFUL and express your thought of an individually that I likes very much,as Ramblingon said I will likely never see on my own,because I don't enjoy travel a long hours on Air anymore.
    You said the age time seems to go by faster I do offten time a bit like a cotton ball cloud etc away from others...
    Lovely to seen Gabby's enjoyed herself:-)

    The Hot spring? Not where I thinking of Japanese hot springs lol!
    The Devil's Thumb: If you looks close,in the middle it looks like a two human faces...
    my imgination :-)
    Have a great weekend,

  9. Loved your blog Joe. You have taken me on so many virtual trips, and adventures. I have never seen anything like this. Great photogaphy and very interesting to here your commentary. It just wouldn't seem right for you to do a update and not have at least one photo of that seet little girl of yours. What a sweetheart she is.
    Well you are right about the time flying by and it wont be long until you enter you new adventures in Africa. Thoughts and prayers of many are going out now, before and after your arrival to Africa and the Lord is already there, ahead of you.
    Blessing Joe
    Dianne :)

  10. you have done a fantastic job Joe.. explaining all the photos.. what is there, and just how dangerous yet so beautiful it is.. as I was reading your words.. I couldn/t help but think.. this is the place where God has put you in order for you to learn and become more prepared for this trip to Africa. its going to ruff Joe.. you know that.. but you also know that God will clear the paths that lay ahead of you.. and all will be well..
    you have made me miss Yellowstone much more than I already have.
    your photography is outstanding..
    Joe.. its time to really pray.. get your mind at ease before the trip.
    not to sure why I am saying this.. but I am.
    keeping you in prayer
    soft hugs Hope

  11. I am always awed buy your gorgeous pictures and wonderful discriptions. I know I will never see such sites and visiting through your eyes is a special treat for sure.

  12. Thank you for taking me with you on this virtual journey. You never cease to amaze me with your descriptions and moving insight of what and how you see things. I have also had troubling thoughts of your Africa journey. But I remind myself you are very cautious and prepared and armed with faith and something extra I cannot put a word to. So you now are experiencing how life seems to speed up and time slips away quicker. I love following your journey through life Joe. You have a gift and it is getting honed right before my eyes monitor. You are experiencing responsibility and all it encounters on such a venture. Be well my friend and again thank you for showing me the wonders of nature and of the heart. God's speed.

  13. Great pictures...

    I feel you pain about the swiftness of time as age passes. I remember all the times my parents encourage me to enjoy life, that it really goes VERY is something that you just don't get until you get older. I remember going back to Romania for the first time after having lived there for a year. My return was only 6 years later, but SO much had changed. The economy, the stores, the travel, the industry...BUT there were many things that had not...the heart of the people, the heart of the culture, the poverty, the needs...and the need for more of Jesus. In that sense it was a familiar place. It felt strange because I was experiencing the place, but also helping lead a team back in and so I had less time for reminiscing and sorting through all the emotions of coming back, but the trip was beautiful and I was so blessed to be a part of it. I quickly found my love for that nation again.

    It would be both strange and exciting to visit now - after 16 years...all that to say...>I am excited for you all. I know this is a long held wish and dream - especially for you. God is good that he takes us back to sow more seed in ground we tilled years before.

  14. Great lessons and great pictures...I have never made it to Yellowstone, yet....maybe someday! I had many thoughts myself on my little get away...trying to sort them out!!!
    Praying for your upcoming trip...
    grace to you

  15. What a wonderful blog. Just love all your photos and especially your thoughts with the photos. The contrast in all the formations is soo beautiful. Yes the photos were talking to you. You have found so many insights here and deep thoughts. Like the bubbling liquid it's good to get these feelings out. You have the strenght and confiction to carry your dreams through With God at your side may he protect you and your family in all your journeys in life. Hugs Carrie