Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Raining Here Tonight...

I have been confronted before with the fact that we often don't appreciate things until we're made to do without them.  A prime example that comes to mind is going for a year with our kitchen sink on the opposite side of the house from our kitchen!

Tonight, though, I'm thinking about rain.  There was a glorious thunderstorm going on out there earlier, and we were all running out to watch the darkening clouds blowing in, smell the coming rain, watch the lightning, and listen to the thunder.  It has been so long since we had a storm like this!

I love thunderstorms.  In the midst of our drought, the moisture that it is providing is particularly welcome, but I love thunderstorms even when we are not in great need of rain.  To me, there are very few phenomena in nature that display God's power like a thunderstorm does.  The active power displayed in the intense brilliance of a lightning strike and the tremendous blast of thunder that follows is like nothing else. 

I am glad that the power is still on!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trip Pictures: Last Tidbits

So... there are a few last things that I just have to share. 

This sign was on a convenience store in the Black Hills area.  The part that caught my attention was that your minnow may be drug tested for steriods!  Some people must take their minnow races very seriously.


This van was along the road to Devil's Tower.  The picture came out blurry, but the list on the right is of South and Central American countries, and the license plate is from Switzerland!  We can only assume that someone from Switzerland is doing a driving tour of the Americas.


We have no idea what the identity or purpose of this structure is, but it certainly looks extraordinary!


And, finally, this is Gladys the Goose, touring Yellowstone and appearing to enjoy it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trip Pictures: Sunsets and Wildflowers

We were able to see several beautiful sunsets on our trip.  There's nothing quite like the way the colors come into the sky, glow, change color, and finally fade as the sun leaves the sky. 

In Nebraska.


In the Badlands.


Over Mount Rushmore.

From our campsite in Yellowstone.


We also enjoyed seeing a wide variety of wildflowers-- beauty on a much smaller scale than much of what we saw.

Thistle in the Black Hills.

Above the tree line along a mountain pass in Northern Wyoming.


Yellowstone.

This cheerful fellow was blooming in our campsite the whole time we were at Yellowstone.


Growing out over a stream.




Saturday, August 20, 2011

Trip Pictures: Mountains and Waterfalls

This was a good year to visit the Yellowstone area because of the greater-than-usual snowfall last winter.  This meant both that the mountains still had more snow than usual for this time of year and that the rivers and waterfalls were fuller.  We saw an incredible amount of breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

A mountain pass in Northern Wyoming... note Seth in the foreground.


Another view from the same point.

Yellowstone Lake.

The view from our campsite in Yellowstone.

Eating breakfast in the chill of early morning mountain air.

Doing the same thing 13 years ago!


The reflection here was amazingly crisp.


Note the yellow wash of wildflowers.

Snow!

The Lower Yellowstone Falls.  The roar of thousands upon thousands of gallons flowing over the precipice... the green waves, swelling with latent power before disintegrating into thundering foam and floating mist...it was spectacular.

The Lower Falls, seen from farther downstream.

Rainbows in the mist of the Upper Falls.

Looking into the Yellowstone canyon.

Mama and Papa, with the Lower Falls in the background.

The Hayden Valley, in Yellowstone.

One of the many smaller falls we saw.

Ice Lake... a genuine picturesque mountain lake!

On our way to Ice Lake, we saw a lot of the deadfall from the 1988 fire in Yellowstone.  It was interesting to see the combination of fallen dead trees, old trunks still standing, and young trees.


This fallen tree had rings dated for the War for Independence and the founding of Yellowstone National Park.

The Upper Falls.

The river, upstream of the Upper Falls.

Lewis Falls.

Moose Falls-- we didn't see any moose, unfortunately.  Mama particularly liked the waterfalls.

Flora growing in the damp environment created by the waterfall mist.

The Grand Tetons.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Trip Pictures: Wildlife

We really enjoyed seeing all the wildlife on our trip.  It was so neat not only to see these animals, but to see them in their natural environment.  Once again, God's creative hand is displayed in the variety of what He has created.

Deer in the Badlands.


A small toad, near the Badlands.


Wild goats in the Badlands area.


Prairie dogs.


A bison in the Black Hills.


Pronghorn.

Wild burros.

This burro never moved-- we had to drive around him!


This picture only shows about a third of this bison herd in the Black Hills.  By the time we got to Yellowstone, we had already seen so many bison that we hardly bothered to look when there were only half a dozen!


Mosquitoes at our camp site in Yellowstone were terrible.  The result was all-out war.


Casualties.


A bison next to a hot spring in Yellowstone.


A marmot.


Elk.

An American Dipper...


... the only North American songbird that swims.


Bear!


This is the side of one of the public restrooms in Yellowstone.  It was a bit of a shock to look around the corner and see this hulking beast right there!


Elk.


Deer.


Probably a mother wolf with her pup, but they might have been coyotes.


Pelican.


Off he goes...


Chipmunk.


Elk.


Geese.