A Couple Days Later

Wednesday, May 4 1251MDT
About 50 miles west of Casper, WY

We’re stopped on the road somewhere west of Casper, Wyoming at this moment. We’re passing through some road construction, and the highway is down to only one lane of traffic. We’re on our way to Rapid City, a day earlier than originally planned—but I’ll get to that in a second. Justin took the wheel from camp in the Grand Tetons, and has been driving for about 200 miles now. About an hour ago, he got pulled over and got out first speeding ticket of the trip, and I pray our only one. It was more a luck of the draw thing… I’ve been going 80 down pretty much all of the highways in Wyoming, and he was doing the same, he just happened to drive by a cop while he was doing it. Honestly, it’s very hard not to go that fast, it’s so wide open out here.

Yesterday we woke up around 8:30, got ready for the day, and then went out on our second hike of the trip. Most of the trails in Grand Teton N.P. were completely snowed over, so we took one of about four different choices we had. It was about a 4.5 mile hike around Taggart Lake, with about 500’ of elevation change altogether. The hike was gorgeous—the first half looking out over the Teton mountains, and the second half was completely different scenery than the first half. About 2 miles in, we watched the rain come over the mountains and dump on us, but it only lasted a few minutes, and then the sun came back out. When we finished that hike, we drove to another trailhead, but stopped shortly into our hike, because of the weather. Combs and I had a fairly bad feeling about what was coming over the mountains, and considering our lack of appropriate gear, I believe we made a good decision in stopping.

After a night of hamburgers and poker, we got ready to go to bed, only to find that half our tent was soaked with water. Eventually we decided to sleep three really close together, and then I slept at their feet, where the tent was still dry. It rained, sleeted, and snowed all night long, and we woke up to a light dusting of snow, and a lot of wet ground. The weather was apparently unpredictable today, with the weather radio giving us options all the way from high 50s and thunderstorms to 30s and snowstorms. So we packed up camp, gave Nate Lail a call, and are now on our way to the Black Hills, where we’ll camp tonight and hike tomorrow. There are a couple of different options we have for hiking, although I’m particularly fond of climbing up to the top of Harney Peak, which is where we climbed last year when I went with a different group of people hiking through the Black Hills. Harney is the tallest point between the Rockies and the Pyrenees Mountains, and the view from there is breathtaking. It’s also an incredible hike.

For all of you who were on the trip last year, I just saw our first Wall Drug sign—some 400 miles west of Wall, SD. Amazing.

I talked to Stephanie for a little while yesterday, and she got her new car, which is awesome. I’m really excited for her, although it might be a long time before I ever get to see it. It only had 13 miles on it when she got it. Incredible. For the curious, she got a yellow 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I’ve never been in a cobalt before, so I’m not exactly sure how big they are inside, but they look cool enough from the outside. She leaves for Virginia this weekend, and she’ll be gone all summer working there and enjoying some time back at where she considers home. I know Lindsay really wants her to come to the wedding next Friday (the one I’m flying back from Phoenix to be at). And of course, I would love to see her there, as well…but it’s a long trip, and it’s only a week after she goes the first time, so I don’t really expect her to be there. Oh well.

The landscape out here is gorgeous, especially Wyoming. There’s such a wide variety of landscapes. At times during the drive today, the left side of the car would be red rock faces, like you expect to see in the southwest, and on the other side would be huge alpine forest covering mountainsides. We drove through canyons, hiked on mountains, drove by winding streams in grassy fields, and now are driving through a flat, arid basin with mountains to the south and all sorts of random rock faces and what not. We truly have seen some incredibly beautiful parts of the country in the past couple of days. Estes Park was gorgeous, Grand Teton N.P. was astounding…there just isn’t words to describe all the beautiful things we’ve seen the last few days, and I know there are more ahead of us as we make our way to Rapid City.

You just can’t help but be amazed by God’s creation when you go on a trip like this. We spread out during our hike yesterday, and each of us took the trail on our own pace, which gave us all some good, quality private time. I took care of some business with God, and also spent a large part of that quiet time just looking and listening for him—in the beautiful mountains, and the song of his creatures, and in the sound of the rain coming and the gleam of the sun breaking through clouds. His creation is so amazing, and is always praising him, and it is incredible. I so much enjoyed just talking with him and being in his presence during that hike! Our God truly is an incredible God. I only hope I live in a way that is honoring and worshiping to him.

I have some great pics to show you when I get home.