Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Picnic In The Sun

A little over a week ago I saw a picture in the paper of a moose seen in the Shoshone National Forest not far from the gate to Yellowstone Park.
I knew that there were moose in the Big Horn Mountains but did not realize until seeing the picture that we had moose close to Cody.
On a beautiful and very warm late afternoon we drove out to Shoshone National Forest for a picnic, driving to the same area where the moose had been spotted.
It was a long shot but you never know - there was certainly a chance of a sighting.
As usual Jamie seems to know when we are heading somewhere and there is a possibility that she will have an opportunity for adventure.
She followed me from room to room as I gathered up food and water and phones and cameras and shoes, looking at me with expectant eyes and barely concealed excitement.
I don't know how she knows but she always knows.
There are many picnic areas and campground areas along the national forest route, and we stopped at one beside the river that we had not visited before.
A quiet and so very beautiful day.
Beside the Shoshone River that is finally beginning to lower after months of swollen and fast moving water resulting from mountain snow melt-off.
In Cody things are already beginning to turn brown.
That is not the case in the forest.
The meadows are still filled wildflowers that are different from the flowers that filled the meadows a month ago.
Everything remains green and lush and full of life.
We did not see a moose on that day, but we picnicked and wandered along the creek and built our names with rocks in the sand along the rivers' edge and explored.
On a beautiful day we had a beautiful time................
A small creek that feeds into the rapids of the still high Shoshone...........
For a long while (while the melt-off from the record snowfall was occurring) the river water was brown and muddy looking.
It is clearer now.  Very cold and very clear...............
I have not seen LC skip rocks since he skipped rocks at Lena Beach in Juneau.
He was angry then and I watched him in Juneau knowing that he was angry.
Life is better now.
But he still hasn't lost his touch.............
Exploring multiple small streams that fed into the river, and all the while watchful for grizzlies that wander the area.............
We stayed at the quiet picnic area for a long time, wandering and talking and enjoying the late afternoon.
When we finally left we had planned on returning directly to Cody.
Instead, on the spur of the moment we pulled into the Wayfarers Chapel on the way home.
I love this place and was excited to see it again.
This was our second visit to this surprising and beautiful outdoor chapel.
A link to our first visit:
We visited the first time after realizing that the East Gate to the park was still closed (even in early May) due to washouts, rock slides and avalanches through Sylvan Pass.
It was an extraordinary visit.
We had expected to find a small rustic building that passed for a church.
Instead we found a chapel touched by nature.
And I had an extraordinary encounter with a cautious but friendly and very curious female elk.
The area surrounding the chapel was still touched by winter at that time.
On this visit we were touched by Summer.
A gorgeous, isolated, green landscape in which to commune with.........God.........or nature.........or each other.
A place completely kind and good and separate from the rest of the world.
A special place.
Looking down from the gravel parking area, with views of the Yellowstone highway, the Shoshone River and the mountain ranges that lead to Cody..............
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life........John Muir

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