We got to Oregon without incident and had a great reunion with family. My brother and his wife were here from the Philippines and even Lu will be here tonight fresh from Virunga in the Congo, so the whole family will be together. Should be great fun!
Cher and I went off to our MAF headquarters in Idaho to get medicals and psych tests to see if we are crazy from years in Africa. They are letting us go back anyway! We saw many of our great friends from all over the world there and it was a pleasure indeed.I have always wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and we were about as close as we have ever been so we decided to go. It was the first National Park ever and is truly a spectacular place. There is great wildlife but also amazing scenery and with all the volcanic activity it is a breathtaking place to go. We stayed the first night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with its cowboy bars and huge arches of elk antlers and then drove up through the Grand Tetons the next morning with snow covering the mountains and clouds partially covering the peaks, but it was still spectacular. We saw a female moose and upon closer inspection found it had a new baby, which delighted us both and which we watched for a while. Driving in falling snow with high drifts piled up beside the road was a wonderful treat after years in Africa. I am notorious for not making reservations and just “making a plan” when we get there. I got up early in the morning to watch Old Faithful go off and I was one of 4 people there. That was great for me and one of the best things about staying there overnight. Because of its’ international tourist status, there are more people than I am every used to seeing in wildlife/outdoor areas and it took me a bit of time to accept that. Being out early before the crowds and walking among geysers and boiling cauldrons of sulfuric water or mud was remarkable. Walking back by wildlife didn’t hurt the atmosphere either. The next morning we were driving in along snow capped mountains along the …..river when a traffic jam formed. We had just read in our devotions about being prepared for the delays in life where God has opportunities to get our attention but I was still my impatient self. As we got up to the “problem” we saw it was a herd of buffalo moseying down the center of the road. As it was our turn to go by them we were so close that Cher said, “I am going to touch them” but there were so many people around she didn’t. It would not have been a stretch! We drove on and pulled off at the next turnout, thanking God for the lovely encounter. We got out to see a lone bison bull in the center of the vlei in a beautiful setting. I walked over the edge to soak in the scene and found fresh bear tracks. Following them backwards for a bit I also found a nice mountain lion spoor. Now it was feeling more like my African style of game experience! As I followed back on the bear spoor I looked up and there was a fairly new kill of a 2 year old bison. Maybe a couple of days. Still no maggots or vulture around and not too smelly. Of course it was cool out. I walked back toward Cher and told her what I had found but noticed that the bison from the traffic jam were coming down the road to our position. It was a great picture with all the cars so I went up to the road and got in a place where I would be able to get the buffalo and the cars together and waited. I got behind a little 10 inch diameter pine tree thinking I could climb it if things got crazy. As they came closer they turned into the turnout and right toward me, passing not a foot from where I stood. The group split and some came around the other side of the tree as well and I was literally right in the herd in touching distance on all sides. It was wonderful. Quite an adrenaline rush. They walked past and right on to where Cher was standing in the doorway of the car. It was a great experience and we were very happy for the delay God had sent our way to get our attention. The mix of sunshine and snow was wonderful and we were amazed at the largeness of the landscape. I kept commenting to Cher that we were born a couple hundred years too late. Wouldn’t it have been amazing to ride in here on a horse! We have enjoyed the gracious hosting of many wonderful friends during the past month and thank each of you all for that. It continually amazes me the long reaching effect generosity has. It is a contagious thing. I guess greed is as well. I guess we have a choice as to which way we want to go with our time and our stuff. In our experience we have always been on the receiving end with life long friends we have made and the interesting encounters we have had from guests sent our way. Come to think of it, many of these people who we are so blessed by now have been a part of our home at some time or another. It is a great way for friendship to start.