Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is everything I expected it to be.

It's massive. Over 2 million acres. We drove all day long and didn't even make a dent in seeing everything.

It's as off the grid as anyplace I have ever been, with cell service so spotty it wasn't even worth it to try and use the phone. In fact, we saw an actual pay phone at one rest stop. I guess the park operators figure if someone gets mauled by a bear or falls off a cliff, someone needs to have SOME way to let the authorities know. It was definitely a strange experience, coming out of the park and having all our phones begin to blow up with texts and calls and notifications we had missed.

 Old Faithful was...well...faithful. We were able to get a great seat and only waited about 30 minutes before the most famous geyser in the world did her thing. Steam and occasional bubbling water kept us in suspense while we waited. Well, some of us. Ashely was less enthused. "It better get more interesting than this. We better not have come all this way to see a hole smoking." It did get more interesting. I'm not sure I'll ever NOT be totally in awe at the way boiling water just spews out of a hole in the earth, for several moments, all of the time. 

The animal activity was the coolest thing. It was like being INSIDE a zoo exhibit. Bison roam freely, sometimes solo and other times in massive herds. The first time we saw one, we climbed from our car to take pictures along with everyone else. A man nearby, holding his 5-ish-year-old daughter, responded to her repeated "What is it, Daddy?" question with the epically misinformed "Its a buffalo," response. Before I could even help myself, I went full teacher/defender of the identity of the animal kingdom. "It's actually a bison. Isn't he cool?" 

I have since looked up why it is that the bison are so often referred to as buffalo, and the original reason makes sense. The settlers were reminded of the herds of buffalo they had seen in their homelands, and so referred to the bison as buffalo early on. By the time the distinction was made...it was too late. We literally ate bison burgers at a restaurant called "Buffalo Bar." I am totally offended by this entire, perpetuated mistake, on behalf of all bison, and buffalo for that matter. 

**Side-bar: how often is this true in a spiritual sense? Someone says or does or believes something that isn't actually TRUE to the Word or character of God, and repeats it or allows it to be repeated often enough that it becomes widely accepted as okay, and culturally appropriate, and probably just an interchangeable term anyway. I can think of so many things, SO MANY, in Christian circles, that are flat out NOT accurate or in line with who we are called to be as believers and witnesses of Jesus, but we just go ahead and allow them because its been said or done or accepted long enough that we don't want to look like the crazy person for calling out the WRONG.

***Side-bar 2.0: I am not sorry I corrected that random stranger. I'm just doing my part to protect the truth. :)

Back to the animals: We witnessed a good old fashioned elk testosterone match. Complete with a locking of antlers, and aggressive elk shouting (otherwise known as bugling) as one giant male defended his family of females from a potential imposter. It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my life.

We are leaving Yellowstone today, and driving south to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for our final two days of my #birthdayadventure. We are footsore, but we are enjoying every moment of taking in God's creation. 

I'm sure, before it's over, I'll have a few more opportunities to defend the actual facts about something.

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