I learned magnificent lessons the first time I crossed the Mississippi River heading west. I saw the wagon wheel ruts of the Oregon Trail, the rolling plains filled with corn and milo, stood in the fort where Custer and his troops were last seen before Little Big Horn.
Then I saw on the great horizon a figure that reminded me of thunderstorms over Indiana farm fields. But the figure reached as far as my eyes could see north and south. That’s not a thunderstorm; those are mountains.
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As my truck moves closer toward the mountain range the more purple and majestic the range becomes. I am glad I am the only vehicle around for a mile because driving and looking are not mixing well.
Entering the Rocky Mountain National Park is awe-striking. Words are made up here to try to express the experience. Thousands of feet of granite rock tower above you and guard rails line the passage road to keep you from being a statistic. If you happen to become one, you will drop hundreds of feet down jagged ledges. Yet my being is at total peace like a deep ancestral memory of coming home.
It takes a while to actually get to the interior of the park and find the campsite. The truck is supplied with all the camping necessities and more, including my 35mm camera and 10 rolls of film and of course a human friend and a canine companion.
My companions are elated at my reaction to the park; they have been here before. Huge boulders lay everywhere and oh my, did we get lucky--our campsite is across from Pike’s Peak. The pines are poignant, since it has recently rained. I must walk down and sit on a boulder in front of the mountain; it leads to the moraine below. Pike’s Peak is overwhelming and all I can do is sit with awestruck wonder.
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Nature is full of surprises--arch enemies have concern for one another and mountains tremble fearfully.
How connected are we?