Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Barbara Schmeisser--Guest Post

Ever Feel a Mountain TREMBLE or hear a Bull Elk’s bugle answered by a pack of Wolves?

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.

© Cantondog | Stock Free Images

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.

© Alandyck | Stock Free Images
Then I remember, I told a friend just diagnosed with cancer that I would send up a prayer for him when I got near the mountain. While I am praying in this surreal place I notice more clouds moving in time to set up camp.

At a frantic pace, our accommodations are set and the storm puts on its show. Inside the tent the fabric flaps deafeningly then a flash with an immediate crash of thunder. Wow, did you feel that, the mountain trembled beneath our hindquarters.

The storm clears off to the east and the air becomes still, eerily silent. Then we hear a Bull Elk bugle from the western moraine and in response the howling of a wolf pack like neighbors checking on one another. They continue to communicate for some time, moving closer together and then falling silent. Everyone is safe.

Nature is full of surprises--arch enemies have concern for one another and mountains tremble fearfully.

How connected are we?

Barbara Schmeisser


  1. Great story, Barbara! I'm sure that's an experience that will stick with you all your life. I've never traveled out there, but I'd love to!

  2. I love the Rockies. You have described it so well.