This year we made a trip we've been wanting to make for a few years. Yellowstone National Park. First of all, because our kids hadn't seen it yet. The other is because it's a sort of John Colter Mecca journey for me. John Colter was the first European to explore the Yellowstone area. He spent a lot of time alone in that area in search of good trapping streams. He was not alone. There were many others like him, but his finds and his stories of endurance, physical strength and cunning made him a part of history and the subject of many campfire stories. The grand nature of his expeditions were so extraordinary, it becomes difficult to determine truth from overactive imagination. Although few believed his stories of a land where the water boils and sprays in the air, it's still there. And it's an amazing place.
Living in Washington can sort of spoil a person. It's so rich with pristine old growth rainforest that you start to not notice it any more. It's hard to maintain that sense of awe that nature can provide when you are surrounded by it daily. A trip to Yellowstone will quickly shake you out of any nature indifference you may be experiencing. Between the beautiful winding rivers, the roaming herds of Bison and the boiling mud pots, it all starts to feel like a trip to another place in time. If not another planet. It is easy to find yourself wondering what it would have been like to be John Colter, wandering down into this giant caldera for the first time. It's easy to feel the amazement he must have felt in seeing Old Faithful for the first time. Or finding a massive thundering waterfall carving out a vast yellow canyon. It's the kind of place that makes you feel a new respect for the planet we live on.
If you have not been to Yellowstone, please go. It will give you a chance to see nature through new eyes. And remember John Colter while you are there.