Thursday, July 31, 2008

Glacier National Park—July 30-31

We spent the last two days in Glacier national Park right on the border with Canada. It is still called “Glacier” though we’ll need a new name in the future since the 150 glaciers (1850) shrunk to 50 (1968). Today there are only 26 and they are melting fast. I think perhaps we might rename it for President George Bush—for his quick recognition of global warming and his defeat with his keen mind all those who deny there is any such thing happening.

The “Going to the sun” road (West side) is certainly one of the three finest roads I’ve ever driven. Impressive, even though the glaciers themselves are more like large snow patches. Seeing two bighorn sheep and a Mountain goat was this morning’s highlight though our hike across the snowfields back to Hidden Lake perched on the top of the divide was a close second.

On recommendation of Ross & Karen Hoffman we also drove up the other road in the park, the “many Glacier” road which also was beautiful. After several nights in our tent we are camping tonight at the Quality Inn at Helena Montana… we are sorta’ headed south down the Continental Divide for the time being… don’t know where we’ll end up.

Keith Drury

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bozeman Break —July 28-29

Montana is smoky from several local forest fires and also from the clockwise rotating of California’s smoke into Montana. As we were passing through Bozeman MT on our way north we were totally captivated by this University town and decided to stay a few nights as a "vacation fom our vacation."

I guessed the town had a population of maybe 125,000-150,000 to which Sharon (who likes to look such things up) announced it was about the size of our hometown Marion. These Western towns look so much bigger than they really are. Bozeman is booming.

Thus I spent my birthday preparing for one of my fall classes until dinner which we ate in the local park. There we discovered Bozeman was not booming for everyone—we ate beside three homeless folk who had lost their jobs and were down on their luck complaining that “the government” did not provide them with jobs. One was quick to say, however, that he was against Obama, “who is a Muslim and those ragheads will be dancing in the streets if we elect a Muslim President.”

The night before we had totally wasted our money watching “Hancock.” However perhaps some sort of age things was goign on since the theater was full of pimply-faced yuk-yukking teen boys who obviously thought the movie deserved at least an oscar. We chose not to bet any more money on movies tonight instead watching the history channel for our evening entertainment.

Today we continue heading north toward Glacier National Park but we don’t have to get there, or anywhere else, for several weeks yet, so we’re just moseying along as if we are on vacation.

keith drury

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yellowstone - July 26-27

We’re mountain-lovers and Yellowtone has some mountains, but mostly it has wildlife and steaming natural features like geysers, boiling mud pools and steaming holes and boiling springs. We wandered the park from dawn to dark the last several days including two visits to ‘Old Faithful,’ ’hiking the length of the ‘Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, circumnavigating Yellowstone Lake, reading the constant spin from the park service on how good the 1988 fires were, but mostly seeing wildlife: bear, moose, elk, deer, coyotes, wolves and buffalo and several kinds of rare birds. Yellowstone is not a zoo, but it almost seems like one of those drive-through safari parks…wild animals were everywhere!

The highlight of Yellowstone for me though was not the wildlife but the church life. We attended 8AM Sunday morning service at the Old Faithful Inn where Jarod Osborne is serving as the summer chaplain. We had a wonderful service and Jarod preached a great sermon to the gathered group. We got to visit with Jarod and his wife Esther after the service. Jarod was one of my students at IWU several years ago and he is now in Princeton seminary and this summer national parks chaplaincy is one of his two required internships.

Since we have finished the overnight backpacking stage of our vacation we did not do all of the 1,000 miles of trails in Yellowstone but we did exhaust every road in Yellowstone before biding it farewell and heading north to wherever this road takes us…

Traveling the Tetons July 25

I was here in the Tetons for a Curriculum Conference back in 1989 and I recall calling Sharon saying, “I promise to come back here with you some day.” Well, 19 years later here we are…promise kept. (as a side note, I now believe I have at this point now fulfilled every “I’ promise to come back here with you.” except one—the Austrian Alps….I’m getting out of debt. [and, likewise Sharon has paid on all her promise-to-come-back-here-with-you vows except one—New Orleans.] Maybe we can get a plane to Austria that stops over in New Orleans some day!

Since we are worn out from backpacking, and since we are not up to a technical climb with ropes, we simply drove on every available road in the Tetons before leaving it headed North. What beautiful mountains! If I were younger I'd make a try on the Grand teton!

-- Keith Drury

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My entire day in one picture (July 24)

One picture describes this entire vacation day...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 22-23. Pinedale WY

July 22-23.

We fell into bed at 8PM after leaving Brooke & Paul and squandered $110 for a night in a partially-updated 1950’a ma & pa motel in Pinedale, WY. Sharon woke up at 4:30 am fully rested which meant I also got up. We waited a few hours until the German ma & pa who own the motel got around to walking up themselves and putting out the stuff they called breakfast then checked out and went shopping for FOOD!

After packing our trunk with food we headed back up into the wind river mountains by car this time, to 9100’ and the Elkhart Trail head perched high above the valley and with delicious views of the snowcapped winds where we have been hiking. (The picture abovve shows part of the range we walked through last week). We pitched our tent at one of eight national forest campsites at this “trails End” campsite and sat in our camp chairs and read books all day. By supper huge clouds and lightning strikes approached and Sharon said “I saw a movie down in Pinedale—let’s go see a movie while it rains on our tent” so we drovw the hour back down to the valley to discover the movies in Pinedale only are open on weekends and they prominently displayed on the door “no move will be shown unless ten people attend.”

So we walked around the small cowboy town under our huge IWU umbrellas for our evening program as rain poured on us. Walking around the town park’s “health walkway” we ran into a moose family—skinny antlered dad, a fat momma and two little baby moose and watched them for a half hour as the mother sat nervously looking at us as if to say, “one more step and I’m gonna’ get up and knock you into the next county.”

Sharon, who is gifted at finding ice cream stores seduced me into eating more ice cream than I knew I could consume than we drove back to 9100’ elevation and crawled into our tent for a chilly night complete with frost this morning.

We are now (July 23, morning) sitting outside a hotel parking lot back down in Pinedale mooching their Internet connection to post this and answer email. Funny isn’t it? There was once a time when folk “went on vacation” which meant they were actually gone from all work-related things for several weeks. Now, with Internet access work goes on vacation with us. That’s one big advantage of the backpacking trip last week—there isn’t even a possibility of cell phones or Internet access for a long week in the mountains. On the other hand we get to share with family and friends while we’re on vacation. And of course we can check out hotel prices in Jackson WY where we are headed next to see the Tetons…whoops, we’re not up to paying $200 per night for a simple hotel room…so Sharon just went in and grabbed the final room available tonight at this hotel for “only” a hundred bucks. Returning to the car she simply said, “I need a hot tub.” So do I.

--Keith Drury

Just finished our Wind River Hile

July 21.

Sharon and I just came out of the Wind River Mountain Range… a wonderful foursome hike with Paul & Brooke Kind the last seven days. We had such a great time talking and walking and slapping mosquitoes.

The Winds had a big snowfall year so we still had LOTS of walking on snow and a few tricky places since we didn’t bring our ice axes. Starting at big Sandy Trailhead in the south we went all the way to the Northern end to Green River lakes. We are all 100% advocates of 100% DEET which was the only way to keep the swarms of mosquitoes at bay.

Today (July 21) we got to Paul & Brooke’s “drop car” and they returned us to our car at the starting point. We’re now headed to the biggest town in the region, Pinedale WY (pop 1400), for a night in a motel. Paul & Brooke are headed now to Rapid City where they will pack their moving van tonight and head out tomorrow for Princeton, New Jersey.

I will post this as soon as we get in range of WiFi.

As for us, we have several more weeks here in Wyoming… wandering the Wind River mountains by car, then the Tetons, then Yellowstone and who knows what else will strike our fancy.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A women's right to bare arms

Every day I look forward to getting on my porch my Marion, Indiana small-town newspaper (the Chronicle Tribune). Not because I get much news there (I don’t) but I get a great chuckle almost daily at their junior high spelling and grammar. Today’s editorial affirmed our “right to bare arms” in the headline. I wonder if the editor even knows the difference between baring arms and bearing arms?

If the editorial had been written by Ken Schenck or Bob Black I would have guessed it was one of their clever turnings of a phrase…

I thought it would be a GREAT headline for conservative holiness people if I were writing columns in the summer.

For instance I’d trace the history of how conservative holiness women used to be expected to wear long sleeves (as late as the 1950’s). But even in the 1950’s women started pushing against this “collective conviction.” The more racy women (often “song evangelist’s” wives) started wearing long sleeves of material that was see-though so that men could ogle their skin peaking out through the material.

By the end of the 50’s these racy women moved to “¾ length sleeves” and bared their lower arms for others to see—it was getting sexy.

Sure enough the women’s “right to bare arms” continued so that at Sunday school picnics in the 1960’s some came in “short sleeve” dresses showing off to the public the skin on their arms from the wrist all the way up to within 4” of their shoulders. It was stimulating to the men who had never seen so much skin of their church women!

Of course it wasn’t long until women took their "right to bare arms" all the way. Some started wearing “sleeveless blouses” to regular church services! Yikes—full appendage nudity! I recall sitting in Lakeview church (Marion) with my 75 year old mother in the 1980’s when a girl came into the service late and plopped down in front of us wearing a slinky blouse and only spaghetti straps—my mother was as shocked as if she had come in topless. By now I had accepted the women’s right to bare arms but she was so distracted that she talked about it the rest of the afternoon. She angrily responded when I just chuckled at her conservative standards but she argued back with this: “If things change as much in your lifetime as they have in mine, women will be coming to church completely naked by the time you're 75.”

I turn 75 in 2020… ;-)

. --keith drury