Part 3/3 The Montana Trip

Our trip to Yellowstone and Teton National Park was executed in typical Tom Smith planning style. No planning – just go and plan on the road. So you can guess my disappointment when the fine ranger at the Teton’s told me that only the West Gate of Yellowstone was open. To get to the West gate we had to drive 3 hours – through Idaho. So early Saturday morning we drove through potato land and arrived in Yellowstone and its world-famous geysers. Yellowstone opened its gate that day for the first time this season (now that’s planning).

Old Faithful is one of the larger geysers in the Park – the location in the park where the cameras and the crowds converge. We found out that the cold loves that spot as well. We sat on the bench, freezing our butts of and then it happened – the geyser erupted. After the 5 minutes of uncontrollable excitement we headed North into Montana. On our way out of the Park I reflected on the fact that it really sucked that we could not go into the Yellowstone backcountry. It saddened me that we traveled only on the asphalt. Much like people who only know the Christian adventure through the debilitated version of church buildings and Sunday worship services. Get out of the car!! I resolved not to visit a National Park without spending an evening under the stars.

Gallatin National Forest flanks one of the most beautiful mountain roads I’ve ever been on. Montana reveals itself in rugged beauty in that pass. The rolling hills and singing river the colors of spring the rustic houses – disturbed by the three dozen of white crosses next to the road. Each cross a life taken on that beautiful road. It’s funny how beauty and death cohabitates. Exhausted we slept in Missoula (A River runs through it was filmed there). I had an amazing Montana beer at the Machenzie River Company – it’s called Moose droule. Lollie watched Trading Spaces that evening and I read The Solace of Open Spaces.

Early Sunday morning we drove to Lakeside. The lake being Flathead Lake. It is really unfair that some people get to live next to this lake. The locals named the lake Flathead, they though the Indians who lived there was the Flathead tribe and name the lake to honor them. They were wrong – it was a different tribe – the name stuck. I think it is a fine monument of man’s ineptness at racial relations.

On Sunday afternoon we arrived at our destination. We baked on the jetty of our hosts waiting for them to return from their church service. Our visit lasted four days and I’ll tell you what they said if you want me to do that 🙂