Sunday, July 31, 2016

Worshipping In the Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons

Yesterday Tim and I set up camp in the Grand Tetons National Park near Moran, WY, where we only have to look west to see the towering splendor of the Teton Range, mountains that soar more than 13,000 feet from the valley floor.  What makes them seem so monumental is there are no foothills standing between the two.  The effect is magnificent!  (And very hard to convey with a photograph!)  Awe-struck, all I could do was to thank God for his marvelous creation.

But there were smaller wonders, too.

Yellow Columbine

Moran, WY is little more than a junction of highways; the fork to the north leads beyond the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone National Park 30 miles away.  There's a post office, a school and a fire department to mark its place.  Definitely no houses of worship!

The view of the Tetons from inside Jackson Lake Lodge

That's why we were glad to find an interdenominational worship service held at Jackson Lake Lodge.  And there we learned of a ministry that I wish I'd known during my younger years.  I would have jumped at the chance to participate.

Showy Fleabane

A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP) has had a presence in America's national parks since 1951.  Approximately 200 Christian leaders, many of them college and seminary students, lead worship services and other opportunities for Christian fellowship for park guests and staff in almost 30 national parks during the summer and in some cases, the winter months, too.

Elizabeth and Christian

Elizabeth and Christian, ACMNP staffers, led this morning's service.  Both received training from the ministry and both found seasonal employment at the Grand Tetons National Park.  Elizabeth who graduated with a psychology degree in May works at one of the gift shops.  Christian, a college sophomore, is on the maintenance staff.

Indian Paintbrush

Although the crowd of worshippers this morning was small, each person seemed to feel at home with the Prayer of Confession, the Apostle's Creed, the hymns and the praise songs.  For the scripture reading, Elizabeth used Luke 12:22-32 as the basis of her homily.  The verses that resonated with me were these:
27 "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?"


Tim will tell you that I snap more photos of wildflowers than almost any other subject, a behavior of mine that calls upon his patience.  So, I can attest to the beauty of these uncultivated plants or "lilies" as Jesus calls them.  (Tim just calls them weeds.)  

Musk Thistle

What boggles my mind is the attention God gives to these wildflowers.  


He arrays them in such beauty that I, along with other like-minded tourists, are drawn to capture their showiness in photographs.


I tend to dwell unduly on difficulties that may--or may not ever--happen.  Worrywart could be my middle name.  But in these verses, God promises me that He will provide what I need.

22 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  31 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you."

Next time worry overwhelms me, I'm going to thank God for His promise to provide for me.  I might even remember to thank Him for wildflowers, too.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Easy Hikes In Glacier National Park

Lake Josephine

A year ago, my husband Tim had a total knee replacement.  Although he has fully recovered, he cannot do some of the activities he used to enjoy. One of those is hiking strenuous trails. Going uphill is fine; it's the pounding his knee takes on the downhill hikes that he finds difficult.

Consequently, we looked for the easy hikes in Glacier National Park, those with elevation changes of 300 feet or less.  We found some great ones.  More easy hikes are listed at 10 Short, Easy Hikes in Glacier National Park.

Grinnell Lake - Many Glacier area, 3.0 miles, 220 feet elevation change

Grinnell Glacier overlooking Grinnel Lake

Top: 1910 photo of Grinnell Glacier
Bottom: 2008 photo of the same location
Because of global warming, only 24 glaciers remain in Glacier National Park.  Sadly, scientists predict that all will be gone by the year 2030.  

Grinnell Lake

Sherborne Lake

Aster Falls and Twin Falls - Two Medicine area, approximately 7 miles, 320 feet elevation change

Two Medicine Lake

Aster Falls

Twin Falls

Hidden Lake Overlook - from Logan's Peak, 2.7 miles, 540 feet elevation change 
Note:  This was the steepest trail we took, but it was worth it!  We saw seven mountain goats along the way.

Mountain Goats

Hidden Lake

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Going-to-the-Sun Road

The shuttle arrives at St Mary Visitor Center on the east side of Glacier.

One wise decision Tim and I made on this trip to Glacier National Park was to ditch our car in favor of riding the park's free shuttle service. That way neither of us had to negotiate the narrow the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road, a high-mountain twister with stunning views of the Continental Divide.  And believe me, the segment of that road from the summit at Logan's Peak through The Loop and down to Avalanche Creek is the most narrow, twisty-turnie, breathtaking, heart-stopping, exhilarating road I've been on in a long time!

Last Saturday after we hiked the Waterfalls Loop, we hopped on the shuttle and rode it all the way from St. Mary, MT west to Apgar Village.  Then, on Monday Tim drove the same route on our way to visit Mark and Shelle, good friends from our life in Tucson.  What follows is a hodgepodge of photos taken during both trips.

St. Mary Lake

Vintage red touring cars are another transportation option, albeit not a free ride.

Weeping Wall

Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald

See what I mean?  Going-to-the-Sun Road was glorious!