I had some pictures posted on this earlier and Blogger wouldn't let me publish it. I have uploaded some pics on My Flickr Photos to at least satisfy some of your cravings for some awesome shots of my vacation. I'll try again later to update the blog with some additional pictures.
Flying into Missoula, Montana on July 4th was awesome. We could see the fireworks exploding below us and because we were so high up, they were like shorts bursts of light, almost staccato like. As we dropped closer to ground the fireworks resembled camera flashes in a stadium. Pretty awesome. In the distance, over one of the towns, there were some storm clouds occasionally being lit by lightining inside of them. I thought they were God's fireworks because He didn't want to miss out on the fun. Seeing the tiny fireworks popping as we flew over, I imagined that this must be what God sees when He looks down on earth. These tiny little poppings and little people running all over the place. Everything in miniature. That's how big He is and yet He is small enough to live inside us and spend time with each of us every day. Pretty incredible.
Big sky country is all about water. Most people think mountains and big wide open spaces and there's that too, but I will always remember the water. Everywhere I went you heard a river rushing, a waterfall falling, a stream trickling, a lake being. Turquoise in color and clear as gin as one tourist magazine put it and it was true. There was also an amazing amount of wildlife. I saw deer, hoary marmots, a bald eagle, osprey, hawks, columbian ground squirrels, wild goats, cutthroat trout, and lots of interesting bugs.
I spent one night camping in Glacier National Park and then hiked about 10 miles or so the next day, through the woods, over snow fields, down mountain sides, next to rivers and lakes. Later I went whitewater rafting through a gorge over class III rapids. AWESOME!
The reason I was in Montana was for my friend Alana's wedding. We met when we were nine years old or so and haven't seen each other in about 15 years. It was a great homecoming. We lived across the street from each other for about four years and were absolute best friends. I will post some pictures of us back then. We were really cute! I was able to meet her fiance Chase and his wonderful and crazy family from West Virginia. They had friends fly in from all over the country which was so amazing and really added to the special day. It was wonderful to see her and her sister and reconnect again as adults. I hope it won't be another 15 years before we get to see each other again. One of my favorite parts of the wedding was the fact that Alana's mom and dad both walked her down the aisle. They divorced when she was very young and it was so great to see them come together again because of the love for their daughter. I also loved having Chase's grandfather perform the ceremony. He is a minister (maybe retired) and has married just about everyone in the family. What special touches to wonderful day. Of course the food, dancing, drinking, and general merriment (till 3am) made it a day to celebrate.
My one regret was that I didn't get to see a grizzly bear...unless you count the stuffed one in the airport. I'm looking forward to getting back to Montana and spending even more time with Alana, Chase and the great outdoors. Thanks for such a wonderful time Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Mmmmmmmwwwwwwoooooooaaaaaahhhhh!!!! (the Overman kiss)