Monday, April 22, 2013

Memoir Monday~ Glacial Peaks, Alpine Creeks, Gunslingers and Gold Miners: How the West Was Lost Part 1

Gotta love the button my son made!

Welcome friends,
 to another Memoir Monday hop 
here at Campfires and Cleats...
This post has some Memoir Monday blog hop details 
as  well as links to all my previous Memoir posts.

From the title of my blog ( ! ),
 one can correctly infer that we do a good deal of 
Rustic style travel, that is.
As well as camping/s'more - making/tent set up....
 Or at least that our family trips have had great impact on our lives.
No roof, save for a nylon tent cover.
Or, more poetically stated, the night sky itself,
 starry diamond-ed and black velvet-ed.
But sometimes it's hard to be poetic, as breathtaking as this country is,
as monsoons whip through the Dakotas and
the campground is a bit of a muddy mess.
Four thousand miles ...
one way
is a lot of togetherness.
One needs to keep our blessings in perspective.
Yup, One certainly does.
But, oh, the places we've been! reflection :
            These hushed woods once echoed with the rumble of rickety wagons chock full of gold ore. Mining towns, never built to last, set as stunning jewels in precarious mountain slopes, endure.  Just as the spirit of the rugged individuals who carved  communities in the wilderness, endures.

 Tilted rock formed deep within the earth eons ago, panoramic and picturesque. Landscapes of granite. Postcards of stone.
             By day, the Yellowstone River’s mist on our skin. Bugling elk, mountain goats wary of our intrusion.

            By night, glittering constellations over velvety backdrop.
            Dipping our feet in an icy alpine creek after a long arduous climb.  And down, we still must traverse. Brief respite by a hidden glacial waterfall; we must be the first, ever to have found this slice of heaven on Earth. We must.
             Motoring from sea to shining sea. Mapping out the adventures, the sites, the magnificence. It is breathtaking and we  have a sense of can-we-really-be-here about the whole adventure.

 Snapping picture after picture. Until our memory card is filled with nearly eight hundred of them. Holding and immortalizing the hikes, the sites, the signs, the history, the starts, the stops.

 The drenching rain on an Old Faithful evening, the sun illuminating Abe’s face on a Mt Rushmore afternoon, the playful splashing on a rocky Pacific morning.  And, oh yeah: The rocks. When your hubby is a rock hound, a geologist through and through, the roadside outcroppings are a marvel. We take it in too, as well as the sometimes lengthy science lessons. We learn and we love.
 The Moments.

             Building  campfires,  creating marshmallow s’more concoctions. In these eight thousand miles and seventeen states. Collages  of morning dew in West Glacier,  mundane interstate stops in Idaho, creekside tent pitching in the Dakotas and the just-being-togetherness on the journey.

            And the stories. The hardiness of the pioneer spirit back then.  And now? Life on the range and the farm? It is a world away and out of our realm. Those quintessential cowboys and cowhands? They’re not just of song and story. Their work is hard and honest, and quite cerebral. And the children of the range? They don’t play  little league; rather, they aspire to score high roping a calf or guiding their stallions around a haybale obstacle course in Cody Wyoming.  Rodeo capital of the world.

            The human drama unfolding on the prairie a century and a half ago? Across the mighty Mississippi to the Rockies.  Triumph? Or tragedy? Yes, this then one hundred year old country of ours wrote a sad chapter in our history.  
            Tolerance, virtuous behavior and grace demonstrated toward our fellow man? Not terribly much of that witnessed on the western frontier.

   What about  our American “heroes?” The Son of the Morning Star epitomized underhandedness; he was no hero. Truth: Custer earned this Lakota nickname, silently attacking at dawn, decimating  villages of unsuspecting, sleeping, peacful people. Mothers, babies, elderly.     
Little Bighorn, Montana
formerly known as "Custer Battlefield National Monument"
July 2012

              What’s that, some may say? He was only following orders?  Decades later, my Dad heard those echoes too, as an Army Infantryman in the Pacific Theater. In quiet, humble villages throughout the Phillipines in the 1940s, those under the flag of the rising sun were only following orders to overtake peaceful Manila.  It was heard too, throughout Europe. Those who donned the swastikas were  carrying out instructions. Nothing more. I suppose this is how some justify man’s inhumanity to man two generations removed?

 For you have been called to live in freedom, 
not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, 
but freedom to serve one another in love.   
Galatians 5:13

            The Lakota Sioux have a saying:  “There is no death. There is only a change in worlds.”
             Are we truly t-h-a-t different from those called ‘savages’ by the white man? By those who wished to own the land? By those who wished to rule and change? By those who thought themselves quite superior? Who came to this new land to escape brutality and suppression themselves?
 ( end of part 1 )

Part 2 of 
Glacial Peaks, Alpine Creeks, Gunslingers and Gold Miners: 
How the West Was Lost 
can be found my clicking here.

I've done a great deal of writing on our family adventures...
Some, across the country...last year we saw close to 10,000 miles of
national parks, memorials, monuments, interstates, campgrounds.

And some trips are an easy 250 miles upstate
 to the spot that's closest to Heaven here on Earth.
The Adirondacks.
Do you know these mountains?
I write of them here in
and here, in

~ August 2012 ~
If all my journalling,
scribbling while tooling down the highway,
past cornfields, prairie grass,
high peaked mountains, glaciers, 
abandoned pioneer towns,
and so much more,
becomes a memento for the kids documenting our family togetherness,
well, that's the point 
I'll be thrilled.

The above piece is one that I wrote last summer
 as we spent time exploring the midwest
(think Laura Ingalls!)
and the Pacific Northwest
(think gunslingers, gold diggers and the rocky Pacific coast! )

And please come on back  tomorrow
for my post on some Elizabethan fun for The Bard's 449th birthday!!
We're having a birthday party for Will!
Come check it out!

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.

Until next time,


BTW, I'm offering photo services and customized
photo packages for your blog or business!
< Subscribers receive a deep discount! > 


  1. Oh my goodness! What amazing photos! I pray that someday we can afford an RV. We so want to take our children on adventures like that. What a blessing to be able to see and experience so much with your family! God bless, friend! :-)

    1. Lisa, thank you, friend:)

      I appreciate the kind words...heading over to your post now...thank you for linking!


  2. Dear Chris,

    I've never been to that part of the world. It sounds wonderful. How fortunate your boys are to have you journaling your family journeys for them through your blog.

    1. Ultreya~
      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words!
      I am so happy that you linked up again! Heading over to your blog now to read and be inspired!!

      Have a lovely day, friend!

  3. Thank you for sharing Chris and thank you for inviting me to your party! While my post isn't a traditional memoir, it does capture a little of what is going on in my life right now.

    I love your post and your photos - everything from your title to your description makes your trip come so vividly alive!

    Have a great week and I hope to see you at Wordless Wednesday (even if you're "chatty")! :-)

    Create With Joy

    1. Ramona~
      Thanks so very much, friend!

      Heading to your blog now to read and enjoy~


  4. Chris,

    I enjoyed your post so much! Your photos are beautiful and your refection too. I love how you look past the beauty of all you see and think deeper about the history and the people who went before you. I guess that's what memoir writing is all about: finding meaning in everything we do and witness in our lives. I am looking forward to part two!

    I'm linking up a challenge story. I hope it fits in with your memoir theme.

    God bless!

    1. THANK YOU, Sue, for linking and for your absolutely lovely comments!

      I am heading over to your blog to read your post, which I know will be inspiring, as always....

      Whatever you decide to link is always welcome!! Always.
      we will all be graced by your entry.

      Love you, friend.

  5. Chris,thanks for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment on my blog! You are welcome to visit any time. I have linked with your for Memoir Monday. What a great idea. You have a lovely family. Have a great week.

    1. Debbue--You're so very welcome! I'm so happy and grateful that you linked up. Your childhood home reflection is absolutely wonderful!!Great idea! So full of memories!

      Have a lovely night, Debbie!

  6. I always appreciate your link-ups! It's been a hectic week, so I'm late getting here. Thank you - beautiful post and pictures you're sharing! :) Have a great weekend!

    1. Rebekah, Thanks so much for the lovely compliment and for linking up your post! Your words are a grace to the blog hop....

      I am headed over now to read and enjoy, friend...


  7. Oh, how I want to do trips like you do!

  8. Beautiful pictures; looks like great family fun.

    1. Thank you, RAnn for stopping in to say HI!

      Have a lovely day!

  9. We did just a 1,000 mile trip to TN this winter with four adults in the car. I can't imagine putting on the miles you did with kids-wow! What a blessing, though, for them to see so much of the country, to learn to be patient as the miles slide on by, to look for the good and wonderful. You have given them a wonderfully overflowing basket of memories!

    1. Kim,
      It is a wonderful collection of memories...and how YOU express that is just beautiful!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in and leave such a heartfelt comment, Kim.

      Have a blessed day....

  10. I'm drooling to go some of the places you visited!! What a neat learning time and time together as family!!! Thanks for stopping by DeepRoots to visit...and I'm looking forward to getting to know you as you link-up with our little community. BTW, I linked a past travel memory with you just now :)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping in, Jacqueline!
      I am eager to read your post now.:)


  11. I've never been blessed to go camping. Your family sure make it look fun! You look like you had a great time!!

    1. We certainly did...though posts such as this one do make camping look like it's ALL positive...There are downsides and stresses though to every type of trip, as you know....:)

      Thanks for your visit, Jennifer!


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.. .....
I will reply right here in the combox; so please check back if you'd like to continue the conversation.
If you'd like, you can contact me instead via email ~
campfiresandcleatsATgmail DOT com.