Monday, October 01, 2007

Montana Trip: Three Stories

Okay, first this. The trip was wonderful. Amazing. Truly one of the best we've taken. The fall colors of the Rocky Mountains were breathtaking. Glacier National Park is a must-see. And taking the train is always a great way to travel. So, yes, Karina and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in style.

Now, three highlights of the trip:
1. After a restless night of fitful sleep as we crossed Eastern Washington and Idaho, we awoke in Montana and headed to breakfast in the dining car. Somewhere between the Flathead Tunnel and Whitefish we were seated, sharing our table with another couple, probably in their mid-50s. We exchanged pleasantries about our lack of sleep, where we hail from, where we're heading, and then. . .the "and what do you do?" question.

Me: "I pastor a small church in Washington."
They: "Oh? What kind of Church?"
Me: "It's a Christian Church. With the Evangelical Covenant Denomination."
They: "So, what do you think of Jehovah's Witnesses? Are they a cult? Because we just went to a conference in Portland on Creationism, and the speaker said Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult."
Us "Well, good morning to you, too!"

And so it went. I suspected, and had it confirmed by the nature of their questioning, that they were JWs, and were trying to draw me into a debate. But I hadn't even had breakfast yet. So I remained civil and open, refusing to answer their questions, but instead spent most of the next 20 minutes explaining the orthodox view of Christ, and how the JWs differed in their interpretation. It was an interesting morning, to say the least. Thankfully, before they could start to argue too much, we realized we were 10 minutes from West Glacier, and therefore had to return and gather our stuff. And that was the end of that, thankfully, without any shouting or insulting (which, incidentally, is what the last JW I had the privilege of sharing with ended up doing).

2. On Thursday we hiked up Apgar Mountain. It's about a 6 1/2 mile round trip, with a 1600+ foot elevation gain to the top. The hike was beautiful, the weather perfect, and no bears were in sight. At the top, we met an IT guy with the Park service who was in the process of putting up a web cam, so that all the world can see the view from Apgar Mountain. He was very friendly and answered a lot of questions for us. We even ended up hiking back down together. But as he was installing the camera, coordinating via cell phone with his boss back at the office, he had to get a picture as a reference point. So he had us stand in front of the camera, and we became the first people to have their picture taken by the Apgar Mountain Webcam. Here's the picture:

Unfortunately, at last check, the camera had gone down. But you can check here, and see if it comes back sometime soon. And while you are there, check the Lake McDonald webcam. That will show you the view from our cabin. Or thereabouts, anyway.

3. On the way out, I had this crazy little idea, one of those thoughts that keeps pestering you and won't go away. So when we were in Whitefish, I went into the Amtrak station and asked about getting a ticket from Edmonds to Seattle - the last 30 minutes of the return trip. Turns out a kid can get on that for only $4. And thus it was that Saturday morning my dad drove Olivia up to Edmonds, where she hopped on the train and rode the last little jaunt down Puget Sound into King Street Station. We showed her our sleeping compartment, the dining room, the view along the way, and she was suitably impressed. Probably a $4 well spent, when you consider the treat it was to her, and the memories she'll carry of waiting at the station with grandpa, and the ride in mommy and daddy's personal compartment. I bet we just made an Amtrak passenger out of her. Here we are on the trip:
So there you have it. We have another picture or two to upload, eventually, but let this suffice for now. Glad to be back. . .wish we were still there.

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