Imposing Landmark

For about 10 years of my life I was looking at this imposing mountain everyday as a source of motivation. Except that this landmark was on a poster, plastered with a clear tape at the cement wall of my room in Sampaloc, Manila. But that was many many years ago. Today, I am staring at it from its bottom, and it is surreal.

When I was in high school and was still living in the Philippines, I placed posters in my room, not much for decoration but more for inspiration. They are not pictures of famous movie stars or sports personalities. Instead, my posters are photos of beautiful nature landscapes with motivational messages in them.

One poster is a photo of a hang glider sailing in the vastness of the Grand Canyon. In that poster are these words: “You are only limited by the boundaries of your mind.” I had the chance to visit the Grand Canyon a few years ago, which in itself was a fulfillment of a dream (see previous post/link here).

Now, I am standing underneath another monumental landmark that was also in one of my posters. It took me all these years to finally visit it close and personal. What I am referring to is the Devils Tower.

This elevation is a butte, composed of igneous rock, that towers over the plain in Crook County Wyoming. It rises 1267 feet above the surrounding grassland. One of its most striking feature is that it has columnar striations, as if a giant bear clawed on it. This site is considered sacred to some tribes of Native Americans.

The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge, when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower.” When registering the name, the apostrophe was dropped from the “Devil’s,” so it became officially known as the “Devils Tower.”

On my poster, written underneath this rock mountain are these words: “Faith moves mountains.”

During the times of my life when my dreams seems to be getting out of my reach, this landmark with it’s message kept my hope and faith alive. For faith really moves mountains.

I was only entering medical school when my father died. He was barely 50 years old. He was the sole bread winner of our family and I thought I had to stop my studies for there was no way we could afford it then. Not too long after that our family experienced another big blow. We lost whatever little we have, including our good name. The problem was too sensitive, that I am not going to divulge it here. Yet, I kept my sight on my ambitions and clung to my faith in God, for there is no mountain big enough that the devil can throw in our path that our God cannot move.

The rest is now history, and I have gone farther than what I could even dream of.

Today is cold and blustery. The gusting winds are strong enough to blow away my thoughts. Perhaps not a perfect day to tour this national natural landmark. But still a perfect time, which is about 30 years in the making to finally see this geologic wonder. It was actually my wife who urged us to take a long drive to visit it after she heard my inspirational message that I recently gave to my aunt’s virtual church service in California (see previous post/link here). As I have not been to this place in real life, so the time has come to see it.

And as the wind is blowing wildly, I’m waiting here for this mountain to move.

(*photos taken with an iPhone)

The Wrong Ranger

One fine day, while we were hiking in this wild, yet picturesque western landscape, we were on the constant lookout for wild creatures. We were very aware that wild buffalos, elks, moose, coyotes, and even bears roam this place.

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But instead, we spotted a solitary figure who emerged from the shadow.

The familiar stance. The hat. Could it really be? Does he truly exist? Was it the legendary Lone Ranger?

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But before we can blink, the shadowy figure was gone.

So we tried to pursue his trail towards the water edge.

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Then we follow the river upstream. And then……

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And there he was again! The Lone Ranger was resting among the fallen logs in the river, gazing at the nearby falls.

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Before we can come near him though, he once again, disappeared.

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We crossed the river and climbed up the rugged mountain searching for him.

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And after some time, when we looked up, there he was!

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Perched high on the rocky cliff was the Lone Ranger. Now you see him…..

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Now you don’t!

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As we tread on higher up the mountain, we heard water gushing. We must be nearing a  spring.

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And sure enough, there was a refreshing rushing spring. And guess who was there? The Lone Ranger, of course!

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And then like a ghost, he vanished from our view.

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All what was left was a glimpse of his shadow.

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As we cannot find him no more, we trekked back down the mountain.

When we navigate our way through the forest, we saw the Lone Ranger’s hat. Was he nearby watching our every move?

IMG_3826But we never saw him, not even his shadow again.

We came back to where we started. We were tired, hungry, and disappointed. We were preparing our picnic table when……

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Out of nowhere he came out into the open again!

But wait a minute……he was with……he was with someone! He was not even a lone figure.

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That’s not the Lone Ranger! He was the Wrong Ranger!

We were following the Wrong Ranger all along. The End.

*******

(* all photos taken at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

The Call of the Old West

Hey y’all pilgrims!

On our last week-long road trip, we visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming. We also passed through Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. But this post is not about any of those National Parks (I’ll do that later).

This post is about the town of Cody, Wyoming. The way of the old west.

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Cody is about 50 miles from Yellowstone National Park east entrance, and for 3 days we made it our home base. Even though it may be a ways from the park, the drive from this town to Yellowstone is relaxed and scenic, so we did not mind the back and forth drive at all.

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The town was named after Colonel William F. Cody, who was better known as Buffalo Bill. (Though Buffalo Bill was born in Iowa. Yes, Iowa!) He passed in this area in the 1870’s and was impressed with the potential of the place. He returned to it in the mid 1890’s and started a town.

Around the town, are statues of Buffalo Bill.

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It also has a historical center and museums honoring and featuring him.

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As always, I tour around and take snapshots of most of the places we visit when I do my morning run. Here’s the current modern town of Cody.

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Sunrise in Cody

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The town hospital

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The town at night

What is visiting a western town without seeing the rodeo? So we took the opportunity to see one, to really have that “western” feel. By the way, Cody pride itself as the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

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Yee-haw!

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However, I think the best part of Cody, is the Old Trail Town, which is a collection of historic western structures and artifacts dating from 1879 to 1901. They were erected in the old original town site.

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I reckoned our stay in Cody, Wyoming awakened ma’ cowboy instinct. This feller had a hankerin’ fer the old west. T’was a plumb delight.

That’s da’ round-up of how the west has won me. From the wild, wild west…..

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yer pardner,

Pinoy (wannabe) Cowboy

IMG_3341P.S. I need to trade ma’ sneakers with a pair of ‘ole cowboy boots. With spurs.