BOWEN COLUMN: Chapter two and miles to go

Published 9:45 am Saturday, July 31, 2021

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On July 11, 2021, our four hikers arrived at the southern entrance of Yellowstone’s Thoroughfare and South Boundary Trail. The trail is 67.5 miles long and designed to be traveled in seven days. One site reports that it is ‘recommended for very experienced adventurers.’ I think my good friend Roy Deering and I felt we met that criterion to a tee. I am on the precipice of being 65, and he, himself, is nearly the completion of his own sixth decade. To say we are experienced might even be an understatement; and no one can doubt we are ‘adventurers.’

We just did not happen to be conditioned hikers who had done anything remotely like tackling Yellowstone’s wilderness before.

The days leading up to this July 11 evening are almost a blur, even as the entire trip is at times: On Wednesday the amazin’ blonde and I made the decision for me to go on the hike (Ms. Marilyn, I’m sure, just knew I had decided it was something I needed to do so she did not stand in the way), on Friday she and I bought out a good portion of Academy, and by four a.m. Saturday morning she was driving me to the DFW airport to fly to Denver.

Roy and Randy Butler picked me up there in Roy’s 2007 blue Ford 150, and a few minutes later we picked up Todd Perrin who had flown in from Houston. By 9:30 a.m., we were on our way.

We set off first on a three-hour drive to Riverton, Wyoming and there we roomed for the night and on Sunday morning we all made our way to worship with a small congregation there, very blessed to gather around the Lord’s table for worship for the first time ever in the state of Wyoming. (Wyoming, by the way, holds a special place in my and my grandson Connor Osburn’s heart, as we will note a bit further along.)

Appropriately, the bookends for our nine-day trip were four friends, as different as we are, worshipping together. The next Lord’s Day we would be in Westminister, Colorado, near Denver. But it is what takes place between the bookends that would change us most of us.

We quickly made out way to the truck to begin the rest of our journey.

I laugh as I think of this, because I remembered that on both Sundays the fellas had to come get me to get us to the truck. You understand, I’m sure. It was three, maybe four hours before we would reach Yellowstone, and we arrived there around 4:30 p.m.

Four-thirty p.m., July 11.

Life was about to change.

I’ve always thought I’d, somehow change the world. The world has different ideas.