Summer of 1993
Chapter 15--Crazy Monday Nights 2: Avalanche Peak

    Do you believe in magic?  The Lovin' Spoonful asked us that question years before I was born, and the question still has relevance.  Without John Sebastian, I saw the band play a couple years ago at a pizza festival in a parking lot about a mile from where I was living in Toledo, Ohio.  They asked again whether I believed in magic.  It can be hard to believe in magic, I know.  In the age of science, that belief seems even harder.  Magic isn't anything more than illusion, right?  It's reducible to the laws of physics, right?
    I have always believed in the possibility of magic, but until I spent significant time in Yellowstone, I did not have any experience that I would call magical.
    However, all this begs the question of what I mean by magic.  Is it the impossible?  No, I don't think that's what I mean.  Is it the scientifically unexplainable?  No, not exactly because what is magical about such events is not inconsistent with science.  Is it simply some wondrous feeling?  No, it's more than that.  Is it the altogether unusual and unexpected?  No, in some places like Yellowstone, magic is neither unusual nor unexpected.      What then is magic?  I think magic involves something where we suspect a causal connection where there should seemingly be no causal connection.  What I mean is that when you see an elk, there should be nothing in the mere seeing of an elk that causes you to feel like you have been touched by God.  There should be nothing in that event in and of itself that causes a flooding of senses over and above the normal aesthetic pleasure we get from seeing elk.  When the effect does not seem to be contained in the cause, that's magic, and that's why it is so difficult to explain.  The explanation must go to something over and beyond physics.  This is not to say that there is no reason for what has happened or that the cause is somehow "irrational", merely that there is more out there than "what meets the eye."  That is, to say, magic makes sense to me and is not simply the wishful thinking or banality of a Disney movie.  Yet, from the standpoint of the senses, which we typically rely on to figure out cause and effect, something is hopelessly out of whack sometimes, and we cannot but say of some experiences that they are magical.  Rocks and elk and snow and geysers and canyons do not seem to be able to embrace you or take you in or arouse new visions in you, but somehow that's just what these rocks and elk and geysers and canyons did.  There was no need to find a wardrobe that took you to the magic of Narnia.  If C. S. Lewis had been intimate with Yellowstone, he could have set his tales on this very earth.
    So, I believe in magic, although in many respects, conveying it to you is hopeless.  In many respects, all I can hope to do is convey to you the possibility of magic and hope that you find it there like many others have.  And, yet, as I have said many times in this autobiography, there is a great joy in trying to convey it all the same.  There is always the prayer that there is magic in the ink on the page and that somehow it touches you in the depths not only of your soul but of your body as well.  These things aren't simply beatific visions that make one more aware of God; they move the body down to its bones, they find a way of warming you in the chill of the night, they arouse flutters in the heart and a lightness in the eyes.  But, yes, they also get you thinking, and that's just as profound a wonder to me.
    After the previous Monday experience at the Boiling River, I wanted so much to make as much as I could of my last month in Yellowstone, especially the last two weeks that Price was left in the Park.  Without Price, I sensed that the chances for wonder would be limited at best.  He had brought out such confidence in me, and I felt like I could test new ideas around him with the hopes that he would be receptive.  Without Price and without many of the others who would soon be leaving for college, I knew that it would not be the same.  So, I had great hopes that we would try something new and exciting and slightly dangerous.  The very next Monday, I was not disappointed.
    As you may recall from a previous chapter, I had climbed up Avalanche Peak a couple weeks before with Matt Perkins, and so the mountain was fresh in my mind.  That summer, it seemed like Avalanche Peak was on everyone's "to do" list.  Earlier in the year, some of our co-workers had failed to make it up the mountain because the snow was still too great.  Later, when they made it, they raved about being able to sled on the peak of the mountain.  Climbing Avalanche Peak was something that people liked to do because it was fairly short; the hike was only two miles up and two miles down though fairly steep, did not involve any technical climbing, and had a great view of Yellowstone Lake.  When we were trying to think of something slightly nuts to do on this upcoming Monday night, Avalanche Peak seemed to be a good idea because it was something we could do in a single night that would still be spectacular.
    Yet, it was also a scary prospect to climb Avalanche at night.  Grizzly sightings were common in the area, the weather could be extremely cold, especially on top of a 10,500 foot mountain, and it would be very dark trying to find our way on a wooded trail.  If we had decided to climb Mt. Washburn instead, we would have found the prospects to be much easier and much safer because that hike is along the edge of a mountain climbing to a peak where a ranger actually lives.  Climbing Avalanche Peak by night was somewhat different, and telling our co-workers that that is what we planned to do had many of them shaking their heads.  They did not understand why we wanted to climb a mountain by night when we would not be able to see anything in the middle of grizzly country.  However, we knew that simply the thrill of the climb would be energy enough for us, and I knew that there was something very different about Yellowstone at night that I was really beginning to understand.  There were hidden beauties to be seen and discovered at night.  The cold air was a constant reminder of how you were bound to this environment.
    As we planned to go on this hike, we tried to figure out who was going.  Without a doubt, Patrick, Price, and I were going.  However, this time, Lynn wanted to come along, too.  And, then, much to our chagrin, so did Reuben.  I do not know quite remember, but it seems to me that we tried to keep this a secret from Reuben, who had this great knack of wanting to be involved with everything.  Most of the people did not especially care for Reuben because he was so obnoxious and smelled so bad.  Once, we were having lunch, and we had these really disgusting potatoes that had red spots all over them.  I don't remember who said this (I think a woman who worked with us named Paula), but someone likened them to Reuben's pimples, and that was pretty much the end of lunch.  People were so genuinely mean to Reuben.  I remember that his roommate (who I think was Brandon) caught Reuben simply pacing in the bathroom with his clothes on while the shower ran so Brandon might think he was taking a shower.  It seems like we may have been way too hard on him, but as I explained elsewhere, Reuben was very revolting in so many ways.  I thought I had sympathy for people who were picked on because that was how I grew up, but Reuben seemed to take his obnoxiousness and smells to a whole new level.  One of the real reasons we didn't want to go with Reuben, however, was that he had never been on a hike before and was so out of shape.  Can you imagine your first hike being a grueling climb up a mountain in the middle of the night?  We didn't want Reuben to screw up our experience because he was unable to make it.  If he couldn't make it, it meant that at least one person couldn't make it either because that person would have to go with him.  That would probably mean that none of us would make it because we would feel bad for whoever couldn't make it.
    Somehow, Reuben found out, and inevitably he asked if he could come along.  We were frank with him and told him that we didn't think he could make it.  We also told him what the consequences of him not making it would be.  However, he still wanted to come, and at that point, Price and I decided that it would be wrong not to include him.  So, Reuben seemed bound to coming along, and that sort of put a cloud on things, a worry that this would not work out.  You all reading this I'm sure feel sorry for poor Reuben, and in telling this I do, too.  As I told you in another chapter, I think Reuben might have been an angel who mysteriously appeared out of heaven.  It sure looks like we were being selfish, and there is a sense that that is true.  We were being selfish.  We wanted to recapture what we had found at The Boiling River.  Reuben coming along seemed to be bad, though, on two levels.  It not only seemed to be a hindrance to our goal, but also it didn't seem like it was going to be good for Reuben.  And, that was on our minds.  We didn't want the poor guy to die while he was with us.  Still, I realize now that there is no experience worth having that is pure that comes at the expense of someone else.  In my heart, I think that feeling gnawed on me, and that's why I felt compelled to tell Reuben that he could come along with us so long as I made sure he understood what he was getting himself into.
    When I got off work at 10 o'clock, I thought for a moment that Reuben wasn't coming along after all.  When I found him at the dorms, he said he had changed his mind and that he would be going to the pub instead.  That was a great relief to me and the four of us.  As we got ready for our hike, making sure that we were dressed warmly enough and had flashlights and stuff of that nature, we thought that we had clear sailing.  There was a full moon out that night, and there was no hint that the weather would change.  I realize that there is no guarantee in Yellowstone of weather, but we were about as confident as we could be under the circumstances.  Soon, we were ready to go.  Unlike last time, I did not have to be at work until noon the next day, and so there was not a big rush.
    As we got near Price's car, we saw Reuben running toward us.  "Hey guys!  Can I come along?  I just got kicked out of the pub."
    I asked, "Why did you get kicked out of the pub?"
    Reuben said, "They caught me drinking a rum and coke, and they revoked my privileges."
    "So, you're not allowed back in the pub again?"
    "Nope.  Can I come along?"
    "Are you sure you can make it?"
    "I'm sure."
    Well, there was nothing that could be done at that point.  We let him come in the car, and we were off.  It wasn't until we were hiking that we noticed that he didn't have on more than his usual black jacket, and that that was hardly enough to make it up Avalanche Peak without risking freezing to death.  When Reuben got to Yellowstone, he didn't even own a useable pair of shoes.  Elaine Thorman actually had to give him some money to buy some shoes for work.  So, here you had this goofy looking guy who was hard to look at, smelled worse than anyone I have ever known, who had a cheap pair of shoes on, and a light black jacket, who had never been on a single hike, who was now going up Avalanche Peak in the middle of the night with us.  If what we were doing wasn't crazy enough in itself, having this character around made it dangerous for us all.  And, yet, still, there the five of us went in Price's brown monster.
    I don't remember much about the drive to Avalanche Peak, which is about 40 or 50 miles away from Grant Village.  It was a beautiful night drive, and we were all excited about our hike.  I think a lot of the drive was reserved for Reuben telling us about his misadventures at the pub.  I can't imagine that too many people are kicked out of the pub for underage drinking.  I suspect that people who were annoyed by Reuben tipped the people who worked there who subsequently kicked him out for good.  Only Reuben could manage to have his privileges revoked this way, and only Reuben could be so naive as not to understand how stuff like this continued to happen to him.  It wasn't that he lacked charisma of a kind, but people simply could not stand much of him after awhile.  He found ways to get into trouble, and so he was an easy target.
    It did not necessarily feel like magic was meant to be this night.
    When we got to the trailhead, the mood started to change.  There was the woods and above us the sky and around us the Absaroka Mountains.  Once we went in, we knew that we were in for some fun and adventure.  The grizzlies might eat us alive, but we were definitely going to go out with a bang.
    As we started to climb, we made a lot of noise.  We were so wary of seeing a grizzly that we simply began shouting as loud as we could.  You think of these night experiences as quiet times, but this was not a quiet time, at least not at this point.  This was a rush of excitement, like climbing a rollercoaster only that much better.  The climb was steep, but the thrill of the climb was simply amazing.  Instead of the impending doom of the drop down the mountain, we had the doom of every sound in the woods.  Every time we heard a noise that was not our own, we stopped and looked around.  We could hear the sound of owls every so often, and though I still have never seen an owl in the wild, I could hear them clearly.  We were relieved that we did not hear a bear.  Every sound, though, scared us worse than most people get scared at haunted houses.  We talked endlessly of what it would be like to be eaten by a grizzly.  Though no one has died of a bear attack in Yellowstone in ages, if it were going to happen, it was probably going to be because some young people were out foolishly hiking in the middle of bear country in the middle of the night.
    We also found out soon after that we did not need our flashlights.  Can you believe it?  We were in one of the darkest places in the whole country in the middle of a fairly dense lodgepole pine forest, and we did not need our flashlights.  Lodgepole pines are very skinny trees and, in sunny days, offer virtually no protection from the sun.  This night, the moon was so bright, so dominating, that we found we had little problem seeing our trail and that a flashlight added virtually nothing.  I remember the great feeling I got knowing that I was climbing up this mountain in what should have been extreme darkness without needing anything more than the light of the sky.  The atmosphere was so clear and the night lights so much brighter than anywhere I have ever been.
    Reuben was a trooper, but he often fell behind, and so we were obliged to wait for him.  However, as long as he kept going, we were happy.  He said at every stopping point that he was doing okay and was ready to keep going.  He was struggling, but he was doing far better than any of us expected.  It seemed like he had a point to prove, and none of us objected to him at this point trying to prove it.  Still, because he was so occupied with his body and his climb, he was in some ways in the background the rest of the climb.
    As we continued to climb, we began to sing more.  Then, Lynn began singing.  She sang several verses of "Amazing Grace."  I was in awe how beautiful and how passionate a voice she had.  I had no idea she could sing and was surprised that she sang this famous religious hymn.  The rest of us were quiet as she sang so beautifully.  This was definitely a side of her I had never seen.  After singing, I told her how beautiful that was.  Indeed, it was beautiful to have the mountains serenaded by that voice.  In the context of an agnostic woman who also seemed often to be distant, this was an amazing response.  It touched a spark of magic.  What was it that evoked this?  Why here and why now in the moonlit trails of a steep mountain?  Lynn explained that she always loved that song, that when she was a Pentecostal that that song always meant something to her.  She also tried to explain that she never completely lost her way in religion, that there was something still there in her.  My gosh, was it ever?!  This was so soulful.  It felt like Lynn was giving back, or perhaps just was evoking what felt natural in the embrace of our great mountain.
    I began to feel a special respect for Avalanche Peak.  I did not feel like I was conquering a mountain.  Much like I felt the first time I climbed the peak, I felt like I was in a kind of symbiosis with it.  Only respecting its steep grade and feeling the power of the place made me feel like I was drawn into it.  Yet, somehow, I felt like the mountain was served by having us there, having our ability to put perspective on things, to see it as beautiful.  It didn't just sit there for all posterity.  It wasn't just by itself left alone.  That might seem like a pleasant thought, but I think it rather cold in a way.  What I bring to nature is my ability to see things as beautiful.  Does the beauty still exist if I'm not there to see it as existing?  Perhaps, in the mind of God, but then still somewhere.  And, why not somewhere else, too?  Why not in me?  Why is it not possible for the mountain to exist with my ability to embrace it, to see it for what it is, to cherish it for what it is?  That thought would dominate me more the following week, but it was there also that night.  As I ached and began to feel the pain of the climb, I loved the cause of that feeling.  I loved how the mountain defied gravity to kiss the sky in this place, allowing a view on even more wonders.
    It did not seem too long before we reached the peak, although we were noticeably slowed at the end by Reuben.  Yet, in the end, Reuben made it to the top.  He had not yet frozen to death because the climb itself kept him warm.  He was tired and ached and was somewhat despondent, but he made it.  We were all so happy for him (and for ourselves).
    The peak was somewhat bizarre.  This entirely clear night had turned into a kind of surreal fog at the peak.  At the bottom of the final ridge before the very top, it was still clear enough to look out over the vastness of Yellowstone Lake.  The water was black, simply visible as a black sheen surrounded by terrain.  Out in the distance, we could see the lights of the villages along the lake.  There was Fishing Bridge and Lake, and far off we could clearly see the lights of our home, Grant Village.  Our hearts and eyes turned there, and we were stunned by the brilliance of the lights from that distance.  They were so small on this giant landscape.  Yet, there they were; it was strange to see home 50 miles away.  It was amazing to be able to trace the route we had taken to get here.  What a sight!  The peak, as I said, had this amazing fog.  On the top, all we could see was fog and the moon above us.  There was a rainbow surrounding the moon, and that was it.  We could see the edge of the peak ridge, and it looked just like one might imagine the surface of the moon.  Yet, there the moon was looking down on us.
    At the peak, Price and Lynn cuddled together on one edge of the peak looking north, while Patrick, Reuben and I, hid from the wind on one side of a rock on the peak looking south.  The weather was very cold.  It was probably not more than 10 or 15 degrees outside, and so you can imagine how cold Reuben must have been, but he mostly stayed quiet as he tried to stay as warm as possible.  Patrick would look longingly at Lynn and Price on the other side of us.  He told me, "That's what it's about.  I really wish I had something like that."  I get tears in my eyes right now thinking about Patrick's dream.  For him, the experience at the peak where the three of us were still left him envious for what Price and Lynn were sharing.  The moon and the company was still incomplete for him, as spectacular as it was.  I felt some of that, too.  I was desperate in my life to be loved, and I knew what Patrick was talking about.  This was too profound a moment and a place not to have a chance to share it in the most romantic way possible.  And yet, and yet, I was not feeling quite like Patrick.  For once in my life, I felt okay with where I was, felt like I was being hugged and held all the same.  For once, I felt that maybe I could be happy in my life not with someone else.  I felt this great conflict inside, though.  I still wanted it, still thought about it, but something was overpowering me.  And, that was part of the magic that night.  If you knew me, knew what a romantic I am, it would seem impossible that this happen to me.  Why did this experience of the senses change that?  Where is the cause in the moon, the fog, the peak of the mountain, the cold air, the lunar landscape at the peak?  I'll tell you why.  I was touched by something magical, something more.
    I was beginning to get cold.  We probably sat up there no more than fifteen minutes because it was frighteningly cold and windy.  The moon doesn't have wind like this, and gravity isn't so overwhelming on the moon, but it still somehow felt like the moon because it looked so much like it.  I did not know why it was so cloudy at the peak while it was so clear everywhere else, but it was.  The hard part about figuring out when to leave was that I did not want to interrupt Price and Lynn.  I think we waited for them to come to us before we decided to leave.  I'm sharing my experiences, but I suspect Lynn's may have been the most profound of all, and I wish she could tell her story.  And, I think we all sensed it, and that's one reason why letting Price and Lynn decide what to do seemed only right.
    We descended by way of the glaciers on the peak, and we were running around and being a little silly at this point.  We knew it was going to be easy sailing (except for bears) at this point, and so all the drain of climbing the mountain would be rewarded by the climb down.  The glacier, however, made us stop.
    I cannot tell you what we saw on the glacier in any detail that will allow you to understand what I mean.  It was simply mesmerizing, and every one of us saw it and stopped to reflect about what it meant right then and there.  You know something is special when that happens.  Too often we don't have a full awareness of a moment to stop and wonder at it.  This was one of those moments, however, and I will never forget what it looked like and how we reacted to it.  All around the white snow, there was more than just white snow.  On the white snow, prismatic lines, in the full color of rainbows, flowed very fast throughout the snow moving all around us.  It looked, as I generally describe it, like a river of glitter.  However, that's not the right description.  It was this intense movement of color, just flowing erratically in all sorts of ways around us.  It danced and continued to dance.  You almost expected an angelic chorus to arise, although it didn't.  I have not begun to explain this amazing sight, this crazy lighting effect on the snow, this wonder to behold.  We stopped, knowing that this was one of those magic moments, knowing that this was not something we could even explain to those who had been touched by Yellowstone's magic.  Either Price or Patrick said, "You know what?  We will never be able to explain this to anyone, to any of the people at Grant, to anyone at all."  We knew he was right.  We said he was right.  We were simply dumbfounded by this vision before us, not in a dream, but really and truly just below the summit of Avalanche Peak.  It made us slightly sad to think that this was not something we could share with the world. Yet, the excitement of this, the sense of euphoria that overcame us, the WOW of it all made me feel like the luckiest person in the world.  I think of all the people who simply dream of a candlelight dinner, a walk along the beach, and making love by a warm fire, and I honestly find myself pitying them because they have not been exposed to the truly romantic power and imagery that I have been exposed to.  On this night, I could not share it like Price and Lynn shared it, but it gave me inspiration, ideas, and then later in my life, a different kind of magic (the one that Patrick longed for).
    The hike down the mountain was joyous.  We raced down switchbacks at the top, sliding down very loose and jagged rocks.  This caused erosion to be sure, and it's one of those things that I will not do again, but I remember with fondness the thrill of the slide.  I don't remember it with as much fondness, though, as I do those things that were truly pure in my experience.  Still, I'd be lying if I told you that I didn't enjoy sliding down switchbacks.  Of course, we'd have to wait for Reuben to make his way down much more slowly.  Yet, who cared?  As we marched down, Price and I started to chant very loudly in a kind of nonsense language we were making up.  That being the case, I can't repeat any of it because I don't remember it.  However, the closest I can come to giving you a sense is that it was a mix between the "Yo he ho, Yo ho" chants of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, and the similar nonsense of Cab Calloway.  There were a lot more syllables involved, though.  I would give a nonsensical chant very loudly, and then Price would respond.  We did this back and forth most of the way down the mountain.  The others stayed silent, although I think they enjoyed that we were having fun.  They didn't give off any vibes that they were horribly annoyed by our wild banter.  I was having so much fun, if only because I just loved being mindless and silly sometimes, just loved it that I found a partner to blabber with.  There was a kind of chaotic melody to what we were chanting, and it felt so free.  I think, over time, we even developed a kind of chorus that kept repeating, although again there was nothing coherent about what we were yelling out.
    The night wasn't over.
    At the bottom of the mountain, I thought we were just going to pack it up and go home.  We had made good time, and it seemed like I might get a fairly decent amount of sleep before work.  Reuben by now was the walking dead and headed straight for the car.  He went in it and fell asleep.  I waited outside of it for awhile, but the others did not come.  I walked over and found them lying down on their backs in the middle of the road going out to the East Entrance.  They were simply looking quietly up at the stars.  This was one of many moments that summer where I felt like I was still too young, still not getting it, still not understanding the power of a quiet moment.  They were just looking up at the stars and were in no hurry to leave.
    So, I joined them, and I got another lesson in beauty.  Up above us were the stars.  They weren't as overwhelming as other nights because the full moon blocked them out.  Yet, they were still more beautiful than anything I had ever seen, even when I lived in the rural parts of Ohio.  Most people have no sense of what air pollution has done to their lives, especially in the eastern half of the United States.  You do not understand how much of the sky you are missing.  Even though this was a full moon night and I could not see not even 1/4 as much as I could on a night without the moon, the sky was this unbelievable maze of stars.  You could not make out major constellations very easily because all the stars looked so bright, and there were just so many of them.  They were so beautiful.  Then, I saw my first shooting star.
    I was 19 years old, and I had never seen a shooting star.  Can you believe that?  I had never seen one even though I spent countless nights back home looking for one.  I'd ask, "How will I know when I see a shooting star?"  My dad told me that it was obvious.  I sometimes wondered if certain flickers I had seen were shooting stars, but they weren't.  I know they weren't because my dad was right.  A shooting star is obvious.  I was just amazed by seeing it.  The light streaks by your eyes so fast.  Most of you, if not all of you, know what I mean.  Yet, I was fairly old to be seeing my first one.  I was just so joyful laying there looking up, feeling silly as we just lay in the middle of a road that would be very busy during the day.  The only vehicle that disturbed us that night was an ambulance.  That was ironic.  I kept laughing at the thought of us being run over in the middle of the night by an ambulance.  It made us all laugh.
    We stayed there for at least half an hour.  It was a very special time on a very special night.  We had made it up the mountain, seen wonders, felt wonders, heard wonders, and now it was time to go home and spend the next hour smelling the wonder that was Reuben.
    And, there was Reuben when we got to the car completely passed out snoring the night away.  The smell was so bad that we went the whole cold ride home with the windows open.  I think we were too much at peace with the world to do anything but laugh and think it only fitting that this was the result of things.  We were so happy for Reuben that he had made it, even if he seemed to be largely in the background.  Patrick put a tape of Fleetwood Mac's greatest hits into the car stereo, but it didn't wake up Reuben.
    The theme of the night to me of the previous Monday may have been the angst of the Violent Femmes, but this night will always have Fleetwood Mac associated with it.  In fact, my whole Yellowstone experience is brought to mind every time I hear Fleetwood Mac.  The funny thing is that I wasn't at all a fan of the group when I came to Yellowstone and was listening to the music in the car.  Yet, as nostalgia grew, as the songs played in the night, as I sensed that the evening would soon be a memory, the music seemed to fit more and more.  As time would pass, the lines, "'Cause when the loving starts and the lights go down and there's not another living soul around, you can woo me until the sun comes up and you say that you love me" had more meaning.  Tonight was an introduction to that mood.  There was more magic possible than even the artists realized.  I knew it and felt it.  The sound was palpable.
    As we approached Fishing Bridge, there was a big bull bison in the middle of the road.  He was a dark silhouette in the night.  He was simply standing there, not moving, not looking like he wanted to move.  He was an awesome spectacle.  I remember how his eyes had this amazing deep blue glow from the light of the car.  All our friend was was a big black statue with deep blue eyes.  Our night should have been over, and yet things like this kept happening.  There was the stars, and then the music, and now this enchanting and mysterious animal.  Before getting to West Thumb, a black bear crossed the road right in front of us.  It was the first bear I had ever seen in Yellowstone or in the wild.  It wasn't too big; just a flash running in front of us.  I couldn't believe it.  I mean, that was something big, my first Yellowstone bear, and yet in this night, it seemed just to be one more thing.  However, it wasn't.  I remember telling Reuben when we got back how much he had missed sleeping in the car.  He was unimpressed, but I was.  I just couldn't believe what a night this had turned out to be.
    It really was an amazing night that wouldn't have happened without a commitment to doing something slightly crazy with our Monday nights.  This night was as equally profound as the night in the Boiling River.  It was more amazing in its spectacle, if not as amazing in its soothing and relaxing calmness.  Yet, as I said, it was equally profound.  I was touched by both Lynn and Patrick in ways I hadn't expected.  I was happy for Reuben's success at making his first hike one to remember.  I felt extra camaraderie with Price as we chanted down the mountain.  I felt a new love for the mountain itself, and I felt like it let me in on some of its beauties and mysteries, beauties and mysteries only visible at night.  The sky opened its love to me, and the buffalo let us gaze into its eyes.  I even saw a bear.  I had new theme songs to explore, new opportunities, a new tomorrow to think about without stop.  And, yet, as I've explained to you many times, in Yellowstone, tomorrow was today.  Tomorrow was a dirty word.  Dreams in Yellowstone are being lived in the present, and tomorrow only represented an end to the dreamy reality.  I didn't want to think about tomorrow.
    However, I did think about the upcoming Monday.  It was time for an old dream to live again in the home it was meant to be lived.  That Monday night was the most special of all that summer, but it would not have been possible without these Monday nights, without the Boiling River or Avalanche Peak.  They prepared the way for something truly special.  It was the stuff of magic.
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