All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yellowstone 3

As I mentioned, we really enjoyed just soaking in the beauty of God's creation in Yellowstone.  This is the best kind of soul medicine in my opinion--just being out in nature.  When I see and experience scenes like this, I can't help but be in awe of the God that created them!

The sunsets were particularly amazing!

Each evening the sky was painted differently.  Here are two pictures taken in the same valley on two different evenings.  You can see the same lake and trees in both.

And the nights were equally amazing.  Here's a shot of the moon that I took one evening after we finished watching a black bear wandering around, and the sun had set.

And this was a shot looking up at the Milky Way galaxy above our campfire-lit campsite.  I spent much of each evening, after the kids and Joy went to sleep, sitting outside by myself, looking straight up into the heavens with my mouth wide open in awe, shivering uncontrollably but unable to move.

Check back soon for a passing peak at the Grand Tetons as well as some awesome scenery in Utah.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Yellowstone 2

Here's some of the wildlife we saw in Yellowstone.  As I said, we managed to hook up with a group of "spotters" and they always seemed to know where the awesome animals were bound to be.  Here's a picture of us (except me obviously, since I snuck away to take this picture) with the spotters on a hill, watching a grizzly feeding in the distance.  I like this picture because it gives a sense of how big the country and sky felt, and how small we felt compared to it all.  And that's exactly the feeling we had the whole time we were there.

And here's a big grizzly.  I love the way the sun glistened off his silvery back.  He was digging up roots or mushrooms and eating them.

There were always bison around.  They seem mild-mannered, but from what I understand more people are injured or killed by bison than anything else in the park.

We saw several pronghorn.

And a wide variety of birds, both big and small.

The elk were in rut and it was so awesome to hear those huge bull elk bugling across the hills.  We nearly got our car smashed by a charging bull at one point--I had to floor it to get out of the way and he just missed us.

We came across this cute coyote one late afternoon as he or she was mousing in a meadow.  The kids loved it since he was close enough to see clearly without binoculars or scopes.  And he was so intense on his hunting he didn't seem to notice us.

We watched him carefully walk and sniff and walk and sniff, and then suddenly pounce and come up with a fat, furry mouse in his mouth.  One quick toss of his head and a gulp and the mouse was gone. And then he'd do it all over again.  I think we saw him dispatch at least three unlucky mice.

One morning we were rewarded for getting up early with the sight of two large bull moose feeding.  Can you spot them both?

We saw a lot of other neat stuff too--wolves, eagles, mountain sheep, etc.  I wish I could show you pictures of those too, but alas, I don't have a good enough telephoto lens to get the shots I always want.  Now if you happen to have an extra 5 or 10 grand laying around and a hankering to buy me a Canon super telephoto, or even better, the new 200-400 f/4L IS USM 1.4x, well I won't stop you. :-)  And then you could come take some nice safari pics with me in Africa in a year or two.  But unless or until then, we'll have to settle for the pics I can get with my 200mm and a teleconverter.

Check back soon and I'll have one more post from Yellowstone, featuring some of the stunning scenery we saw there.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Yellowstone 1

And now back to our family's National Park camping tour in September.  After Glacier NP we moved on to Yellowstone National Park, for many of us, our favorite National Park of them all!

Of course, we saw all of the famous stuff like Old Faithful (middle photo above), Mammoth Hot Springs (third photo below), the Yellowstone gorge and waterfalls (above), and a bunch of other grand things!

The thermal things are really cool and bizarre in some cases, but they weren't our favorite part.  Our favorite part was just simply soaking in the epic nature and wildlife that surrounded us everywhere.

We camped in a tent under the stars...and loved it!

Each morning I got up, when it was still very dark (AND FREEZING COLD!) and got a fire going and made coffee for Joy and me, a big thermos of hot cocoa for the kids, and another full of hot water for instant oatmeal later.  Then, while it was still dark (AND COLD), I'd wake up the rest of the family, and, with teeth chattering, we'd all pile on the layers of flannels and sweatshirts (wishing we'd have had a few more layers or some real winter clothes of some sort) and jump in the Yukon, driving to either the Lamar or Hayden Valleys to spot wildlife.  Sometime after sunrise, and usually in a spot where we were able to see a heard of something cool, we'd throw open the back door and have ourselves some instant oatmeal for breakfast.

In the early hours of the morning we shared the road with more animals than cars.  It was so much fun to see bison, antelope, wolves, black and brown bears, moose, fox, coyote, elk, deer, birds of all kinds, and so much more!  We listened to epic movie soundtracks while we drove--like "Dances With Wolves"--and the funny thing is, it seemed to fit.  O.k., so maybe we're dorks, but hey, it was fun!

We made friends with a group of hard-core animal spotters, and they were so, so nice to always share their spotting scopes with us, and to tell us where the best places were to see things.  They seemed to always know where there would be bear, or wolves, or something fascinating.  And they loved that our kids were so excited about it all.  Next time I'll have a post featuring some of the animals we saw.

By 10:00am or so the wildlife viewing was starting to fizzle a bit, and the rest of the Yellowstone tourists were just starting to crowd the roads.  So that's when we'd usually try to hit the trails, or get off the beaten path.  We're not really crowd-type people.

The weather at Yellowstone was very cantankerous.   I guess that's what we get for going in September.  So some days we wound up hunkered down in our tent, rain or hail pounding down outside with temperatures in the upper 30's.  But whenever we could, we got out and did some hiking, or nature observing.

Joy was doing some homeschooling along the way, and the kids were working on their Junior Ranger badges.  At Yellowstone that's quite an involved little program, and they had to work hard to get it done.  So they were always observing and finding interesting things along the way.  Isn't this such a cute picture of Joy and the twins spotting things in a stream?

Hannah was curious if dandelion "puff balls" smelled good.

And Tyler, well he's just always hamming it up whenever and wherever he has a chance.  Never a dull moment with five kids!  And we didn't have to work hard to obey the mandate to "make a lot of noise in bear country" to avoid surprising a grumpy bear.  Any bear that would have been surprised by was would have had to have been deaf!

All in all we just enjoyed being out in the vast wilderness that is Yellowstone, soaking in the clean, fresh air, and the litter-free beauty in every direction.

And stopping to admire every tree that was turning color--something we haven't seen for the past four years.

Sometime late in the afternoon we'd pack a picnic dinner, then head back out into the valleys to spot wildlife again.  Somewhere along the way we'd stop to have our picnic.  We had this spot all to ourselves...well, except for the coyote that came along looking for a handout.  No, we didn't give him any.  Don't worry, Hannah made sure we abided by all the park rules.

And as the sun set each evening, we were usually somewhere along a road, watching the bear, or the elk, or the bison, or simply enjoying the unbelievably beautiful sunsets that God painted each night.

Check back soon for the post featuring the animals we saw.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

You're Invited...

This coming Thursday, January 9th, from 9:00-11:15 am, my beautiful and amazing wife, Joy, will be the keynote speaker at "Mom to Mom."  This is a great program at our home church, geared towards mothers of young children.  It's free, and there's free childcare provided.  Many of you know Joy through her blog,  

Here's a great chance to come meet her in person, and hear what God has put on her heart to share with young moms.  For directions to our church, go here.  It will be held in the North Auditorium.

Then, on Saturday evening, January 11th, we'll be sharing about our ministry in Indonesia, and our upcoming transition to Africa, at 6:45pm in the Choir Room, also at Good Shepherd Community Church, our home church here in Oregon.  For directions go here.  

Our whole family will be there, and it should be a fun and encouraging time as we share stories of how God is working through MAF in Indonesia and Africa.  We'll be showing several videos and some exciting pictures.  It'll be pretty informal and it's the kind of thing that you'd probably want to bring your kids to as well.  We'd love to see you all there!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Typhoon Haiyan Relief Video

Here's a little video that I put together about the relief work that I was involved in with MAF, NTM and Helimission last month in the Philippines.  I think you'll find it encouraging.

Or you can click on this link:  Typhoon Haiyan Relief Video - YouTube