Friday, September 2, 2011

As It Was: 1959 West Yellowstone Earthquake

Late in the day, Draper and Nelly, a retired couple,
tried pulling into a Yellowstone campground with their
small trailer; but, it was fully occupied and so,
frustrated, they had to double back and pull into a
less desirable campground that they’d passed several
miles back up the road.  They bedded down and just
before midnight their trailer began to pitch and
shake.  Nelly, panicked, was only partly reassured by
Draper’s comment: “It’s just some old bull scratching
his ass on the corner of the trailer.  Go back to
sleep.”  The shaking soon stopped.

When they awoke early in the morning, the rest of the
campground was abuzz.  An earthquake had caused the
shaking in the middle of the night.  And the
campground that they’d not been able to stay at had
been obliterated by a huge rockslide.

Meanwhile, in Boise, Idaho, in our household the
closet doors had rattled and the baby’s crib squeaked
as it shook during the night from the tremors.

It wasn’t until the next day that we learned how close
my paternal grandparents had come to finding an early
rocky grave. The bodies of the 28 campers of the
doomed campground would never be recovered.

Nine years later, I was able to visit the site.  I was
astounded that the campground had been buried by a
huge rockslide that had been heaed from across the
valley from the opposite side.  It wasn’t merely a
slide of rocks that came down from above the
campground.  To this day, I’m haunted in remembering
looking across the newly formed lake with dead trees
standing upright in the valley at the naked side of the
mountain whose former slope was now under my feet
as I stood over the buried campers.No pictures can
impart the sense of devastating power in that scene.

It gives an especially ominous meaning regarding the
volcanic history of Yellowstone:

UAE's "The National" Paper

Before I started blogging at the's now defunct Reader Blogs, I used to spend a good bit of time reading online international newspapers online. Below are a few articles from a Abu Dhabi paper, The National, an English-language voice in the Middle East:

"Pakistani fertiliser fuels Afghan insurgents' bombs":
[The article's picture helps me realize how difficult it'll be to stem the flow of fertilizer into Afghanistan.]

"Stealth of Nations: no black and white when it comes to grey market"
[This led me to read the description of the book, Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, at]

"Caravans retire from the road for a golden moment on the track"
[Led to:
Caravan Banger Racing Warton Aug 07:]