NORTH AMERICA REUNION 1998
By Yao Qi
All families arrived in Denver around noon time. They are
Gu Kejing & Ge Shan Hua from Vancouver, Canada;
Jin Ruichun & Chen Lifang from Detroit, USA;
Lou Shituo, & Yao Qi from Halifax, Canada;
Stanley & Meili Wang from New York City, USA;
Zhou Benhua and Mao Yu Hua from Beijing, China.
We arrived in the Airport Comfort Inn at about 1:40pm.
Stanley and Ruichun picked up a full size van from Denver downtown.
We met at the front door of the Inn, and left Denver by taking I-25
north to Cheyenne, I-80 west to Rawlins, and then 287at west
all the way down to Yellowstone National Park.
We arrived at Flagg Ranch near the south entrance of the Park at
Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 as the world's first
and oldest national park. The human history of the park is
evidenced by cultural sites dating back 12,000 years.
The commanding features of Yellowstone as a national park,
are the geothermal phenomena (there are more geysers and hot springs
than in the rest of the world combined), the colorful Grand
Canyon of the Yellowstone River, fossil forests, and the size
and elevation of Yellowstone Lake.
We visited the Old Faithful geyser and other nearby geysers, and
the fountain paint pot. Later in the afternoon, from 3pm to 5:40pm, we
enjoyed a boat rafting through the snake river and then the
We saw rainbows beside the lake on the way to a restaurant for
our dinner. We also saw the rainbow again the next day around the
* Visited the Mammoth Hot Springs.
* Visited the Canyon, the Upper Fall and the Lower Fall.
The Grand Teton rises to 13,770 feet above sea level. Twelve
Teton peaks reach above 12,000 feet elevation, high enough
to support a dozen mountain glaciers.
With the establishment of Grand Teton National Park in 1929,
and later additions in 1950, culminating in today's park, a wide
variety of resources are protected for future generations.
(*) "Tetons" is actually a French word meaning "breasts"
Don McKenzie is credited for making the Teton name stick when
he crossed the area in 1816.
At afternoon, we took 26 east through Riverton, Shoshoni to Casper,
and then, took I-87 north to Buffalo. We stayed at the
Crazy Horse, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial
* Visit the Devils Tower National Monument
In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt designated Devils Tower as the
nation's first natural monument. It is actually the core of
a volcano exposed after millions of years of erosion
brought on by the Belle Fourche River and the weather.
We visited Devils Tower National Monument in the morning. The tower
looked so high and large when we were close to it. The rocks
and boulders around the base of the tower are actually broken
pieces of columns having fallen from the sides. At its base,
there is a paved walking path around the perimeter,
a distance of one and a quarter miles. The tower is 865 feet high. We found
3 climbers on the tower (about 500 feet high!).
We drove through Sundance, WY, Spearfish, Deadwood, and had lunch there.
There was a huge Harley Davidson Motorcycle event: the 58th Annual
Sturgis Rally & Race, from Aug. 4 to 6. The small town was very crowd! We
took a walk through the main streets along side the motorcycle drivers.
* Visited the Crazy Horse.
The Crazy Horse mountain carving now in progress will be the world
largest sculpture (563' high, 641' long, carved in the round).
It is the focal point of an educational and cultural
memorial to and for the North American Indian.
The memorial is not a federal or state project. It is a non-profit
project begun in 1947, when sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski (1908-1982)
arrived in the Black Hills to accept the invitation of Lakota chiefs
to carve Crazy Horse. The project is being continued by
Korczak's wife, Ruth, and their family.
We also visited the beautiful Indian Museum of North America, the
sculptor's studio-home and workshop.
* Visited the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial
Mount Rushmore is a memorial to the growth and development of
the United States of America. The sculptured busts of Presidents
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and
Abraham Lincoln represent the American character, its ambitions
and visions as a nation.
We viewed the laser show at 9pm.
We stayed at the Motel Rocket in Custer,SD.
We visited the Wall Drugs - a large mall - on the way to the
Badlands National Park which is located in southwestern South Dakota.
Badlands National Park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of
sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended
with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the
Established as Badlands National Monument in 1939, the area was
redesignated "National Park" in 1978. Over 11,000 years of human
history pales to the eons old paleontological resources. Badlands
National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds,
dating 23 to 35 million years old.
We then drove away from SD, and took 90 west to Rapid City, 79 south
to Hot Springs, and 18 west to Mule Creek, then 85 south through
Lusk, Torrington to Cheyenne. We had a good dinner in a small Chinese
restaurant there. We drove south and arrived in Denver at
The park is located in Estes Park, Colorado, 240-mile from Denver via
Boulder. We stopped at the beautiful campus of University of Colorado
for a few minutes. The park's rich scenery typifies the massive grandeur of
the Rocky Mountains. We drove around Trail Ridge Road crosses the
Continental Divide and looks out over peaks that tower more than 14,000
feet high. we also visited Alpine Visitor Center, and viewed exhibits
about the history of the alpine tundra environment.
Finally, We arrived in Grand Lake and took some pictures there.
We had a farewell dinner in " Xi Lin Men" Chinese restaurant in Denver.
Glass and steel tower give the Mile High City of Denver a serrated profile
as dramatic as the mountain skyline to the west. We visited downtown
on a hot sunny day.
4 families left Denver in the afternoon. Lou Shituo and Yao Qi stayed
one more day to visit Colorado Springs.