It’s time to pass over the Divide again. This is my fifth crossing as the Divide winds its way north to south across Western North America. Like the others, however, this crossing is special. This pass has historical significance and adventitious romance. In the 1860’s, just as the west is really being settled, a cowboy, trapper and scout is the first white man to lead an expedition of scientists and naturalist through the pass. The good Army Engineer captain in charge remarks, “The pass is so narrow, it is difficult to determine at exactly which point the rivers change direction”.
Not far from the summit, great sadness. It is the “Refuge Point”. It is a tearful few minutes as I read of the great modern era earthquake that rumbled through here in the summer of 1959. As the earth shook uncontrollably, mountains crumbled. The roaring Madison River clogged and dams formed where they were never anticipated. People drowned. The refuge point is where the few lucky river bed campers were able to escape to high ground near the Divide. Panicked, they worked together. Heroes emerged and after some time smoke jumpers risked their own lives jumping to rescue the terrified refuge seekers. The landscape has been forever modified. It is now history, sad but true.