This is installment number four in a series on The Saga Of The Wilderness Lodge
We previously discovered that when one chapter ends a new one begins…and there
comes a time to turn the page…and there is inspiration waiting for all of us
http://www.keytothekingdombook.com/wordpress/?p=254 (part three)
In the earlier installments in this series we met the main players in this amazing back story and history of the lodge created by the DisneyImagineers
We now rejoin the saga…
That Is A Geyser!
Colonel Moreland learned the legend of the Fire Rock Geyser from the Indian elder known as Running Elk. The story begins the very first winter Moreland spent in the valley. According to reports it was a harsh one. His tent had been pitched on the shores of the lake …but it didn’t take long for him to realize this was a bad idea . The plan was bad on many levels and the combination of moisture from the frigid water and the cold wind that blew off the lake made it miserable and unbearable.
Looking for a better location and warmth, driven by common sense and a desire to get warm…he moved closer to the hot springs.
One morning he was surprised by the arrival of an Indian hunting party that used the same location for heat just like the Colonel. Offering them food, Moreland made friends and in return was told the tale of the area.
The legend was that during one especially bad winter, an Indian hunting party had been trapped in the valley by excessive snow. They built a fire and were forced to keep it burning continuously.
After five days, the rock beneath them began to crack and tremble. The next day, the trembling became even greater and as they placed another piece of wood on the fire, the Earth opened up and a great pillar of hot, steaming water erupted upwards, launching a nearby teepee high into the air like a skyrocket. The frightened group ran out of the valley telling all they met to avoid the location where they had angered the earth with their wasteful use of continuous fire.
That place, that location is the Fire Rock Geyser
Not The Usual Hole In The Ground
Georgie MacGregor,is another of the colorful characters associated with the story of the Wilderness Lodge. He was, for lack of a better description, an unlucky prospector, who arrived in the valley in 1852 seeking his fortune. According to the Silver Creek Star:
“Even if Ol’ Georgie was ‘a few logs shy of a full load’ in the common sense department, he was nevertheless cunning. When he approached the Wilderness Lodge, he presented himself not as a prospector, but as a cook. The frontier, at this time, did not have a surplus of chefs, so such skills were highly valued. The Lodge had become a gathering place for artists, naturalists and others, and Jenny thought Ol’ Georgie would be a welcomed addition. She offered Ol’ Georgie a room in the Lodge in exchange for his services. He responded, ‘Now, Miss Jenny, I reckon the best place fer me is yonder, by that thar stream. Thataways I won’t bother any of your guests an’ I’ll be closer to the trout. I kin clean the pans easier thataways, too.”
On the surface at face value, that sounded like a great plan from a man who was concerned about his role and the guests that would visit…but things are not always as they appear. Miss Moreland soon discovered MacGregor’s deception when in a surprise visit to his camp, she discovered cooking pans filled with water and silt from the stream since he was using them to pan for gold. So while he was trying to find gold he had to catch some fish to keep job as a cook, so she also found out that Ol’ Georgie was shooting trout point blank with his pistol to gather a meal to cook.
Jenny quickly hired a new cook, a former Army sergeant.
But MacGregor didn’t leave, he hung around doing odd chores including serving (but not cooking) breakfast.
According to the reports…
”On a supply run to the trading post for cooking utensils and fishing gear, Georgie returned with two crates. He took one to the kitchen and the other he carted off to his cabin. Ol’ Georgie was cooking up one last plan to uncover his fortune. The next morning, Ol’ Georgie doggedly served breakfast and slipped away quietly to his cabin. The guests were still gathered around the table, discussing how much better the food tasted when all of a sudden, a tremendous explosion shook the very foundation of the Lodge, knocking them to the floor.
”After collecting themselves, they scrambled down the stream in a panic. Where the stream once flowed gently over rocks was now a cavernous, smoldering hole, deep in the earth. Ol’ Georgie was no where in sight. His cabin was splintered and roofless. The group stood in silent amazement at the damage around them. A faint voice was heard from above. Ol’ Georgie had blown himself 20 feet up a pine tree, black as tar and barely conscious. A box labeled dynamite stood under the tree.
”It was the last time Ol” Georgie ever looked for gold or silver. And the cratered pool he blew into the ground serves as one of the fondest recreational pastimes at the Lodge.”
Today that hole in the ground is enjoyed by thousands of people…it is the swimming pool at the Wilderness Lodge today.
But what a great visual image…Georgie stuck up in the pine tree…
So Easy To Miss…But You Don’t Have To…
This wraps up our saga of the Wilderness Lodge.
There is more to the story to be sure. Why if you keep on digging you can find out where Moreland’s very first cabin is located today. The origins of the story as you have read come from the back story created by the Imagineers for the resort. Today most people are not even aware of the story but if you had been a guest and taken the time to read The Silver Creek Star, then you would have known the legend and the details of why things are created the way they are.
In the grand scheme of a family vacation, knowing those details don’t matter. Most guests will visit, have a great time, love the resort, and anxiously wait to return again. But those that do know the story will appreciate even more the detail and care poured into the places in the resort. Those that know the story have a story to share and know some “inside” information that makes the resort much more fascinating. The only difference between those that know and don’t know is…that someone took the time to notice.
I wonder sometimes if we don’t get so busy living life and rushing our way through the moments we are given that we don’t really appreciate the moments. Perhaps we should slow down just a bit, embrace the time we have, notice some of the details, and pay attention to the things happening around us…and we might discover that each moment becomes full of wonder and we appreciate them even more. Instead of living a moment that we might soon forget we might just create a memory that will last a lifetime.
Visiting the Wilderness Lodge is certainly a vacation of a lifetime, take the time and really explore the lodge…see the sights, remember the stories, and create some memories…they last a lifetime and become the stuff of legend!