A close friend, the late John Sturman, and I both retired in spring 1999. While we shared ham radio and bicycling, our ways physically parted that spring. He and his bride drove to Yellowstone Park to work the concessions for the summer, Barb and I hopped on a Suzuki motorcycle and headed for Arizona in order to experience the Sonoran Desert. After we were settled we established a Morse code contact every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon, Mountain Time. Our point was not to share a lot of information, but hobby, and maintain our friendship. Our chats usually lasted about a half-hour. Code is slow–20 wpm at best. as opposed to about 250 using sideband (voice). But maintaining a friendship is not based on words exchanged, It’s based on time shared.
In the autumn of 1999 John was heading home. So through the use of email, telephones, and ham radio we managed to schedule a reunion at a motor park in Baker, Oregon, a night to share some savored rum and discuss our summer experiences. My experiences were run of the mill life on the low desert floor. John’s experience, however, was focused on the vacationing folks and activities occurring at Yellowstone Lake.
John, a skilled photographer and photo finisher–in the days before digital photos–quickly nailed a job in the photo lab. That afforded him the opportunity to process and view thousands of photos. Some interesting, others not so much so. However, a geological team was already established photographing the floor of Yellowstone Lake. Twice each week a younger member of the team brought in a few frames by for processing. This individual usually waited for the pictures. John, making certain the machines were reproducing the images on the film couldn’t help but notice this man’s shots were always of bump on the lake floor. A superimposed grid was displayed on each frame, but without the graduation values thereof, they meant little to John. Toward the end of summer the bump which was always centered appeared to have grown larger, but John didn’t know how much, millimeters, centimeters, even meters?
His new friend didn’t volunteer much information other than his team had been monitoring this subject for about fifteen years. This was the first year there was any activity other than the release of steam on occasion. When John asked what it was, he was told they didn’t know. It might be a new geyser. Maybe a volcano vent. maybe a volcano itself. It was too early to know.
John’s health began to fail and he was unable to return to the higher altitude of Yellowstone, so he and I were not able to discuss a second chapter. Now, twenty years later, it’s making headline news that generate theories and opinions that stretch from hither to yon.
This morning someone reported the sighting to four UFOs near Yellowstone Lake. True? Who am I to say? Another twenty years would put the date at about 2040. I wonder how the headlines will read?