THE GREAT DIVIDE
Dr. James Merritt
1. One of the most fun trips I have ever taken
in my life was years ago when my wife and three sons
went out west to Colorado, and spent a week in a part
of the country we had never been in before. We did
everything from horseback riding to white water
rafting, to just exploring the great outdoors.
2. But one of the highlights for me, strangely
enough, was driving up to a top of one of the Rocky
Mountains and standing on what is called by some, "The
Continental Divide," and others "The Great Divide."
Geologists call it the Backbone of the Continent. Not
only is this where the Rocky Mountains reach their
highest peak, but it is what separates the rivers and
streams that flow eastward into the Atlantic Ocean
from those that flow westward to the Pacific Ocean.
The portion of the continental divide in the United
States is about 3,000 miles long and extends from
Glacier National Park in Montana to the Mexican
Boundary in Southwest New Mexico.
3. Here is a fascinating meteorological fact.
When a drop of water falls on the Continental Divide,
if it falls just a little to the one side of the
Divide; that drop of water will continue to go and
flow on toward the West until it goes out into the
4. But if that same drop of water falls and
turns to the other side of the Continental Divide, it
will continue to flow until it reaches the Mississippi
Valley, down into the Mississippi River, down into the
Gulf of Mexico, and finally out into the Atlantic
5. As I stood on top of that mountain peak and
looked at that imaginary line crawling beneath my
feet, it hit me how two drops of water could seem to
start so nearly in the same place, and yet actually
wind up oceans apart. That is exactly the way it is
with people. There are people who come from the same
backgrounds, have the sam ...
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