A month and a half ago, Elizabeth and I traveled to Montana to see Glacier National Park. It’s tucked into one of the last truly wild places in the lower 48 – the Livingston and Lewis Ranges of northern Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. Of course, the frontcountry of Glacier can’t be characterized as wild anymore, given how it’s overrun by people. But the length of our trip allowed us to get back into the backcountry, where Elizabeth and I could see as many bears as people for hours at a time.
Glacier is magical. There is truly nowhere else in the continental United States that I’ve seen that compares. It’s just an insanely elite park at all times, from all angles, and in all corners of the park. The remaining glaciers cling to the mountainsides best shaded from the sun, trying to hang on for as long as they can. The mountains themselves don’t look like American mountains. Even the imposing peaks of the central Rockies are rounded off at the top, smoothed by time and wind and snow. Not the mountains within Glacier. Everything is jagged, and some mountain walls are razor-thin. The sheer geologic forces in play are astonishing. And that doesn’t even get into the wildlife of continental America’s foremost bear habitat.
We had a week to enjoy the area. I’m glad we took the week, because basically every day brought something new and breathtaking. I took hundreds of pictures and videos. And that’s not an exaggeration – I have an SD card to prove that I did. There were so many different times that I went “holy cow, I just want to sit here and enjoy this view”. So many times, I instead took another dozen pictures. So many stories. And, as the trip wore on and lack of sleep caught on, there were so many moments where my nerves frayed.
How do I capture all of this on my blog? If I commit to writing another Grand Teton/Yellowstone-style series, it won’t get done until next summer. There’s a lot less time to blog in my life as an NWS employee than as a grad student. My issue is that I just *can’t* do anything by half-measures, and I bet that applies here as much as it applies anywhere else. So starting tomorrow, writing on the long blog series begins. Glacier deserves the hours of attention I will give it, if nothing else.
I hope anyone who reads this enjoys the blog series. Glacier National Park is incredible. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime place, and I’m glad I got to share the one week of my lifetime that I went there with Elizabeth. This series is dedicated to her, the best national park companion I’ve ever had.