Road Crew

Monday, June 6, 2016

Glacier

I planned Glacier to be short and sweet.  I have many great memories there but they are all from my pre-park obsessed days so I didn’t have a stamp or a magnet to prove it.  I also worried that the park would still be snowed in, which in fact was the case.  The Going to the Sun Road was closed, as the pass had still not been cleared of snow.  I was profoundly disappointed.  Logan Pass provides some of the most dramatic views anywhere from a drivable vantage point.  Unfortunately, the stop was complicated by an ever increasing anxiety over bears.  I really hadn’t gone to Yellowstone expecting to see so many bears whereas I expected bears in Glacier.  30 years ago a family friend was killed by a bear there.  So whatever I may say here, I do not take their danger for granted.
            With this in mind, I once again found myself running on the road both because I felt this less likely to surprise a bear as well as well to have increased traffic to ward them off.  However as I ran, I realized that lining the road, these were the exact sorts of foliage that the bears like to tromp around in.  They could remain well camouflaged and cool down there next to the streams.  Indeed, 12 miles into my run, I had the joy of looking over to find a bear on the other side of the road watching me.  As I ran off, he walked out and continued to stare at me.  It was much closer than I cared to see him without the reassuring glass and steel of my car encasing me.  Paranoid that the bear would suddenly break into a trot and join me for my final miles, I flagged a ride back to my car.
            Later when I was told that Logan Pass was open to those willing to go on foot, I was determined to go.  With the morning’s bear encounter fresh on my mind, the real problem was the 8 bear infested miles to make it happen.  This was one of those moments that I really had to step outside of myself.  I am not one to strike up casual conversations with random strangers.  This trip has forced me at times to engage with people when I would otherwise shy away.  Fortunately, when you are out in the woods, you tend to meet like-minded people that can appreciate your naïve questions and your occasional dependency on each other.  It was with that mind set that I raced to catch up to two cyclists, Dennis and Donna, who graciously allowed me to accompany them to the top and back.  I am incredibly grateful for their generosity in allowing me to crash their party and then inviting me over for drinks, too.  It was much needed conversation and community after what had been a long stretch without any socializing. 
            Logan Pass delivered.  In fact, I would count it as one of my most spectacular experiences of seeing the pass. Normally it is mobbed with people.  With only a few cyclists at the top, it was possible to get a sense of how this place probably felt for thousands of years: silent, solid and stately.  It is heartbreaking to know the glaciers will all be gone in just a few years, but their incredible power has certainly left a stunning legacy.
            So in spite of the very short visit, it was nonetheless, once again, memorable. 

Sledding on a glacier!

No really, I can take a picture of a moose


St. Mary Lake



4 comments:

  1. Good report on a beautiful, amazing opportunity!

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  2. Enjoyed being your bear body guards up and down the road and appreciate your being our cheer leader/coach. Love your blog and writing. Hope our paths cross again in our journies.

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  3. Enjoyed being your bear body guards up and down the road and appreciate your being our cheer leader/coach. Love your blog and writing. Hope our paths cross again in our journies.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed! Please let me know if you come to Arizona!

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