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Tag Archives: Glacier National Park

The Path

The Path.

This is a short poem which speaks to the humble beginnings each of us lives. Somehow, we occasionally forget these humble beginnings and the idea that each moment is its own humble re-beginning. We live in the most immediate time possible, now.

Taking time and realizing the path is made with each new step is a humbling experience, sometimes humiliating and always human. All these words, humble, humiliate, and human, share a common root, the word humus.

A path made of humus reminds us that there is a cycle to life. Each moment passes into a never fully retrievable history. In each moment, we live our questions when we are mindful and attentive in the world, not as observers. We live in community with the world and all its phenomena, sentient and non-sentient.

Talk About Walking

When we were in Waterton Lakes National Park two summers ago, we were able to go down the big lake into Montana’s Glacier National Park and hike. As we got off the boat, we asked one of the guides where a good place to go would be. He asked where we wanted to go and I answered, “Just for a walk and see where it takes us.”

It would be difficult to get off the ‘beaten path as it is pretty rugged country. Despite this, I think some days it is nice just to wander and wonder where the day takes us. Philip Booth does a wonderful job reminding us there is so much outside these walls we think of as our life.

Where am I going? I’m going
out, out for a walk. I don’t
know where except outside.
Outside argument, out beyond
wallpapered walls, outside
wherever it is where nobody
ever imagines. Beyond where
computers circumvent emotion,
where somebody shorted specs
for rivets for airframes on
today’s flights. I’m taking off
on my own two feet. I’m going
to clear my head, to watch
mares’-tails instead of TV,
to listen to trees and silence,
to see if I can still breathe.
I’m going to be alone with
myself, to feel how it feels
to embrace what my feet
tell my head, what wind says
in my good ear. I mean to let
myself be embraced, to let go
feeling so centripetally old.
Do I know where I’m going?
I don’t. How long or far
I have no idea. No map. I
said I was going to take
a walk. When I’ll be back
I’m not going to say.

I Believe in All That Has Never Yet Been Spoken

I am getting back into a groove after my first full week home. I let things flow a bit this week. Rilke suggested letting go or not contriving in this poem. When I don’t over plan, I find I am more open and accept the flow of things much like the beginner’s mind of a child. Watching children engrossed in play is a reminder that can happen for me as an adult and, as it does, the river widens and flows in every widening channels. Life becomes somehow larger, but not in an explainable way.

Posting images of our trip through Glacier National Park is believing in all that has never yet been spoken. Nature allows me to speak without using words. It is a palette of creation which speaks without speaking and shares without words. It just is and teaches through its presence.

The role of sabbath is to rest on the swelling and ebbing currents and rest in each moment. Perhaps, as I do, I take an expanded mind and soul into next week.

I believe in all that has never been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me

so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear

without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,

but this is what I need to say.

May what I do flow from me like a river,

no forcing and no holding back,

the way it is with children.

Then in those swelling and ebbing currents,

these deepening tides moving out, returning,

I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels

into the open sea.

 

Logan’s Pass

Logan’s Pass includes the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. When I looked, the view was spectacular and breathtaking.  The park was named for the many glaciers that are part of the landscape and so visible through Logan’s Pass. The glaciers are slowly receding and some estimates suggest they may be gone by mid-Century.

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Looking straight across from the road, you can see the ice and snow almost at eye level and further out is Jackson Glacier. The road is dotted with short barriers and are not very wide.

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The Montana sky is a constant backdrop for the mountains, the ice and snow, and the green in the foreground.

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A person constantly feels like they are on the top of the world here. People refer to Glacier National Park as the Crown of the Continent and closeness to the tops of the mountains is a reason. Waterfalls are often in view.

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Here, there are no real barriers at the edge of the road.

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Kathy took this picture over her shoulder. It shows the switchbacks and curves in the road.

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I enjoy the contrast provided by the grey granite and the white snow and ice. There is stability and, at the same time, instability visible in nature. The granite looks like it forms a stairway to the top of the world.

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Glacier Park Mountains, Glaciers, and Logan’s Pass

Kathy took most of these pictures driving through Logan’s Pass. Glacier National Park is appropriately named. Most of the white spots in the pictures are glaciers or snow pack. There are about 37 glaciers left in the park and most of them are receding or shrinking in size.

We came through the park a later in the summer, but there we saw some of the wildflowers in bloom on the way up Looking Glass Hill overlooking Two Medicine Lake. The mountains and lake serve as a spectacular backdrop. We walked around the lake later.

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This is looking downstream from Running Eagle Falls or Trick Falls. The glacier on the mountain would likely be considered one of the 25 active glaciers in the park. An active glacier is one that is 25 acres or more. Over 90% of the park is wilderness.

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This is Jackson Glacier. Although it does not look very high, it is deceptive. The roads climb well up into the pass and travelers end up closer to the mountain tops.

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This is the tourist stop in Logan’s Pass with the mountains in the background. Parking is at a premium here so we did not get to stop.

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Most of the pictures we took going through the pass were from the car without stopping. Again, the peaks are not much above the road level.

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Waterfalls ribbon the mountainsides as they are constantly fed by the glaciers.

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If you look closely at the picture below, you can see about 3/4 of the way up the road on the left side. It is a slight darkening. The middle of the picture, below the background peak, is basically where the road reaches the summit of Logan’s Pass .

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Glacier Waterfalls

I am fascinated by waterfalls. It could be they offer paradox in their fury and the stillness found in their sources or in the pools that lay at the base of the falls. Glacier National Park offered opportunities to see waterfalls up close and from a distance

We saw this one from the car as we drove through Logan’s Pass. We saw several waterfalls that fell either right on the highway or right beside it. Literally, we shot pictures from the car as we drove. Parking is at a premium throughout the pass.

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I want to give perspective on driving through the pass. This is common with even more pronounced switchbacks in places. I can look out of the car window when there is vegetation along the side of the road, but my fear of heights is paralyzing. I don’t drive these roads. Kathy was a mountain goat in an earlier life and is far more comfortable with this driving.

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We walked in to Running Eagle Falls or Trick Falls. Earlier in the summer and spring, there are two waterfalls caused by spring run off from the snow melt. I copied a picture, which shows the second waterfall above the one in our picture. The link I used rated these falls among the top in the Pacific Northwest.
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We hiked into Avalanche Lake. We took pictures from both ends of the lake. The first picture shows a series of waterfalls coming down from the mountain side. The snow on the mountains is actually in the form of glaciers.

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We hiked around the lake and were able to take a few more pictures. Another hiker told us he tried to get closer, but once he was a few feet into the trees he said it was impassable. You can see in this picture that it does not look far but the underbrush is heavy. The link to Avalanche Lake has some pictures taken by someone who was able to get closer to the base of at least one of the waterfalls. As we got closer, the waterfalls look quite different with more ribbons appearing.

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We were furthest from this waterfall, but the ribbons were clearer as we got closer.

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I took two pictures in Logan’s Pass. This was one. Once we got to the top of the pass, it was less open and I was able to manage a camera shot. It was right beside the highway. I rolled the window down, as there was no parking and took this picture.

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Glacier Wildlife

Kathy and I went through Glacier National Park in Montana on our way home. Kathy traveled the route on her way to Spokane. Americans seem to build mountain national parks around the geography which means we saw little wildlife, but we did see some we don’t in Canadian mountain parks. This was clear on the Going to the Sun Road where we saw mountain goats. When we travel through Canadian mountain parks, we see mountain sheep which come down into the valleys during the summer. Goats stay high up where it is cooler. Unless a person hikes the back country, Waterton Lakes National Park, which borders on Glacier, does not have the goats for people to see easily.

This one was on the patch of glacier on the side of the road where it was able to stay cool.

Goat 1

This one posed. You can see they are somewhat comfortable with humans being around, but I still think of them as wildlife. It almost looked a statue.

Goat 3

As we hiked, I came around a corner and this spring’s fawn was separated from its mother and twin. I don’t know who was more surprised: him/her or me. Initially, we were 4 or 5 feet apart. Kathy had her camera and got great pictures. The background is part of an amphitheater and the deer were grazing around it.

Deer 1

The doe and another fawn were across the amphitheater, but I had inadvertently blocked the path for the first fawn to rejoin them. They made a kind of whistling sound to each other and the doe never appeared overly concerned. She actually grazed on the trees and waited patiently.

Deer 2

The separated fawn took off along a path that was across the clearing.

Deer 3

The fawn re-appeared across the amphitheater and they went off. It seemed like it was all in day’s work for them.

Deer 5

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