I first witnessed her magnificence in the middle of winter. Her majesty was draped in deep pure snow. Silence enveloped me in the crisp cold air. It was my first experience with her grandeur and my visit was limited to exploration around the lake. My journey of discovery was only just beginning. It would be five years before I would return to Glacier National Park.
My family and I were on a “path with a heart” that was sometimes bittersweet. We were determined to move to Montana but business decisions had to be made and it took longer than we ever anticipated selling our house. We persevered and never gave up the dream.
When we finally made it to Missoula, in March of 2005, the weather was delightfully warm. We had some time to spare, (read Reckless Abandon) so we headed north to Kalispell. Our future was uncertain, but we had no fear. The drive through the Mission Valley was spectacular and the scenery surrounding the cerulean water of Flathead Lake was gorgeous. It was simply Montana; big sky, snow capped mountains and rolling green hills….my Marlboro Country. We headed to Glacier National Park where we spent a cold night in a tent in the snow covered Apgar picnic area. I had already fallen in love with Montana; Glacier National Park now captured my heart.
On reflection of living in Kalispell for the past five years and of my many jaunts to Glacier, I feel a sense of contentment. The Going to the Sun Road, the highway carved into cliffs, is always breathtaking and never disappointing regardless of how many times I see it. The hikes I take year after year always offer me a different and unique perspective. Being in the park and truly observing with eyes wide open, is a humbling experience.
Many people wax poetic about their experience in the park and in 1925, American playwright, Mary Roberts Rinehart said of Glacier ~ “There is no voice in all of the world so insistent to me as the wordless call of these mountains. I shall go back. Those who go once always hope to go back. The lure of the great free spaces is in their blood.”
As Glacier National Park celebrates 100 years of grandeur, I say Happy Birthday. You lift my spirits and bring peace to my soul.