Finding The Line: Glacier National Monument

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I am finding that I am on an active and indirect search for the balance between experiencing nature and internal thought as an individual and with others. I, by myself, can only look at things from one angle at a time, but I can also move as fast as I desire. On the other hand, as with the group of honors students and professors on our trip to Glacier National Monument, I can see things from as many angles as there are people. Both ways of experiencing have their own advantages and I crave them equally: together and alone; alone together. The individual may not be as important as they think. Individuals together; that is a progression that exceeds.

I will walk alone in the woods among you all and in that way we will all equally be together all the way to the water’s edge and out past the mountains and sky, as fast as my mind will take me; as fast as our minds will take us all.

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We got to Glacier National Park, set up camp near Lake McDonald, and oriented ourselves that first night. The deer helped a bit.

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The next day we hiked a mountain pass with a 2,000 feet elevation gain in less than 2.5 miles to Trout Lake.

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The day wandered and we drifted onward. I watched as the connections among us grew deeper and the laughter louder. We became a single unit and slipped those five days into eternity. In that moment it felt like I never lived in New York City. I feared that if I didn’t get back soon I never would.

We took the Going-to-the-Sun Road and stopped at Logan Pass on our way to Two Medicine.

Going-to-the-Sun Road spans 50 miles, twisting, turning, soaring through mountains, the Continental Divide, and wild interior of Glacier National Park. Many consider this to be the most beautiful drive in the country. The burning question on my mind is: how much more amazing would it be if we were able to hike the road instead of drive it?

Talk of building a transmountain road first began around 1910 after congress designated the park. We are told “the businessmen were convinced to support the transmountain road because of the additional tourist dollars the road would bring to their local communities” (see Going-to-the-Sun Road – An Engineering Feat). George Goodwin designed plans for the road in 1918 and construction began in the 1920’s. The men working on the road climbed 3,000 feet daily for work and carried much of rock out and down the mountains by hand. “In the late fall of 1932, after three decades of construction and more than $2,000,000, the first automobile passed over the entire 51 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road” (Going-to-the-Sun Road – An Engineering Feat).

Here are a few photos from the drive.

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Here are some pictures from the Logan Pass area.

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On to Two Medicine. It came to me like a dream; swimming the way through a road in the sky. I was drowning. It’s alright to be lost and confused and submerged. I couldn’t drink enough to feel. I consumed too much too fast. My breath took in only water. The mountains supervised my demise; the drowning of my senses; the waking of my dawn.

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One spot out here, I suppose, is as good as any other or so I am led to believe. We backpacked the Continental Divide from Firebrand Pass to Lake Ole in the backcountry, taking with us all the supplies to survive a two-day journey. Sure, I think to myself, it isn’t enough time and then I say: but actually, it is. Time is relative. The days spent out here are lives all their own. As far as my mind and body was aware, I had been out there twenty-some years with another sixty to go. Well, maybe I was there thirty five. Who knows. It didn’t matter much as I breathed in my reflection rippling as the trout discovered air and we a pond. The rain began to break as I wrote, the storm came again. Even as the bugs bit, I was home.

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