Glacier at last…

I’m back to the early days of this trip in that my emotions are all over the map! I’m down, I’m up, I’m confident, I’m insecure, I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m worried, I’m stable. The closer I get back to Seattle the “not knowing what I’m doing next” starts waving it’s big head at me, mocking my indecision. So getting back to nature, and finally seeing Glacier National Park, was perfect timing.

I drove through Glacier on the “Going to the Sun” road. It was very beautiful. I was still nursing the swollen, sprained ankle but had to stop at every turnout and hop out and take pictures. It was majestic, with inspiring views of lakes, glaciers, meadows with wildflowers…

 ….and ground squirrels that pose for photos.

I also saw my first mountain goats, mom and baby, perched high above me on a rock with the sun behind them. It was one of those breathtaking moments. I didn’t get a great picture but if you look close they are peering down from the top of the rock in the center of the photo near the sunbeam.

Before exiting the park I stopped at a river and hobbled carefully out to its edge to soak my foot in its banks. My meanderest Thoreau blog poem is always on my lips whenever I see a river or creek and I quote it aloud as a reminder of my journey.

I was born upon thy banks river

My blood flows in thy stream.

And thou meanderest forever 

At the bottom of my dreams.

I chose a few large rocks to haul back to the car to put under my left foot to raise it a bit. I was worried about the swelling, being in the car all day, it was starting to throb. One of the rocks fit perfectly and helped to alleviate the strain. I’m still hauling that rock around in my car.

I stopped at a visitors center to get a map and recommendations for easy trails for a wounded hiker. It was more important for me to get away from people than it was to see something jaw dropping. The peace of having the wilderness to myself is preferable. So when the ranger recommended a meadow walk that is remote and less populated, I knew I had found tomorrow’s destination.

I stayed two nights in Kalispell, MT about 45 minutes from the park and when I got into my hotel room, I heard music, opened the window and grinned as Wagon Wheel (“Rock Me Mama like a…”) welcomed me from the park across the street. To hear a band playing the song that I had such a great time dancing to in Jackson, WY (Teton Daydream PART TWO) was like a siren calling to me. I went over to the park but stayed only 20 minutes before the frustration of not being able to dance drove me back to twirling in my hotel room on one foot.

The next day I was off to my remote meadow hike up near Polebridge. It was off the tourist track, on gravel roads about an hour into the park. It reminded me of some of the roads I used to drive on with my girls on our annual road trip, dusty, and in the middle of no where, and I wished they were with me.

But out in the middle of this no where there was a saloon and general store with bakery. It was great fun to stop in and buy a fresh huckleberry bearclaw to take on my hike.

Since the hike was only a few miles, I took along paints and sketch pad. I walked a narrow path that looked like it hadn’t seen foot traffic for months. I loved it! It was perfect for my needs of getting away, I didn’t see another soul the whole afternoon, and it was relatively flat which was important for allowing my foot to heal.

The hike opened up into beautiful Covey Meadow with a view of the mountain peaks. I picked a spot as home base to draw, eat snacks and see pictures in the clouds as they floated overhead. That day solidified for me that I NEED the mountains. I must get out and be alone in the woods, it grounds me in myself, helps me feel, keeps me in touch with what really matters. I felt renewed and newly inspired by the time I walked back to my car.

I stopped at the Northern Lights Saloon next to the bakery, sat at the bar and ordered a slice of fresh-baked peach/huckleberry pie. There are about 25 residents that live out there in remote Polebridge and I met the doctor that works two days a week and hikes the rest of the time and a guy that works for the forest service cutting and clearing trees with a chainsaw. They told me stories of the animals they encounter in these remote areas, moose, mountain lions, bears and wolves, oh my!

 They kept me quite entertained and I marvel at the people who can live so remotely and simply. This day was just what the “doctor ordered,” sitting in a meadow, being alone, visiting with people with interesting lives. I felt like a new person. And again as I was driving out a Rascal Flatts a song came on that was so appropriate for my mood…

I woke up this morning

With this feeling inside me that I can’t explain

Like a weight that I’ve carried

Been carried away, away

But I know something is coming

I don’t know what it is

But I know it’s amazing, can save me

My time is coming

And I’ll find my way out of this longest drought 

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