|Surrounded by fires and the thickest black smoke.|
My 3-week Montana vacation was nothing like I'd planned.
Oh, the fires. Closing so many trails. The air thick with smoke, my sensitive throat burned, my eyes got red and puffy. On the worst days, I got a panicky feeling that made me think “flee, get out of here, danger, escape” like a wild animal. I contemplated leaving Montana, but then I realized that I didn't want perfect skies— I wanted to be in Montana, regardless of what came along with that. So, I hiked through the smoke.
Without the sense of purpose that a long trail or section hike can bring, I found satisfaction doing surveys during many hikes—mostly for Glacier National Park’s Citizen Science program.
|Surveying for loons at Upper Kintla, Glacier National Park. Photo by D. Mayes.|
|Hiking with friends visiting from Philadelphia. Piegan Pass, Glacier National Park.|
|These forests are adapted to fires, and regrowth happens quickly. Flattop Mountain Trail in Glacier.|
|Jumping above the smoke, Mt Aeneas, Jewel Basin, Montana.|