Friday, July 24, 2015

The Most Beautiful Place

"What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?"
My reply: “Right here.”
 Doesn't get any better than this.  Poia Lake in Glacier National Park.
I'm an overnight backpacking trip.  How could I be surrounded by epic beauty as a weekend backpacker?
View of Kennedy Lake.
I am walking through incredible mountain scenery, U-shaped valleys, seeing glaciers and rock spires and hillsides of wildflowers. I make a connection with my hiking buddy that's meaningful and wonderful.  I have a sense of being immersed in the wild. 
Blanketflower sunrise over Poia Lake.
Having a best-ever conversations about life as we watch the evening hail storm from the shelter of our tarps.
 My favorite things are botany and hiking.  So this is pretty much the ultimate of both.
And I will be back at work tomorrow.  But it is work where I feel like I am contributing.  At this moment, I have a glimpse of what it is like to feel that balance I've been seeking.
Taking time out of hiking to do a mountain goat survey for the Citizen Science Program at Glacier.
View of Kennedy Lake.
I used to think that nothing could be better than backpacking long distance trails.  This trip is evidence that I can get into even more beautiful country, and have just as quality of an experience, with more life balance, as weekend backpacker.  I just had to take a new path in life.  Sure I still have my doubts about finding a permanent position.  I still wonder if I am "wasting" my PhD.  But I think in time I will figure that out too.
High point of the trip.  Red Gap Pass.
My first sight of a glacier.  They are melting and won't be around much longer.
On the descent to the trailhead, I ask, "Do those dark clouds look like smoke?"  But no one around knows if its really a fire.  How can the smoke build so quickly?  It looks close to my car.
The start of the Reynolds Fire.
Back at the trailhead, we learn its a fire,  the start of the Reynolds Creek Fire.  It grew to thousands of acres in the time it took us to emerge out of the backcountry, and grew to over 4000 acres a few days later.  Change, it happens fast.  You don't know what will happen next, but change is inevitable.

Don’t put things off.  Live your dream right now.  Make this weekend the best weekend ever.
Detour around the Reynold's Fire on the drive home.
This trip:
From the Many Glacier in Glacier National Park, we took the Red Gap Pass Trail and camped at Poia Lake, then went over Red Gap Pass and back through the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail to Many Glacier.  Backcountry permits were required.


  1. So beautiful! Glad you are experiencing the balance between the long trails and shorter ones. I am ready for a non-PCT style hike.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I still want to get back and finish the PCT sometime, but after this trip, I decided that this year, I will do more rambling, disjunct trips, and exploring around here in Montana for my vacation. This type of trip won't build my alphabet soup backpacking resume (haha) but I can't wait to explore the areas around my new Montana home.