“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” – John Muir, Our National
Memories of a Non-Wandering Wanderer
I’m a firm believer of the philosophy that the journey is as important as the destination, and this day (July 29, 2001) was a great example of that. Leaving my bags in Kalispell, I set out with a packed lunch to explore Glacier National Park. I wouldn’t return back to the hotel until late that evening, but oh what a day it was.
According to my sketchy journal notes, the day was windy and cold, but well worth enduring. Among the day’s wonders were:
Going to the Sun Road. This narrow and twisting 50-mile, two-lane road spans the national park. It was begun in 1921, and completed in 1932, and was the first such project to have been registered as a National Historic Place, National Historic Landmark and Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Sections of the road are banned to vehicles over 21 feet in length, 10 feet tall, and eight feet wide. While I drove it in a 2000 Subaru Odyssey Sport, I would have just barely been able to make the trip in Gypsy Lee, the small RV I lived and traveled in from 2004 to 2013.
I drove the scenic highway slowly this day, and enjoyed every minute of the journey, The Weeping Wall is a spectacular sight as you drive pass it on the Going to the Sun Road, or sometimes through it. It’s a waterfall created both by Mother Nature and the blasting done to build the road. Since it was almost August, the wall’s shower heads were turned to low, but in the photograph above, you get a glimpse of it at its spring peak.
A Grizzly Bear was the cause of a traffic jam on the road. It was quite away off, but I got a good look at it through my binoculars. As much as I had been an outdoors person most of my life, and the fact that I had visited Yellowstone more than a dozen times, I had never seen a bear in the wild. I had seen moose, elk, raccoons, deer, beavers, weasels, bobcats, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, possums, porcupines, etc., etc. But I had never seen a bear until this day. It was a momentous moment.
Trail of the Cedars, a one-mile loop hike, which provided views of a meadow that was overflowing with purple flowers, and offered views of mountain goats and Avalanche Gorge, if you took a side trip over a footbridge, which of course I did.
I noted all these things in my journal, plus a note that I have no idea now what I was thinking about when I wrote it. In my own handwriting were the words: “But God isn’t an old woman,” underlined just like that. Perhaps it was a bumper sticker I thought was odd? Or perhaps it was a bit of conversation I overheard? Reading it bought back no memories of why the statement was on the page.
I love surprises when I’m traveling, and those words now surprised me. What fun!
Bean Pat: Cape Code http://tinyurl.com/zbh4ujo Scenes from a novel.