I have always been a summer person. I look forward to spring because that means summer is just around the corner. Except for the leaves bursting with color, I’ve never been much of a fan of fall because that means winter is next. Here in Chile it is fall which means that dreaded season is next. So I drug out some pictures from spring in Glacier National Park.
Last summer we saw many amazing places and lots of wildlife. Some were expected and others were a complete surprise. The first surprise was spotting a young bighorn sheep in Zion National Park. In Rocky Mountain NP we saw elk. Driving in Wyoming I had to stop the car to get pictures of a herd of antelope.
In Yellowstone we were hiking on a trail and had to walk by that big bison. Being that close did make me a little nervous. After all, he was definitely a wild animal. Further north in Glacier NP is where we saw the adorable young mountain goat sticking close to mom. On the same hike to Hidden Lake we saw the furry little marmot. Legend has that they will eat anything they can sink their teeth into.
It wasn’t until we got to Canada’s Glacier Waterton NP when we finally saw bear. It’s hard to tell from the photo whether this is a brown bear or a grizzly. A brown bear’s nose is fairly straight and a grizzly bear has a more rounded nose. It’s hard to tell from the photo which it is and I stuck to using my telephoto lens instead of getting closer. And finally we saw caribou near Jasper Alberta. They are huge!
I am always happy when I can photograph animals in the wild and feel fortunate when I spot them. When asked why I’m an environmentalist who wants to save habitats, these photos are my answer. One of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, recognized that states cannot be trusted to save the land and protect it from commercial exploitation. I abhor what’s going on in the West with a few people who feel the federal government has no right to protect land for future generations.
Spring in the mountains comes later than in most parts of the US. Flowers burst with color and wildlife comes out of the dens, nests and caves. Moms shed their shaggy winter coats and the kids are adorable in their fluffy white fur. This pair of mountain goats were sighted at Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park.
Denial doesn’t slow it or stop it. Facts remain unaffected by opinion and political rhetoric. By 2030 the namesake glaciers the park is named after will have all melted. When I look at the pictures I took on our travels last summer I am saddened with the knowledge that soon all that may be left are images like these of Glacier National Park.
After working two decades in science and research fields, Wooly finds the practice of construing opinion as scientific fact misrepresentation at best and using statistical outliers to promulgate bogus science that promotes a hidden agenda an even more abhorrent practice.
Enjoy these pictures and please consider we have the privilege of experiencing the real thing, something future generations may be denied. Which plants and animals will survive after the glaciers melt?
I will leave you today with these final thoughts. Allowing the most serious issue humanity has ever faced to become a political football is wrong. Doing the right thing for future generations will require honesty and sacrifice by virtually every human being on the planet. What legacy will you leave to your grandchildren and great grandchildren?
And remember, nature bats last.
Having a Park Ranger friend has its advantages. With over 700 miles of trails, choosing a hike in Glacier National Park is made easier when Peggy shares her favorite. Of all the trails we hiked this summer, this was our favorite.
Approached from the eastern side of Glacier National Park; Iceberg Lake’s five mile trail starts with a section park rangers affectionately and appropriately call the stair-master. After huffing and puffing up the stair-master the trail levels and the rest of the hike is filled with stunning panoramic views that accompany each step.
Bears are abundant and hikers are encouraged to be noisy. Many people wear bells but isn’t that like ringing the dinner bell for those mostly hairless squishy things that are pink and tender in the middle? In seriousness we were given an informative tip for bear encounters on the trail. Essentially bears are lazy and use the trails because of the easy walking. If you encounter a bear you should do two things; make a lot of noise and get off the trail. Climbing uphill is recommended because you are getting off of the bear’s path and counting on his laziness to continue on the trail leaving you alone. If they follow you up it’s time to break out the bear spray.
Glacial fins, ancient sea-beds lifted up into mountains, and finally carved by glaciers ages ago tower above you. Flowers are blooming and color fills the meadows and valleys. Cresting over a ridge a small lake comes into view below the flower filled slope. Yet the trail passes by up another hill and then you see it. Ice filled turquoise waters surrounded by massive rock walls and the trail leading to the shore’s edge.
Ironically passing clouds photographers normally desire are shading the lake turning the
brilliant colored waters to dark blue. As we eat lunch we watch patterns of sunlight breaking through the clouds and passing over the lake spot-lighting the brilliant colors only rock flour laden waters can produce. A large whale shaped block of ice reflects brilliant blue as the sun’s rays pass over. The frigid water’s siren song calls until
you are compelled to dip a toe into the water. A teenager creates a memory he’ll never
forget as he jumps into the water. In a flash he’s out, wrapped in a towel and shivering.
Birds serenade us as we take in the beauty. Every direction reveals nature’s majesty and we are thankful for the 1910 decision to preserve the land for future generations.