Glacier: Sometimes You Run From the Road

When I run in the morning, the absolute worst part is the first two minutes. My body is tired, my eyes are half open and the outside air is not nearly as soothing as my comforter. Once I start though, my blood starts pumping, my limbs warm up and the cool air is a breeze that blows my hair back. The sun comes to life and I often have the world to myself.

Leaving Glacier National Park, for me, felt like going on a run in the morning.  Visiting Glacier provided us with many trip firsts. It was the first time that we were introduced to new friends that got to share in our adventuring. It was the first time that social media provided us with followers that we had not met sponsoring us with Huckleberry pie! It was also the first time that we got to sleep in beds.

In William Least Heat Moon’s book Blue Highways he spends a weekend with family and says the following:

“The wanderer’s danger is to find comfort.  A weekend in Shreveport around friends, and security had started to pull me into a warm thrall, to enfold me, to make the wish for the road a craziness. So it was only memory of times in strange places where the scent of the unknown is sharp that drew me on to the highway again.”

We found comfort in Montana. There was the warm thrall of friendship and sharing meals in an actual kitchen. Life was easy; we were enfolded in a world of coffee shops, bear claw pastries from Polebridge Bakery (which deserves a post of its own) and reliable Internet. At night we could sit on a couch, with actual lights and not huddle in our sleeping bags with headlamps. And the bed, did I mention that we got to sleep in a bed. My gosh, what a luxury.

William Least Heat Moon was incredibly accurate. It’s like we forgot we were on a trip to visit all of the National Parks. We were suddenly on a trip to eat pastries, enjoy coffee and reminisce with friends over beers on a rocky beach. No more truck, no more tent, it would be so easy.

We did far less in Glacier National Park than I would have liked. We intended to mountain bike, we intended to ride up Going to the Sun Road, we intended to hike more, to visit Many Glacier and much much more. The comfort drew us in and encapsulated us. I think it was amplified by the fact that our next portion of the trip was 40 hours of driving through Canada and nearly 8-weeks in Alaska. We knew that we would not find similar comforts for quite some time.

While we certainly lingered, we also left. We were drawn back to the road like the memory of a morning run. The memory of a petrified forest sunset on the North Dakota prairie and of the field of fireflies in Cuyahoga. We also had new memories that needed recreating, taste testing huckleberry pastries and climbing mountains that absolutely terrify you. Thank you, Fran, Alan, Eva, Taylor, Neel and Montana for enfolding us in a warm embrace!