Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2015 Vacation Plans

Well, I had several options for my big vacation for 2015. We had already planned a one-week vacation to visit some springs in the panhandle of Florida. So that one was set.

But then I wanted to do something far more adventurous later in the year. So I sat down with maps and books and began to seriously consider doing a solo backpack of the John Muir Trail in California. But the more I thought about that one the less likely it seemed to firm up in my plans. For one thing, it would take every bit of four weeks, and even that might not have been enough time to accomplish my goal of hiking the entire Trail. So I thought about other options.

Carole loves Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor Maine. We talked about flying up there and spending a whole week there. The idea of that was attractive to both of us, and I'd get the chance to hike all of the mountains there that I hadn't had time to climb on previous visits.

But we both want to hit another western National Park. Crater Lake has been high on our list for years. As has Yosemite and Redwood. But the one both of us really want to see above all of the others is Glacier National Park. Not least because of its sheer beauty and vast scale, and not just because of the amazing variety of wildlife and scenery--but because the glaciers that are the reason for its name will soon be gone.

I keep talking in my essays about how our wild world is coming to an end. Mankind is pretty much wrecking what little remains of our untamed wilderness and our relatively intact ecosystems. Nothing illustrates this more than the fading of the glaciers that once dominated Glacier National Park. They're saying now that if you don't see them by the middle of the next decade then you'll have missed your chance. So...we want to see the freaking glaciers in Glacier National Park while there are still a few remaining.

Therefore, Glacier has moved to the top of the list. Things could change, of course, but for now it's what we're going to plan. We were all very impressed (beyond words, actually) with Yellowstone National Park. And from what I've been told, Glacier is even more spectacular than Yellowstone. One more to be seen before I croak.

Grizzly Peak. They say there's a walking route to the summit.

Good ol' Bob, hiking in the Absarokas.

Hiking up Avalanche Peak, looking south into Wyoming.

Along the summit ridge, looking north in Montana.

Don't laugh at my pitiful photo of a grizzly bear. He didn't want anything to do with us and moved off at a good clip. And that's okay. I really don't want to get too close to a griz. While you can sometimes never see a grizzly bear in Yellowstone, they say it's almost impossible to visit Glacier NP and never see one.

From the summit of Avalanche Peak.

3 comments:

Colleen said...

Comparing Glacier and Yellowstone is like comparing apples and oranges. They are both amazing. We were there two summers ago. If you dont have it on your list add Canadian Rockies near Jasper AB.

James Robert Smith said...

Yes, I very much have the Canadian Rockies on my bucket list, also! How many griz did you see in Glacier?

Vicki said...

"Mankind is pretty much wrecking what little remains of our untamed wilderness and our relatively intact ecosystems. Nothing illustrates this more than the fading of the glaciers that once dominated Glacier National Park."

I so wish it wasn't so. I dread to think what will happen to our wonderful planet if we don't do something soon.

I hope you get to experience the glaciers before they disappear...