We got home mid-week. We went to watch our younger daughter run a marathon in Missoula, Montana. It was especially inspiring to watch people who aren’t necessarily “athletic” finish the end of the half marathon. I admire their courage and stamina tremendously. Most people who sign up to do a full marathon have a better sense of what they are doing and so look less like “deer in the headlights” as they near the finish line, even though they have run/walked twice the distance. Those doing the half marathon are often attempting an event like this for the first time. Many are overweight and seeking to jump start a healthier lifestyle. As I say, my hat is off to them all, novices and veteran runners alike.
We also traveled to Glacier National Park to redeem a “weather ruined” trip from several years ago. We had driven from Colorado to Glacier and spent the first night at McDonald Lake. The next morning, as we began to climb Logan Pass, rain and then snow began to fall. By the time we hit the top of the pass where the visitor’s center is, a full blizzard was happening and they were closing Going-to-the-Sun road. We white-knuckled our way down to our hotel at St. Mary’s where we were pinned in our room for over 24 hours by howling winds. The entire campground blew down and women were setting up portable tables in the hotel lobby in an attempt to feed hungry kids. Later in the day, when we attempted at least a walk, John couldn’t stand up in the wind. We had not brought our passports and so couldn’t even drive to the Canadian section of the park. There was literally nothing to do but read in the room. The next day, we paid the cancellation penalty and drove all the way to Yellowstone National Park where we spent the night at a motel in Jackson Hole. It was sunny and warm there. This time, Logan Pass was perfect weather conditions. The surrounding mountains were beautiful and the visitor’s center open. There were a lot of people up there as well.
The National Parks are a priceless treasure of the American people. They are certainly one of the things this country has done right over the years since its founding. Unfortunately, many are under siege for short-sighted, quick gain reasons. Once they are lost or compromised, it will be hard if not impossible to restore them. It is important for us as individuals and for a nation to honor these untouched places of wilderness and history. If you haven’t been to a national park in a while, or ever, please do yourself a favor and go. They will “restore your soul” (see Psalm 23).
Coming home to this old house is always wonderful but in some ways, it is like “glamping,” the upscale camping that is the new rage. In glamping, you live and sleep close to nature but have more of the amenities of a motel room. This old house fits that bill in many ways. In fact, my husband is fond of saying that living here is his kind of camping! We are pretty in touch with the outside world around us but we have central heat and running, hot water. The magpies are the alarm clock, the house shakes in big winds, and the wildlife keeps us aware of open windows and bird feeder placements. We are even surrounded by Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks land, complete with rangers. Not quite a national park but we get more visitors than Rocky Mountain National Park an hour up the road gets, or so I have heard. Glamping, indeed!
Yet, it is good to see other beautiful parts of America, especially those that are more significantly impacted by climate change. Of the 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park from the early 1900s, only 25 are left and they are going quickly. Pikas, a small mammal and my favorite “farmer,” will soon run out of the cool climate they require as once they hit the top of the mountains, they will have no place else to thrive. It makes me sad. I know it makes God sad as well to see how poorly we steward his creation. Still, there is a lot of beauty left. Please don’t miss it while there is still time to see it, even if it is just in your backyard or down the block at the neighborhood park.