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FIELD NOTES: EXPLORING GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

By Bryden Bowley | April 6, 2021

Glacier National Park feels like a dream.

There's something special about this place that I've never been able to put my finger on. I'm drawn there, and when I'm there, I feel whole.

Maybe it's the foggy, lonesome lakes where you could hear a pin drop, or maybe it's the towering mountains with iron-filled rocks that glow purple and blue. I'll never understand the entirety of what makes this place so special, and I'm okay with that.

Afternoon storms.

My first visit to Glacier was a short one. It was 2014, and I was traveling around the Rockies after a summer of working at Mount Hood. I immediately knew that I needed to experience more of the park than what you can see from the road, but at that point I had never been backpacking before.

The crest of Red Gap Pass. 

Morning fog on Piegan Pass. 

Fast-forward to 2019, when I attempted a thru-hike on the Continental Divide Trail. The trail starts (or finishes) at the north end of Glacier National Park. It weaves through the valleys along lakesides, then switch-backs over passes with views suitable for a National Geographic magazine cover.

A marmot on Piegan Pass just before a storm rolled in.

Mid-summer is perfect for high-alpine wildflower hunting, and in the fall months, the birch trees turn orange and make for beautiful photos.

This park is expansive and endless. I've explored it multiple times over the last seven years, from my car and on foot, and I feel that I've barely scratched the surface. If you've never been to Glacier, I promise that it's worth it.

Until next time,
Bryden "Simba" Bowley