(Jessica and Laura at Bridge Bay Campground, Yellowstone National Park, 1991)
(Jennifer, Jessica, Laura and Charlie at Artist's Point, Yellowstone National Park 1992)
In 2002, all of that changed! That was the year that Dave and his youngest brother Perry went on their first backpacking trip in the Grand Tetons. While they were out for five days and four nights, I took Laura and Charlie and we did LOTS of walking in Yellowstone, spending more time then ever before enjoying the sights. Gone were the "seeing Yellowstone in two days" vacations; we began spending as long as two weeks there! Even after all of these years and more trips than I can keep count of, we have only scratched the surface of Yellowstone's back country!
(Dave and I hiked to Osprey Falls in Yellowstone, 2010)
In 2005 we began hiking in Glacier National Park and MY life, was forever changed!
(Hiking the Highline Trail along the Garden Wall, Heaven's Peak in the background, Glacier National Park, 2005)
This particular hike along the Highline Trail has significant meaning for me. I remember as we made our way closer to the Granite Park Chalet you could see Lake McDonald off in the distance. Hiking along this ridge, seeing for miles all of the mountains surrounding us, I was overwhelmed by one simple truth that God spoke into my heart.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
Revelation 4: 11
God has created and sustains all of creation and it was created for his pleasure. The wonder, amazement and pleasure that I was experiencing at that moment, meant that I was sharing the very heart of God! That connection took my relationship with God to an even deeper level!
Our love for hiking in Glacier National Park was a major influence in our retirement destination. Our new Montana home is a mere 11 miles from the west entrance into Glacier National Park! We have had endless conversations about how we will fill our days once we make the transition to retirement. With Glacier National Park practically in our backyard we can get up in the morning and go hiking all day long and return to the comfort of our home with a bowl of chili from the crock pot and a nice comfy bed to sleep in! Spontaneity will be our new normal!
(Day hike to Sperry Glacier from Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park, 2007.)
(Hiking to Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park, 2010)
(Hiking to the Ptarmigan Tunnel, Glacier National Park, 2010)
(Our campsite in the back country at Upper Two Medicine Lake, Glacier National Park, 2010)
(My sister-in-law Peggy and I hiking out from our back country campsite at Morningstar Lake, Glacier National Park, 2012.)
However, we have many other areas where hiking is an option: the Jewel Basin east of Kalispell, Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. There are water activities available on Flathead and Whitefish Lakes and the Flathead River is near the house as well. In Winter there is Big Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish (one of the top twenty-five ski mountains in the world!) and there are designated snowmobile trails about a mile from the house!
(Big Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish, Montana, October 2012.)
If heaven IS paradise then this will most certainly be, ALMOST PARADISE!
(Dave and I at Pray Lake, Glacier National Park, 2010)