I could only hope to be as charismatic at 85!
Granted, I didn’t have 75 million years of geological magic to insure an exquisitely sculpted bone structure with which to enthrall in one turn of the dance floor; and what a marvelous dance floor Glacier National Park’s Lake McDonald.
A cloud of smoke also hugged Lake McDonald the day of our visit, obscuring the otherwise spectacular mountain ranges that have served as magnificent backdrop for this 472-foot-deep body of water courtesy of rising temperatures following the last ice age some 11,000 to 12,000 years ago.
This is what we might have seen had our visit not included three wildfires burning under the watchful eye of park rangers in remote sections of Glacier National Park.
In the early 1800s, French, English and Spanish trappers came in search of profitable beaver pelts.
By 1895, unable to stem the tide of traders and trappers, the native Blackfeet Indians, who considered the mountains of the area the "Backbone of the World", sold those mountains to the United States government (Glacier’s eastern side of the 1-million-acre park) for $1.5 million. The Blackfeet retain usage rights to the land for as long as the ceded strip is public land of the United States.
By 1900 the area was designated a forest preserve; by 1910, thanks in part to the efforts of Grinnell, President Taft signed a bill designating Glacier the nation’s tenth national park, forever preserving the “Crown of the Continent.”
My thoughts wandered to the challenges those early visitors must have faced as Junior Ranger Julie finally ran out of steam and left me to ponder the past and this magnificent, albeit smoke-filled park.
I’d hoped to see a bit more of the 60 native species of mammals and 260 species of birds – a bear perhaps, a moose. I did see a few mountain goats; and one positively precocious passenger thoroughly enjoying the moment.
I'm counting on making it back to Glacier National Park. I think a hike (or two, or three, or may 23) might be in order. Hope to get back sooner rather than later, before the rockers are all we can manage.
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