Friday, July 16, 2010
The Great Divide
Today I sit here, looking out my window, green fills my view. I've waited patiently for summer's peak to arrive. I sat here months ago and viewed colors of grey, white, brown and black. The plants have quickly grown and burst into color. The wild rose is in full bloom next to the black cottonwoods in my backyard. The grass is still un-mowed and is gaining height. Summer is here with it's full blown strength. Life and death is now apparent on the landscape, as the spruce budworm fills the Douglas Fir trees and threatens their life. Life is evident in the new shoots of the chokecherries outside my door. Green is everywhere.
View from Divide Mountain
The next month or so, here in Glacier National Park, is the best time of the year. The mountains are shrugging off the remaining snow, glaciers are being discovered as the snow from last winter is melting, and mountain passes become accessible for hiking.
Tiny alpine plant: Purple Mountain Saxifrage (a new flower for me!)
I took the opportunity, a few weeks back, to climb a mountain. I became a mountaineer for a day. I risked scuffing my hands, a few scrapes, and gained everything. On June 27th, I left work on time...which was a feat in itself...! At about 6:15pm, I was starting my climb up Divide Mountain. Some Blackfeet tribal members say this peak has more significance than the sacred Chief Mountain that is well known for its spirit quests and spiritual values to several tribes. I agree that Divide has more significance than Chief, especially for me.
Sunset in the St. Mary Valley from Divide Mountain
I view Divide Mountain as a very real dividing line between the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and Glacier National Park. I view the mountain as a strong hold of the edge of the mountain range (as it sits the farthest east in a chain of mountains in the St. Mary Valley). I view Divide as a separation between waterways, as it starts the Hudson Bay Divide and sends water to the Gulf of Mexico (to the south) and to the Hudson Bay (to the north). I also view Divide as a comfort of coming home. It welcomes me from afar and I can see it for several miles before I actually reach Glacier. In the begininning of my season, upon arrival, I look for Divide to mark where I'm going and it calls me in.
Jake and Michelle on top of Divide Mountain, taking it all in!
The view at the top is perfect...I only wonder what it looks like during the day. We hiked up, leisurely, on the western slope or the "scenic" route.
Stopped at the old fire lookout on the shoulder of the mountain. Then made our way up, up, and away.
We watched the sun set and let our eyes grow accustom to the darkness on our way down. We safely arrived at our vehicles at about 11:15pm. What a trip! The photos speak for themselves. I plan on hiking this again, several times! The scrapes and torn up hands are worth the reward.
Me, on the top of the world!
View to the north