Greetings From Glacier

We heard it rustling in the trees to the right of us, and before I could even look, it was already staring at us with its big brown eyes. I tensed up; every muscle in my body was tightening, preparing for the worst. I was searching her face, wondering what her next move was going to be. She didn’t move, just froze, gazing intently at my eyes, trying to figure out if we were a threat to her. Her massive silhouette terrified me, and I remembered what all of the signs said, walk slowly and do not stare into their eyes, so I quickly looked away, nudging Brad to keep walking.

Hiking these trails, you see signs scattered throughout, “Bear Frequenting Area,” along with warnings for various other species of wildlife, but it’s the bears that they tell you to be most cautious about. I had been begging to see a bear, but I did not want the encounter to be this close. Cautious, we inched foreword, unsure of what type of creature was lurking behind those trees.

At first glance, looking at this big girl, I thought she was a Grizzly, come down through the trail to get some water at the glacier lake. Her fur was thick brown, exactly matching my notion of a Grizzly’s fur. But, with a closer look, I remembered the coloring of the Grizzly and cub we had seen the previous day through a stranger’s telescope, and it didn’t match-up. The bears’ coloring was a lighter brown than this creature, and the cub almost fully blonde. The critter we were faced with now, using the trees as camouflage, was a rich, chestnut brown coloring. It couldn’t be a Grizzly.

My eyes adjusted after the initial shock of seeing this mammoth of an animal, and focusing on her face, I realized she was moose, eating leaves off the trees. I relaxed a little, but this big girl watching my every move still terrified me. Although moose are herbivores, they are still massive creatures that could stomp you into the ground in a second if they wanted to. Especially during mating season, a male moose will do anything in his power to destroy you if you’re between him and his female.

Brad heard another noise, and I feared it was the male. We just kept walking, very slowly and carefully, and they left us alone. But just when we thought our wildlife encounters were done for the day, a big mule deer stepped in our path. We knew, hiking the Grinnell Glacier trail, we’d see some wildlife, but they are literally right there on the trail with you. It was awesome!

Before our encounter with the moose, we bumped into a big horn sheep too. They are way bigger than you’d imagine, purely muscle, with huge horns, curling underneath their ears, giving them their name.

We were definitely in critter country now. But the critters weren’t the only cool aspect of Glacier; the breathtaking landscapes were the real reason we ventured up north after

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Many Glacier Lake, Glacier National Park

 

Yellowstone. And we were spot on. Ten times more breathtaking than Yellowstone, Glacier is filled with icy blue lakes and rivers, naturally fed by the gigantic glaciers that are scattered throughout the park. The running waters were identical to the crystal lakes I had seen a few years back in Interlaken, Switzerland. Even the Many Glacier Hotel we stayed at was modeled after a Swiss Alpine lodge. Fittingly, they named the main lodge the Interlaken Lounge.

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Many Glacier Hotel

The view from our bedroom was breathtaking. I honestly do not think that it is possible to
have a bad view at Glacier. As I said, it is an amazing landscape, that captures you in awe, and hiking up to the glaciers is even more magnificent. Magnificent, that is the perfect word to describe these wondrous glaciers. It is sad to think that, due to global climate change, these glaciers are expected to be completely depleted by 2030. They have already gravely decreased in number; down from the original 150 glaciers in the park during the late 1800’s, now only 25 remain. The glaciers are the main water source that make up those icy blue rivers and lakes, so when they are gone, the ecosystem will be devastated, leaving all of the wondrous wildlife struggling to survive.

Environmental education is necessary if we want to prevent this devastation from happening. It all begins with education, and

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View from our hotel room

then change can take place. Visiting all of these parks and forests has given us knowledge that we were without before; vital knowledge about our world that people need to grasp to fully understand this impending climate change problem. Without education, our world will never change, and it will be over before we even get the chance to see all its beauty. We need to work together to educate one another and make this change possible.

We encourage everyone to visit these amazing parks, not only for the adventure of it, but for all of the awesome experiences and wisdom you gain along the way. Thank you Glacier, for sharing all of your magnificence with us.

Next up: Washington! Check out the SlideShow below for more beautiful images of Glacier!!

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Rocky Mountain High

St. Louis is in the rear view, and after some serious rainstorms cut our nighttime driving short, we had a long road that still lay between Denver and us. Just a few hours over the boarder into Kansas we had about 10 hours of driving before we got to Denver and more importantly, a shower.

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Graffiti art on Larimer Street, Denver, CO

Very eager to get to Denver, we had been on the road for three days at that point, and aside from the few hours we spent bopping around St. Louis, the majority of the time was spent in the car. We were definitely looking forward to stretching our legs out on a nice soft bed to sleep and taking a nice warm shower (Did I mention that already? God this trip has made me appreciate showering). Luckily for us, thanks to Bronwen’s lifelong friend, Chloe, we had a beautiful apartment right in Denver, to do just that.

Although our stop in Denver was only a few days, it was definitely highlighted by our stroll down Larimer Street. Larimer Square is a very popular area in Denver, full of restaurants, shopping, and even home to some sports arenas. But, when we walked out of the bustling square to the fringe of the downtown area we found a treasure of beautiful street art and more distinctive craft breweries than we could count.

Ratio was one can’t miss brewery that we ventured into. Awesome place, that had some awesome beer, and played some awesome tunes.

After enjoying some city living for a few night,s we wandered to the backcountry for some camping in the Rockies at Golden Gate Canyon Park; about 30 miles outside of Boulder, Colorado.

Our first night of camping was textbook. Got the tent set-up in 10 minutes. Got the fire going without a hiccup. Roasted meats and mallows over an open flame all night.

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Everything was going perfect . . . until we went to sleep.

Being up in the mountains meant that the weather was extreme and the wildlife was plentiful. There were signs and reminders everywhere about the dangers of the wild animals. Mountain lions, elk, and bears, oh my. But aside from my shitty jokes, there was just enough signage to make you a little paranoid of animals coming and eating you in the middle of the night. So that, paired with the whipping winds that mother nature brought was enough to have Bronwen waking us both up every time she heard the noise of our tent rustling.

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Bronwen, photographing the Raccoon Trail, Golden, CO

We found out in the morning that the big scary noise was just some extra rope swaying into the tent with the big gusts of wind. We slept much better the next night.

Despite our lack of sleep, we dedicated the entirety of the next day to hiking. Two different trails totaling just about 10 miles, and we got a perfect day for it. The hikes were highlighted by a close encounter with a baby moose and the scenic views of the Rockies from Panorama Point. The views were rewarding but the altitude is real. We were definitely not adjusted to it, huffing and puffing more than usual on these ones.

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Walking the streets of Boulder, CO

Before we left the Boulder area we decided to see what downtown Boulder had to offer and explored the vivacious Pearl Street. Full of diverse restaurants, street performers, and neat little knick knack shops, Pearl Street definitely lived up to the standards that Larimer Street set. Shout out to Ryan for all of the awesome tips.

Next stop: Yellowstone, and yet another 10 hour stretch of driving.

P.S. On the way out of Colorado we stopped at this little town called Estes Park, right at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a cool little village town that has a vintage feel to it. Stephen King was supposedly inspired by this place when he wrote The Shining, and we also almost died via hot sauce. It was cool.

Bringin’ the Canons Cross-Country

Sitting here, getting pumped for the trip, Brad is laying out all of our photo gear! We just picked up a fixed 24 mm Canon camera lens at Hunts, and just a few days ago, his new GoPro Hero 4 Silver came in the mail. His passion for photography is getting me more and more excited, inspiring me to be a better photographer myself. We can’t wait to document all of the early-morning sunrises, fantastic views, and other spontaneous stops along the way. Get stoked to see the country through our eyes.

Featured Camera Equipment:

  • GoPro Hero 4 Silver
  • Canon 7D I
  • Canon Rebel T3i
  • Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera
  • Canon 24mm EF Lens
  • Canon 28-135mm Lens x2
  • Rode Shotgun Microphone

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