Tuesday, June 9, 2009


It has been three weeks since I left Virginia. Hmm... where to start this story...
In an effort to support and adhere to the "where ever you are, be all there" philosophy, I think I'll start here, in a library in Whitefish, Montana, and perhaps work backwards. Today is my first day off from my new job at the Glacier Institute Field Camp since our trainings started LAST Monday. Trying to take full advantage of my free time I slept til 9 today, ate a bagel, and went for a bike ride (18 miles maybe?) on Going to the Sun Road. GTSR is a face melting scenic drive that connects the west side of Glacier National Park to the East side. Every fall and winter it is covered with snow and ice, and every spring the park spends much money and man power to unearth it from avalanches etc. It usually is drivable again sometime in June. It is only open to vehicles about 18 miles deep into the West side (where I live) Today I biked past the car barrier, about 9 miles through glaciated mountains to the hiker/ biker barrier. It's a beautiful ride, past clear swift creeks turned milky turquoise and baby blue from the rock flour of snow melt, through avalanche chutes poignant with the smell of uprooted trees, dirt and rubble, wing upwards and through a geologists dream- layers of unique rock and natural forces. It makes my mind wander, and my belly feel nauseous with elevation gain. I stop for a drink and to consult my map, wanting desperately to learn this place, to love this place. It is no Virginia, Tinker Mountain is time zones away, but some wild part in my being has a hope I can someday feel at home in this scene, like I once did in the Appalachian's Blue Ridge. I hop back on my bike and cruise down hill, nervously pumping the brakes. Until... stop. A cat-size bear cub scampers across the road, followed by its Mom. I wait, then pass and stop again, watching. It runs back across the road to where it came. I wait. Momma crawls over the concrete road side, followed by two more cubs. It's awfully high up and rocky for black bear this time of year, but they seem about black bear size. I tell my boss when I get home to camp. He thinks it's grizzly. One Mom with 3 new cubs- Grizzly. Paul's jealous of the sighting, I write it on our dry erase board on the kitchen wall above GiGi's writing of "4 coyote pups and Momma", smile, and head to town in my cowboy boots.
It's 50 and rainy now, it's been chilly for about 10 days. It makes my heatless cabin and training rooms tough to tolerate, but I'm thankful I brought my down jacket to my summer job. I've been hiking, fly fishing, even got out in my kayak with GiGi (Paul's wife). Our field camp is a cozy set up, a small compound with cabins, a bathhouse, kitchen, and a tipi, all on the river. Myself, my 4 co workers, and the wilderness EMT group staying with us until next weekend all seem extremely content in the personal space, and out communal areas.
After a month on the A.T. and two weeks on the road (and everything else the last year) I feel the more settled than ever since leaving my apartment at Allendale April 2008.
The drive west was a brilliant exploration or the northeast, Midwest, and northern Rockies, taking me all the way to British Columbia before scooping back south to Glacier.
I'm working through some logistical and technical bugs with my computer and camera situation, and the library comp timer is blinking at me. I'll try to update more soon, sorry communication has been so sparse.
Know that I am in a beautiful, restful, wild place. Treasuring the verse where God brings you to spacious place beside cool clean waters.
Miss and love you =*


Linda Lee said...

PenMar AT/Montana Girl:

Grrrreat... she is well. So happy to hear from you. Amazing trip! It seems that you are happy.

Great pictures. Promise me that whatever you decide to be your life's career that it includes a camera with your brillant mind and heart behind it.

I see the 'G' dog is happy too!

As always waiting to hear from you as often as possible.

Take Care and Keep the Faith!
Your PenMar Friend,
Linda Lee

Linda Lee said...

Happy Anniversary PenMar AT/Montana Girl:

One year on Sunday (Father's Day) that our friendship began.

Take Care/Keep the Faith,
Your PenMar Friend,
Linda Lee