Hike to Hidden Lake

35964873586_855a03e704_c35964872496_f265bba2df_c35195516913_c0ddae99fc_c35195513933_0bc71ddbd7_cI brought two canisters of bear spray with us and put them in an easily-reachable outside pocket on my pack. A few weeks back we had met up with some friends and one of them recalled being charged by a grizzly bear on their first day backpacking in Glacier, and how they hadn’t grabbed the bear spray fast enough. Luckily, the grizzly had merely done a bluff charge and veered off into the woods, away from them.

Not my idea of a good time, I thought, so I brought more than one canister. We also packed water, sunscreen, and snacks. As we got to the Logan Pass Visitor Center I checked that we had everything and got out. The parking lot was full, and the Center was swarmed with tourists, many in flip-flops, learning about this incredible part of the world.

As we walked on a trail behind the Center, somebody noted a mother grizzly bear with two cubs in the distance. I pulled out my binoculars and peered out, seeing her calmly making her away across a grassy knoll with her two cubs in tow. It was beautiful to see them from a safe distance, where we weren’t bothering her and she wasn’t making us nervous. What I do like about bears and most other wild creatures is that they, honestly, don’t want to hang out with us either. They want to mind their own business and go about surviving, something that in many parts of the world is harder due to human encroachment and climate change.

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We began hiking to Hidden Lake, but part of the trail was closed due to bear activity. There were enough people on the trail that my fears of encountering bears were mostly gone. Bears have an incredible sense of smell and the number of warm human bodies out and about would waft to any living animal like a red flag, because I bet you humans stink. 

As we hiked further, we encountered snow. Slushy, wet, slick snow! Logan marveled at the snow in July, and we trekked through it, trying not to slip or slide. As we hiked about a mile in, we saw our first mountain goat! We saw several more as we kept hiking. There were several on one of the boardwalks, determined to get to somewhere else, and so I moved off the boardwalk into the brush. While mountain goats aren’t massive, they’re still wild animals, and several of them had their kids with them, and I didn’t want to get in the way and cause them stress or make them nervous. It was incredible to see them so close, though, while they’re shedding their thick winter coats and looking shaggy. Their expressive faces and slow pace made it easy to stare. We get to share the world with so many natural things and as a human that makes me feel all the feels. We’re so destructive and polluting and unnatural in some ways and it’s amazing to be around things that are very different and humbling.

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The views at the end of the trail were amazing. Lush green valleys dotted with snow laid before us, while healthy looking, proud trees stood in thick groves. The bare rock of the mountains reached towards the sky and we all looked, silently, absorbing the beauty of everything. The air was cool and fresh and it felt good to inhale and smell the natural smells. Small, delicate flowers laid by the trail, showing off purple and yellow hues. Red slate rocks added blush to the landscape.

As we headed back, my mind buzzed with questions and my heart felt full. I bounded down through the snow quickly and as we got back to the car I felt absolutely exhausted and invigorated simultaneously.

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Beargrass & Coffee

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Beargrass and coffee might seem an odd combination but the two go hand in hand as part of a great day.

Beargrass is a funny looking flower that often thrives in burn areas here in northern Montana and it’s one of the signature sights in Glacier. We found a thriving patch and I went right ahead and stuck my nose in the blooms (they smell heavy, musky, and wonderful). Beargrass is one of those things that in my mind define Montana in the summer. It rewards hikers deep in many of our National Forests and it always looks a bit odd in a Tim Burton-esque way. Nature really is the world’s greatest designer, and if you don’t agree we need to have a good chat.

We started off the morning having coffee and breakfast at the Swiftcreek Cafe in Whitefish. Chelsea helped me make the coffee images by pouring the cream while I photographed and we devoured our food to prepare for a full day in the park. Logan didn’t like Whitefish, as it felt too “utopic” to him, and as I looked at the sleek, new, buildings built in “rustic” styles to attract out of state wealth, I agreed. We would later fully cement that idea as we stumbled into a nightclub with strobe lights sure to trigger seizures, nestled in this ski resort town. Montana, you’re full of the strangest surprises.

Year in photos: 2014

Even though I didn’t shoot as much as I would have liked to, I think I still had some decent shots.

Some are in Los Angeles, others home in Montana. A few are from our annual trip to the Cape haus, and some are from Austin, Texas. Overall these highlight the better parts of the year. The bad parts, luckily, weren’t photographed so they’ll fade fast.

Escapism

I’ve been slowly scanning in film and getting familiar with my monster of a scanner.

Getting the colors right in the scan is definitely probably my biggest challenge! I know that certain films highlight different tones than others, and seeing as I use a mix of Fuji, Kodak, and whatever else, I definitely just scan it in and sometimes it’s pretty obvious that it’s not…quite right.

For now, that’s alright.

I’m learning and I’m  happy seeing images I’ve captured. I had such a beautiful weekend up North in my favorite National Park. Summer is winding down, and it’s currently raining outside. I’m wearing a grey angora sweater and cashmere socks and I can now drink hot tea and I am in love with this weather. I like taking walks just after the rain stops, when it’s slightly misty out and people aren’t wandering around because it’s still not right.

A little peek at where I’ve been

I joined a gym.

I’ve been working so much I have to in order to sleep well or get any semblance of adrenaline going. I love having something to do after work, and I feel better already, even after only a week of going.

I also received a beautiful, sleek, almost professional grade Epson V700 scanner as a graduation from university gift.

And it’s amazing.

I’m definitely still getting the hang of it but I am definitely in love.

I can’t wait to be able to shoot my pictures and still be able to scan them in myself. It’s very gratifying to do so!

These are some shots from Glacier National Park. I want to film a series like Twin Peaks there, except among the hotel staff and the guests. It’s perfect, don’t you think?

North feels right

We went into Glacier and it was breathtakingly beautiful.

I love living where I do because I am constantly surprised. I am always amazed and shocked and the opportunities that abound here aren’t like any other.

We encountered a man carrying a cigarette and a walking stick simultaneously. He was walking at a decent pace. He got out another cigarette after he finished this one.

The Many Glacier Lodge we went into was built by the railroad companies as tourism destinations, but they are in the “Swiss” style- it made me a little nostalgic for my real Switzerland, although real is entirely subjective.

We hiked 8 miles to Bullhead Lake that day, quietly soaking up sunshine and hearing waterfalls and the breeze blow through the alpine flora. Glacier is beautiful, despite the people we encounter. I enjoy solitary moments while travelling but being somewhere so popular doesn’t always afford those.

Regardless, last weekend was absolutely lovely!

Über Nostalgia Post: Glacier!

I apologize if nothing that I post seems to be relevant or up to date; my life has taken a downward turn into the chaos of classes and homework, and so documentation of this chaos is not happening…yet. Once I am in the swing of things, I will try to post current-ish photographs!

Right now, though, it’s time for some visual feasting, Glacier National Park style. I used 20o speed clearance CVS film, which gave some washed out colors and a nice nostalgic feel! We went here on a family “vacation” for a weekend in 2010; America’s Switzerland didn’t disappoint. Staying a Swiss chalet style lodge (yes, kistch!) was the perfect respite from the hot, dry Montana summer. No cell service, no Wifi, and some great slightly decaying majestic lodges.