Everyone has their own holidays — not just the official ones, but the personal ones. Birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, a million moments that belong to individuals, the deeply significant small treasures that the world knows nothing about. New Year’s Day is by no means a personal holiday. It is celebrated with fireworks and dancing, countdowns and kisses, and champagne and resolutions. But celebrating the new year has always held a particular importance in my life. Personally, I like to ring in the new year with a photo shoot. This year, in my new home, that meant only one thing — A pre-dawn trek to Glacier National Park.

There wasn’t much of a sunrise on this dark day, and I knew that would be the case before I went, but I wanted to be there at dawn because today was day one of the Centennial Year of Glacier. On 11 May 1910 the incredible stone edifices, lakes and mountain passes that make up this region became the 10th national park. I will be exploring the park throughout the year, and throughout all my time here. In my reading I have learned that there are 703 miles of trails to explore; that could fill a whole lifetime.

“You may walk the same trail a dozen times and not tire of the view. I have given up wondering why. I know only these are mountains a man might grow old with, and that mountain-fever never diminishes but only changes its look, as a forest does over many years.” — Greg Beaumont

I have been reading about the park, trying to figure out where I want to go first — that is once, the roads are open… Right now, the roads are closed at about 10 miles in. In these mountains, winter rules. So far my list includes the continental divide, Grimell Point, Swift Current Mountain, Hidden Lake, Heaven’s Peak, Iceburg Lake, and the White Cliffs. And that’s only the beginning.

“The word for these rewards to sight and soul is glory, or majesty, or grandeur. Over the centuries nature, in travail, has delivered them. They make human concerns unimportant.” — A.B. Guthrie, Jr.

These are mountains that I am going to love. I feel incredibly blessed to live here. I could never have imagined the twists and turns that brought about this change to my life, but I am grateful. And as I welcome the new year my prayer is that I will be able to live the blessing each day —that I will be granted both the depth that comes only with time and the grace to see each day with fresh eyes.

Happy New Year.