Yesterday was fun day. It was “Media Day” up in Glacier, and that’s me — a proud member of the big, bad, liberal media. : )The media was invited to join members of the Park Service and the USGS for a guided tour of Going-To-The-Sun road above Avalanche Creek. Officially the roads are closed at Avalanche and opening day is still weeks away. But because we are media, because we will tell a story the park wants told, we were escorted up to about two miles shy of Logan Pass to photograph the snow removal in process.
Snow. In June. It’s just so wrong. I know I’ve been here more than a year, but really, I can’t let it go. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. And there is a lot of it. Sigh.
Well, since I hate the cold, and since I have been warned about this photo shoot being up there in the freeze-out zone, I went home the night before to gather my gear and plan. I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to do whatever was necessary to not be cold. The problem is, I don’t know exactly what not cold will require. When in doubt, bring everything.
Sorrel boots. Check.
Winter socks. Check.
Thick sweat pants. Check.
Another shirt. Check.
Flanel jacket. Check.
Down coat. Check.
2 pairs of gloves. Check.
Wool hat. Check.
And just like that, the word of the day is suddenly “over-prepared.”
Plus there is all my camera gear.
And when we got there, we were outfitted with avalanche homing beacons, bright yellow safety vests, and hard hats.
“Oh good grief, Charlie Brown,” says I.
Two things become immediately obvious with this list. One: I have finally taken all the advice I’ve been given about wearing layers to heart. And two: I was prepared to meet the abominable snowman yesterday. I could have walked right up and shook his hand and still been warm. Ha! Snow! I laugh. I scoff in the presence of the white shroud.
Actually, it wasn’t nearly as cold as I had been led to believe. I can’t help but wonder if some of my fellow co-workers weren’t just having a bit of fun at my expense. As gullible as I am, it wouldn’t be a hard trick to pull off. Or maybe I just didn’t notice the cold because I was too busy enjoying the mountains. It’s every bit as gorgeous as I remember. The clouds gathered quickly and the tops of the peaks were rapidly obscured but I still walked away with one favorite shot of the day and here it is.
If I’m reading the map correctly, and remembering exactly where I was (which means I have an above average shot at being wrong here) that is Mount Oberlin, Clements Mountain, and Mount Cannon off there to the left. And just when you thought the day would be totally gray, a splash of sunlight to bring to life the spring green of the valley along McDonald Creek. The only downside? Getting out of all that stupid gear when the photo shoot was over.