Hi Glacier. How I’ve missed you.
I spent an entirely blissful week in Glacier National Park last August, 2015. I made the five hour drive north after my housesit in small town Livingston, Montana came to an end. After two months spent in an apartment, building friendships and a routine, Glacier helped ease the transition back onto the road and into the great unknown. And after spending an entire week there, the traveling lifestyle was once again running through my veins.
I spent many hours sitting on the shoreline reading, resting, and wading into the waters.
Lake McDonald Lodge
Built in 1913
Avalanche Lake Group Hike
4.5 miles roundtrip
A 50 mile road stretching from East to West going up-up-up!
Hike to Hidden Lake Overlook
2.7 mile roundtrip
East Glacier Entrance
Many Glacier Hotel
Built in 1914
Historic Tour of Many Glacier Hotel
View from SwiftCurrent Lake Trail, a 2.5 mile loop that follows the lake shoreline. Many Glacier Hotel in distance.
Horses at Many Glacier Hotel being bridled for the morning rides.
Iceberg Lake Trail Group Hike
Grinnel Glacier Trail
7.6 mile roundtrip trail starting from Many Glacier Hotel. This was the most amazing hike and views I took in while there.
Glacier Park Lodge
Built in 1913.
I did a lot of things while at Glacier that I hadn’t done in any other National Park. For example, I actually took a look at the park’s weekly itinerary and joined in on group hikes and tours. It made the experience so much more full and gave me the opportunity to meet others. I’m not sure why I never took advantage of this before.
I did a lot of hanging around in Many Glacier Hotel, sipping dirty chai’s from their cafe, sitting on the back patio overlooking Swift Current Lake while watching the sun set, wading in the lake, taking in the nearby hikes, and lucky for me they were celebrating an anniversary of live music with what else – live music! I got to be there to witness not only the employee’s open mic show but employees of years past who all came back to town to perform for the guests. It was very moving to see how fond employees were of each other and their time spent at Glacier National Park. I had a deep desire to be a part of it somehow, and even considered asking around to see if they needed any end of season help.
It was in this moment, in Glacier, that I realized I had been a vagabond for far too long. Or, as my good friend from Montana liked to call me, a “tumbleweed”. (To this day he still refers to me as “weed”. I like it.) I wanted a place and people I could belong to again. A purpose, a job to do, even gasp!, a routine of sorts. I was starting to feel so incredibly alone in the vast world…
Leaving Glacier was hard. Especially since I was broke at this point (after approximately two years spent on the road living off savings), and had no idea just where I was going to next. But I managed to pull myself away. I decided I was close enough to check out Portland and Seattle, so that’s exactly what I did. After a day spent in Portland I was ready to leave, but I ended up spending a glorious week falling deeply in love with Seattle, determined to return and make it my home one day.
Then I got a call from the cruise ships. Did I want to come back? Yes, yes, I did. A paycheck sounded awesome at this point, and there was that purpose, home, and routine I was looking for. I would once again be a singer. I hadn’t sang for the entire two years I was on the road, and I never thought I’d go back to ship life. But it felt right.
I once again drove across the country heading back to Ohio, making sure to drive back through my old stomping grounds of Livingston, and I already felt like I outgrew the place. It was a strange feeling. The town suddenly became too small. I was reminded how much more there was out there after exploring Seattle. The small town life was so wonderful while I lived it, but it was like I broke out of a trance once I left. I couldn’t see going back for now.
Once home in Ohio I had a week to prepare for my contract. I spent it visiting friends and family, shopping, packing. Then off I went…flying to Rome…spending the next four months sailing throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Asia before flying home from Hong Kong. It was a whirlwind four months. Maybe I’ll write about it sometime.
And now I’m back home. Have been for four months. Seattle still beckons albeit quietly, as I found myself desiring the healing effects of home more and time spent with my dog, friends and family, a yearning for the simple life, and time dedicated to clearing my head. I had become tired of traveling. It was the last thing I wanted to do. (Which is why it’s taken me almost an entire year to compose this post!)
But I say “was” because wanderlust IS setting in again:
I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again. – Anais Nin.
I know this feeling all too well. I’ll spend time trying to suppress it, but it won’t last long. Not when there’s places like Glacier out there, which I’m keenly reminded of as I compose this post, and so many more places and faces to discover. Ah, let’s see how life unfolds. That’s the fun part, right? For now, go to Glacier National Park! It’s amazing. One of the best. That’s all I really wanted to say here. Not sure where this rant came from, but thanks for listening. :)