Friday marked my 40th week of pregnancy, with no end in sight.
So I drug It’ll and my Dad off on an adventure to Avalanche Lake, a blue-green little gem of a spot just a few miles east and south of Lake McDonald.
Dad surveying avalanche damage blocking the trail.
I don’t think Dad thought it was the greatest idea I’d ever had, but it must have been clear to him that I was going with or without him, so he put my water bottle and coconut-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-bar in his pack and off we went. Though I eventually decided, two days after returning from Avalanche Lake, that he was right and I Way Overdid It, in Friday morning’s bright sunshine, a walk to Avalanche felt just right.
In part, this is because I’d generally put Avalanche in the “easiest hikes in the park” category – also, “one I won’t do in July or August,” as it is absolutely overrun with people. Why? The trail to Avalanche Lake is (1) only 4 miles in total length and 500 feet in total elevation gain and (2) a stunningly beautiful jaunt, even if you don’t make it to the lake. The first part of the trail hugs mossy, dusky red Avalanche Gorge, through which Avalanche Creek thunders cerulean and foam.
The walls of the canyon are as smooth as the logs Brother Dear hews for his wood furniture, and gazing upon them can glaze me with that same Grand Canyon effect of timelessness.
Staring down into the canyon’s thunderous depths, I always think of the final passage from A River Runs Through It:
The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters. -Norman Maclean
In high school, and later in college, I wrote paper after paper about what I think Mr. Maclean meant. I’ll spare y’all that this morning.
But I won’t spare you from another whale-esque shot of me, wearing the last four items of clothing that “fit” me.
See why I wanted to go to Avalanche Lake? Ahhh.
As Dad and I sat there in the sunshine, listening to the distant thunder of an avalanche deep in the mountains, my thoughts turned to all the other trips to Avalanche Lake – the first one I made, at 9 years old, with my family during our first trip to Glacier in 1989. My Reeboks and colorblocked shirt.
My first and last experience trail running on a July 2000 day with new friends I’d made working at St. Mary, Kate and Andy.
An exhausting, glitteringly white trip made on snowshoes sometime in 2002-2003, the year I graduated from Georgia, moved to Whitefish, and learned to ski.
And in more recent years, the turquoise glimpses of Avalanche revealed when dropping into Floral Park and crossing the streams of water deluging from Sperry Glacier, all destined for Avalanche Lake.
I can hardly wait to show It’ll all these wonders. But for now, I think I’ll fill my OB’s prescription for “patience,” and rest.
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