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Glacier National Park PT. III

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

We awoke early and packed our things, ready for another day of adventure, this time in search of the summit of Reynolds Peak, a true classic when it comes to mountaineering in Glacier National Park. With our eyes set on the summit, we began our drive towards Logan Pass.

Sunrise began softly, with palettes of blue and orange spreading across the eastern sky. It wasn't long before blood-red alpenglow swept over the towering peaks and swirling clouds danced around the summits.

The road snaked through the trees and revealed new beauty around every bend as glowing morning light poured into the valley. The hillsides were covered in vibrant wildflowers and pine trees drifted gently with the breeze. Magentas and oranges washed through the cloud banks as they crashed over the mountaintops like waves upon the shore. "Spectacular" barely touches beauty of this scale.

Then, as we began our hike, a waterfall of light beams erupted from the clouds and cascaded across the landscape, a grand finale to what had proven to be one of the greatest sunrises we had ever witnessed.

Our hearts were feeling full and we were highly motivated, especially to get away from people. The boardwalk was swarming with humans, all headed to mostly the same place. We found the offshoot trail to where our climb would begin, and it was astounding how few people there were. We went from swarming, to almost completely alone.

As we climbed, a fog settled over the entire mountain range, and we began our upwards journey, towards the summit and into the clouds. The rock in Glacier is notoriously loose and we began to get our first real taste, scrambling up what felt like a never ending scree slope for what felt like hours before we reached the solid rock that marked the scramble to the summit. We had high hopes that the clouds would end up down below us in a full inversion. Instead, we stepped onto the peak and found ourselves completely enveloped in the fog. We could see nothing other than the rock of the summit block, and each other, a striking contrast to the incredible light show of the morning.

We waited a long time for the clouds to part, entertaining ourselves by playing Hangman and Pictionary on the rocks, napping, and eating our snacks for the day. Every once in a while, it seemed like the clouds were on the verge of evaporating, but they never fully did. It wasn't until the descent, when at long last, they finally broke apart and revealed the full scale of this unbelievable landscape.

Ridge lines and mountains stretch as far as the eyes can see, fortresses of stone defined by their walls of rock that seem impossibly tall and formidable. To be in a place like this and to finally have the full scale of it's beauty revealed is a feeling that is not replicable in any other circumstance.

I've come to discover that powerful experiences of beauty are a matter of positioning more than anything else, putting yourself in a place where you can be shown what you are meant to see. Even with that in mind, not every adventure will be so utterly awe-inspiring. But sometimes, there are days when every moment feels like an orchestration, a crescendo of time that builds beauty on top of beauty from the moment the sun rises until it sets. Days like this can't be created under our own power, but we can show up to witness their unfolding, to receive the gifts that God has to give.

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