It had taken one year for a dream to become a reality. It started out with a camping excursion taken by four friends to Itasca State Park for a weekend and grew out of painful bike rides, laughter filled kayaking/canoe adventures, and quiet discussions held around the glowing light of a campfire.
It was a once mentioned destination that burrowed into our souls. At first just a half-joking suggestion, the idea took root and soon we were asking each other, "Why not?"
Cautiously we began brainstorming and planning. We lost two members of our party when they got engaged and had to choose between Glacier and a romantic getaway in Mexico (congrats again guys!). So, our foursome became a twosome, and my man-friend, best friend, and adventure buddy Bob and I had to really ask ourselves if we wanted to commit to the trip. I don't think it was really even a conversation- one of us brought it up cautiously, and the other said something along the lines of "Let's do this!"
That's how, after months of planning, reserving campsites, researching hikes, and purchasing the appropriate gear, I was standing on a mountain looking onto lake after glacial lake and climbing ever higher in the hopes of seeing Grinnel Glacier. We were pushing ourselves hard, trying to make up for a late start and a drive through the park that was delayed by construction on the famous Going-To-The-Sun Road. We were hot, and frequently made use of our new Camelbak bladders as the sun pulled water from our pores. Yes, we were warm, but we were also incredibly happy. Our legs were protesting the climb, our lungs were complaining over the thinning air, but our hearts grew ever lighter as we shared new sights and light-hearted conversation.
When we reached the crest of the trail we found the descent into the Glacier's valley to be barred by treacherous snow bridges. We were disappointing, but instead of mourning our inability to get closer, we took the opportunity to soak in the beauty of the snowy peaks and three clad slopes. We also had an impromptu snowball fight, which cemented the climb into one of my favorite memories from the trip.
As we travel homeward with weary muscles and backpacks filled with Instax shots and memory cards brimming with yet-to-be-sorted images, I am struck anew by the wonder of the experience.