The Cheapest Medicine
This morning, with
trepidation, I prepared to embark on our first hike of the season.
I needed to break in my new hiking boots (always a scary event).
With the snow pack in the higher elevations we would be confined to
the low ground, without the incentive of grand vistas. We
would be trapped taking a boring walk in the woods. Would
everyone complain that I ruined their day? Would my feet hurt?
As it was, we headed out to Glacier Park.
Arriving at Lake McDonald Lodge (still closed for
the season), we found the weather to be pleasant, temperatures in the
30's. The parking lot had many vehicles filled with people,
who would take
advantage of the day to cycle on the Going to the Sun Road.
Our intention was otherwise. We were going to leave the trail
and explore the forest. For information on the hike, read E's
Mystery in the
Spring, like all
seasons, is a special time in Glacier. At lower elevations
snow is patchy and the forest floor is covered in a thick spongy mat
of moss. The dampness seems to absorb all sound. The
silence is interrupted
only by the honking of geese, the tapping of
the woodpecker, and the occasional songbird. This makes one
feel as though they have found a new
Last year, at this time, I climbed the Lincoln Lake
Trail up to the snowline. Pausing for a while on this trail, I
experienced, perhaps for the only time, silence. It was an
absolute lack of sound, an experience of just being.
Back to today. Arriving at McDonald Creek, a
raging torrent fueled by the melting snow pack, we watched a lone
Harlequin Duck in the rapids. Floating and then diving in the,
as M would say,
powerful water, it was oblivious to the danger. It
just lived where and did what it did because it was a Harlequin
I am reminded of a trip to the Smokies,
taken when I was five years old. My family kept saying, "Look
at the rapids." I looked and looked for the rabbits.
Finally I could see them quickly surfacing and diving in the deadly
powerful water. I can see whatever I want to see!
Arriving back at the trailhead, we removed our packs
and headed back home. My Italian hiking boots (not from China)
had performed well. Our legs felt used, and we were all
falling asleep on the way home. The outing was a success after
Last night I read an article on the
benefits and abundant opportunities we are fortunate to have of
hiking in the grandeur of the Rockies. The article referenced a
quote that said exercise was the
Cheapest Medicine. Today we
medicated ourselves both physically and mentally.