©Bert Gildart: Here are a few more images made June 1 during a 33-mile-ride (16.5 miles each way) along Glacier National Park’s famed Going-to-the-Sun Highway to Logan Pass. These images complement my last posting and all continue to generate memories, one which remains a mystery.
My adventures in Glacier began in 1961 when I spent my first summer in this northwestern Montana national park. Next summer I returned and climbed Heaven’s Peak with David Wilson, a college student and fellow seasonal employee who left a legacy that has subsequently been shrouded in mystery.
One week after climbing Heaven’s Peak, Wilson, probably about 20, made a solo ascent of Going-to-the-Sun, signed the log – and then he disappeared, and has never been heard from since. (Images of the significant mountains are here included.) The park organized a massive search party, but no luck. Bob Frauson, district ranger at the time in St. Mary and former member of the elite 10th Mountain Division, led the search and later said that he liked to think Wilson had used the climb as a ruse to cover his flight to South America. (Of course there are other scenarios.) If Frauson were alive today he might liken the disappearance to that of Christopher McCandless, the disenchanted young man featured in book and movie entitled Into the Wild. Frauson always thought Wilson had family issues which he was trying to evade.
Majestic mountains prompt memories and include: Mount Clements; Bird Woman Falls nested between Mount Oberlin and Mount Cannon; and last, Heaven’s Peak, which
backdrops me and which I climbed in 1962 with co-worker David Wilson. One week later, Wilson climbed Going-to-the-Sun (top image) and then disappeared.
My image of Going-to-the-Sun Mountain is also germane to understanding the inherent problems in clearing Going-to-the-Sun-Road of snow, for it approximates the location of the Big Drift, the huge snow bank that is still covering this famous road. Winds off the Continental Divide blow vast quantities of snow down and onto the road, and, invariably, this is the final challenge for crews working the snow plows. Most likely Going-to-the-Sun huge banks of snow will continue to plug the road in and around the Big Drift area for another few weeks.
Cycling Going-to-the Sun Road also promotes many other recollections and includes: hikes along the Highline, lilies, Goats at Logan Pass, Global Warming – and Night of the Grizzlies – to mention a few.
And now I’ve got yet another memory, which is cycling to Logan Pass. In the future, this memory will trigger vast quantities of snow and recall the chance to bask in what may be the most beautiful place in all of creation. That, of course, is subjective and impressions can’t help but be associated with all the allied memories that crop up each time I return to Glacier. Some of those memories are further included (and professionalized) in Glacier Icons (see below), which contains appealing photographs and much-touted essays based to some extent on the dozens of magazine stories I have written about Glacier. If you’re visiting this magnificent park and want to understand its features, you need this book!
THIS TIME LAST YEAR:
BOOKS YOU SHOULD HAVE:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy