My feet are tired from today's 4 mile hike, but I couldn't resist posting these two pictures of some of the incredible mountains here in Glacier National Park. In 1850 some 150 glaciers decorated the mountains; today, we're down to about 25 throughout the park, with these expected to evaporate by 2030, another testament to the reality of global warming. With the hottest temperatures posted in 2007, rangers are seeing changes in not only in animal habitation and migration, but the dreaded beetle disease that has devastated so many thousands of acres of Canadian forests in appearing here as well. Even so, the mountains are beautiful, and we did see mountain goats up close and personal, even though they are quite wild, and a mother grizzley with two cubs. I was too excited to use the digital zoom, so my pictures of the bears are rather blurry.
It's hard to write about the sense of wonder that we feel as we hike through these mountains. Fall will come quickly. We see the first yellow leaves in quaking aspen and birches, ferns are fading to brown, and flowers are rare, bear grass, wild asters, Indian paintbrush, and fireweed, all seen rarely now. But the mountains soar above all, and after a 3 or 4 hour hike, the world seems more a place of beauty and peace. Beth