by Kassandra Hardy, '03, '04, '06
As Glacier National Park is rapidly moving into its 100th anniversary, I am planning for a year of adventure on its behalf. I have launched a personal project called 100 Nights on the Ground to raise awareness of the importance of nature in all of our lives. Over the next year I plan to sleep 100 nights on the ground somewhere in Wild America. (in a tent, of course!) Kass is now at Night 91!
January 1, 2010: Glacier National Park
Solo trek in along the Going-to-the-Sun. About four miles past Lake McDonald Lodge. Quite a few people out and about today, while I was riggin’ up my sled. I have the tent, sleeping gear, tons of warm clothes, food for two for two nights, shovel, ax, snow shoes, etc.
It seemed to be a fairly warm first night. Approximately two feet of snow beneath me. And tons falling from the sky for most of the night. Loads of branches releasing snow around me- resulting in that loaded ‘thump’ – snow falling on snow.
I brought Desert Solitaire as my first ‘read’ for this project. I chose this book for two reasons: 1) it was my first connection to nature literature inspiring me to explore more– Abbey has a way to say exactly what I feel 2) it seemed like a good book that has the ability to warm the mind. Ah, the desert southwest.
This, like the desert, however is a harsh and unforgiving landscape. As I am in the tent it’s difficult to not let your mind wander about the extreme dangers here– weather in its pure fickleness, avalanches (especially with rain on snow), wild life…or even just the cold.
This is the most beautiful place on Earth.
I would like to keep a running list of lessons learned. As far as winter camping in the northwest is concerned, here are a few:
The biggest theme for my first two nights is the reality of how knowledge can be really powerful. For instance, knowing the best knots to use that would be easy to untie with gloves on or while the cord/rope is wet. Or, knowing where the creek bed starts and ends– so that you can find running water under snow and ice.
I skied to Avalanche and made some spicy soup for lunch. Blue skies peeked through the clouds and the cliffs were finally exposed. I waited for a few of my friends to join me, became impatient and made my way to the lake.
I had lost faith that anyone was going to join me…I rounded a corner to hear human voices…the voices of my two pals! No way– I was ecstatic to see them. Got back to camp and began to heat some water for cocoa. I sang a few tunes to pass the time before dinner (Avett Brothers and Tracy Chapman, thank you, Neil!)
Megan ('06 Gunnison, '07 Glacier); Kass ('03 Glacier, '04 Glacier, '06 DC & Yosemite); and Sally ('05 Glacier)
Next Monday is my 27th birthday. I’m planning for another journey in this winter wonderland. We just received 20+ inches of fresh powder…
Kass just returned from Night 5 at Watertown Lakes National Park, Alberta, and her post about that experience, as well as Nights 3 & 4, can be found on her blog 100 Nights on the Ground. She is an environmental planner and is currently the Centennial Coordinator at Glacier National Park. Stay tuned for her next trips -- to Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks.
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