Hiking through the wilderness wonderland that is Glacier National Park, I couldn’t help but think of the conservationists who had the foresight to preserve these lands.
After President Teddy Roosevelt helped establish national parks in the Dakotas, Oregon, Colorado and California in the 1900s, an explorer named George Bird Grinnell pushed the federal government to add Glacier to the list.
In 1910, Roosevelt’s successor, President William Howard Taft, signed a bill that did just that, making Glacier the country’s 10th national park. That action preserved over a million acres of forest, lakes, rivers and glaciers that visitors still enjoy today.
I didn’t come face-to-face with any glaciers; the roads and trails that led to them were still closed because of a late spring snowfall.
But I did see a moose taking an afternoon dip in a lake; mountain goats holding up traffic as they scurried about a rural road; and, thousands of feet above me, streams of water racing down cliffs glistening in the sunlight.
For the most part, I didn’t have a cellphone signal in these areas. My instant gratification consisted of new discoveries around each corner, whether it was bugs splatting onto my windshield, or a snow-capped mountain stretching into the sky.
That was part of the thrill: Seeing unspoiled nature and animals in their environment, as Roosevelt and Grinnell would have witnessed it over a century ago.