Sunday, September 21, 2008

Montana - The Journey of Understanding

"When we tug
at a single thing in nature,
we find it attached
to the rest of the world."
-- John Muir

Like other exploration in nature, the journey in Glacier National Park once again brought me unexpected joy. One of the most memorable moments came on an early morning in Rising Sun Point, surrounded by Lake St. Mary and snow capped mountains. The pure sunshine, the pure wind, the pure water, and an inner peaceful silence. I took in the smells and listened to wind and water, full of happiness. It was soothing and soft; but it also could be scary and inviting, -- I even encountered a grizzly within 30 feet, face to face. It's impossibly adequately to describe the romantic charm of Glacier. I can show you pictures of the mountains and valleys of snow, but to know the feeling you must come up here and fill your lungs. Also, the lens won't record the silence.

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Aquamarine blue, topaz yellow and garnet red ... The wild flowers of Glacier National Park are as briliant as a dowager's jewel box.


The superior glory of Glacier national park is in its wealth of water. Glacier silt adds special blue-green color to high lakes.

Lake St. Mary


Lake McDonald

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Glaciers (rivers of ice) sculpted these pristine mountains.

"The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there... To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the
sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top." -- Robert Pirsig

Early sunshine projected on a silent mountain in Logan Pass (6646 feet).


Glacier's animals. For the first time I saw a moose eating in the lake. His silhouette was elegant in the sunset, harmonious with the environment. To avoid disturbing his dinner, we didn't use flash and couldn't get a clear picture. Other photos of animals not displayed here include hickhall, snake, and various marmots.

white-tailed deer.

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big-horn sheep


Close Up and Personal -- Mountain Goat


Now let me introduce the leading actor of this play: Grizzly Bear, the very one Jennie encountered! Face to face, less than 30 feet! (Originally, both bear and I were in the trail. This photo was taken when the bear walked away up the hill. Not quite clear, but still put here for illustration. Thanks to siang-Yu who recorded this grizzly. Another exciting picture, Jennie running right in front of bear was taken by an unknown hiker but I forgot to ask for his contact information.)


So what should you do if you run into a grizzly? Here are some suggestions straight from the park guide:(1) Talk quietly or not at all; (2) Do not run! Back away slowly! (3) Bend at the knees and turn sideways, etc. So what did Jennie do at that very moment? Screaming, turn back swiftly and run! ... You know the outcome, right? Otherwise, I bet you cannot be reading this traveloque now. I was lucky since the mother bear was not around, or more likely because this grizzly was not hungary.

Still this experience shows two truths. People more often and more easily act on instinct in emergency, ignoring rational thinking. -- I am a good example. Whenever he goes, a grizzly bear owns his entire surroundings. He carries a patent of ownership.

St. Mary Lake on a calm day


A life is like a pebble / thrown into a pool / the water ripples / then becomes still

a breeze whispers / blowing past unheard / a wisp of motion / creating sudden waves

a life floats by / reflected in a mirror /of water in liquid flow / becoming a shadow

the earth cools / as the warmth fades / then returns as rays/ shine unobscured brightly

the water still / again awaits the motion / the return of a pebble / thrown into the void.

--- Dale Clark, the pebble (abstracted).


Renting a boat here. It's kayaking time! Come with me!




Another sight from Rising Sun Point


This is native Indian tent, called Tipi (tee-pee). Now it serves as a decoration in front of our lodging. At the end of the day, you will sleep soundly breathing the fresh mountain air, flavored with scents of mountain pine.

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A glacier lily unfolds its modest elegance.


The four-day journey in Montana is a time for replenishment and inspiration. I arrived there with anxiety and left with tranquility. I better understood the mountain, the lake, the wildflowers and my life, my worries, and my affection. It is a jouney of understanding. Things became simple and I know how to face the obstacles. People became clear and I realize who are the important in my life. Over the past nine months I haven't been so close to hear my own voice.

When sitting in the shore of Lake Mcdonald, I was flipping Paulo Coelho's Eleven Minutes in the sunset. One page unexpectedly came into sight, on which I ever underscored the following words with a green pencil: But their relationship was based on freedom, and no other sort of relationship would work - perhaps that was the only reason they loved each other, because they knew they did not need each other." ~Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes, p. 234

Photographed by Jennie Bai.

Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

(Note: The article was originally written in July 2007.)

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