My coming of age novel Mountain Song will be free on Kindle October 15-17, proving that good things can happen in 2020.
David Ward lives in the Montana mountains where his life was impacted by his medicine woman grandmother and his utilitarian grandfather. Anne Hill suffered through childhood abuse and ultimately moved in with her aunt on the edge of a Florida swamp. Their summer romance at a mountain resort hotel surprises both of them. But can they make it last after the initial passion wears off and they return to their college studies far apart from each other especially after an attack on a college street changes Anne forever?
Vistors to Many Glacier Valley in Glacier National Park will recognize many of the settings, including the old hotel. Visitors to Florida’s Tate’s Hell Forest near Carrabelle on the Gulf Coast will recognize the ambiance of this spooky swamp.
St. Mary Campground Closed due to standing and running water, and debris from Wild Creek and other run-off water. There were approximately 10 campers at the St. Mary Campground last night, and all left this morning on their own, prior to campground closure.
Access to the Kintla Lake area closed at the head of Big Prairie – 7 miles north of the Polebridge Entrance in the North Fork District of the park. Travel in the North Fork area of Glacier National Park is not advised at this time. There is standing water in several areas.
Red Eagle Lake Trailhead, near the 1913 Historic Ranger Station near St. Mary is closed.
Sand bags were deployed in the administrative area of St. Mary on the east side of Glacier National Park, responding to rising/flooding Divide Creek.
Pre-evacuation planning underway for the St. Mary area of National Park Service administrative and housing areas (approx. 30-40 people), and for the Many Glacier Hotel area. No evacuations have been initiated at this time!
No work is being conducted on plowing the Going-to-the-Sun Road at this time. Crews moved plowing equipment to lower locations yesterday as snow began to fall and more snow was predicted.
NPS employees are at Sperry Chalet conducting seasonal preparation activities and report 14-16 inches of snow since Tuesday morning. It was snowing again this morning at Sperry Chalet. Photos attached! Sperry Chalet is located on the west side of the park, near the Continental Divide.
Park personnel continue to monitor and access the situation across the park, making preparations in the event of any evacuations and staging equipment to respond as needed. Park personnel are in regular communication with the National Weather Service. All visitors are encouraged to use caution during this time of increased moisture.
from NPS Glacier National Park, as of June 16:
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Snow conditions, cool weather, and debris from snow slides are challenging some spring opening operations for trails, facilities and roads in Glacier National Park. Snow accumulations in the park are above average this year and spring snowmelt has varied at different locations.
Numerous trails in Glacier National Park are still snow-covered. Park staff report damage to trails and backcountry campsites due to snow slides and large amounts of avalanche debris. The Ptarmigan Falls Bridge and Twin Falls Bridge have been removed due to winter damage and hazardous conditions. Temporary bridges are expected to be installed by early July. The Iceberg Lake Trail is closed to stock use until permanent repairs to the Ptarmigan Falls B ridge are complete. Permanent repair work on both bridges is anticipated to begin this fall.
Extensive avalanche debris has impacted the Trout Lake Trail. Hikers are not encouraged to use this trail, or it is recommended that hikers have route-finding skills to traverse the debris.
Trails may traverse steep and sometimes icy snowfields and hikers are strongly advised to have the appropriate equipment and skills to navigate such areas, or perhaps visit those areas once conditions improve. Please visit the park’s website for current trail status at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/trailstatusreports.htm. Please report any hazardous or unusual trail or backcounty conditions by calling the park at 406-888-7800.
Frozen and damaged sewer and water lines caused some delays in seasonal opening activities for utilities park-wide. Rising Sun and the Swiftcurrent cabin areas experienced damaged water lines. The Apgar and Lake McDonald areas experienced issues with frozen sewer lines, and some broken water lines. The Cutbank, Many Glacier and Two Medicine Campgrounds experienced delayed openings due to abundant snow accumulation and slow snow melt.
A snow slide in the Alps area of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, about five miles west of Logan Pass, wiped out about 20-30 feet of rock wall along the road. Several new slide paths across the road have been encountered this spring, including the need for extensive snow and debris cleanup.
Snow removal operations on the Going-to-the-Sun Road continue with road crews working near the Big Drift and Lunch Creek areas east of Logan Pass. Above average snow accumulation and cool June temperatures have provided challenges for snow removal operations. The snow depth at the Big Drift is estimated to be about 80 feet, larger than recent years. Once the snow is removed, a thick layer of ice on the road is anticipated.
In addition to snow removal, road crews are working to install over 400 removable guard rails, sweep the road of rock debris, and clear snow from Logan Pass Visitor Center facilities including sidewalks and trails. Park road crew employees have begun working overtime in an effort to accomplish snow removal goals in a safe and timely manner, as well as other park employees assisting in the hand work to remove snow around facilities.
Currently, visitors can drive about 16 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche on the west side of the park, and one mile from the St. Mary Entrance to the foot of St. Mary Lake on the east side. It is anticipated that there will be vehicle access to the Jackson Glacier Overlook area on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road by this weekend, but it is dependent on weather conditions. Vehicle access to Logan Pass, and beyond Avalanche on the west side of park, is unknown at this time.
Spring Plowing: According to the National Park Service, “Currently 17.0 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel. Visitors can drive 11.5 miles from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge, and 5.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun.” With luck, the spring plowing won’t be as lengthy as it was last year. Check here for the latest on road status.
Proposed Apgar Transit Center Parking Expansion: According to NPS Glacier, The Apgar Transit Center Parking Lot Expansion Environmental Assessment conducted by Glacier National Park specialists is available for public review and comment. Comments are due by May 7, 2012. The park is proposing to expand the Apgar Transit Center parking lot to accommodate increased visitor use of the transit center following the relocation of activities of the Apgar Visitor Center to the transit center. Click here if you wish you wish to comment.
11th Annual Crown of Continent Managers’ Forum: The 2012 Crown Manager’s Forum was held March 19-20 at the Lethbridge Lodge in Lethbridge, Alberta with “Tribes and First Nations in the Crown of the Continent” as this year’s theme. For information about the forum, click here.
Glacier National Park Fund Projects: Current projects include Historic Art and Archives, Historic Structures, Red Bus Endowment, Trails Endowment, Trails Rehabilitation and Native Plant Nursery. For information on these projects and ongoing research, click here. While the Fund has a $100,000 annual goal for trail restoration, I’ve seen no information yet on the proposed adopt-a-trail program mentioned in an earlier post.
Many Glacier Hotel Rehabilitation: According to NPS Glacier, “the rehab work is continuing this spring, but it will be complete by the opening on June 15th. All of the rooms will be available unlike last summer. The dining room is complete as well and the ceiling has been restored to its original height. In the future there is a potential there will be more work done, but at present, the rehab work is finished.” Updated 4/14/2012.
In June, the management of Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park figures out a way to pose the entire staff in front of a photographer for the summer picture. I no longer remember how many takes it took to make the photographer happy. And, though I thought I would always remember the names, home towns, and colleges of all the students in this picture, the details have long since become hazy.
We came from all around the country during the last week in May and spent the summer in the fantasy land of the Swiftcurrent Valley working as cooks, waiters, desk clerks and bellmen until mid-September. A lot of us came back the following summer, and some the summer after that, as has been the custom with the concessionaire’s summer help since the days when the Great Northern Railway (now, BNSF) owned and managed the facility.
For a Florida boy who had always wanted to see the mountains, Glacier Park’s horn-shaped mountains, stair-step valleys, cool summer nights, and old Swiss-style hotels were a fantasy land in spite of the hard work. We carried luggage, cleared dining room tables, mopped the floors, made the beds, and told guests yarns about the mountains.
Our summer included bridge games, long hikes, fresh fish, romances, twisted ankles, mountain climbing, boating, broken hearts and a lot of pictures more personal than this old black and white that doesn’t quite fit on my scanner.
I studied writing in high school and college and the craft I learned there was well worth the time. While I spent less time in the park, my total of seven months there over the span of several summers shaped my life and work more than any college course. Perhaps I was more impressionable than most or perhaps it is a writer’s natural focus on experience that has made this place loom larger than life.
For a writer, time neither steals away old joys nor heals old wounds, and I came away from the park with my fair share of both. For better or worse, they have sustained me and defined my outlook, while becoming the setting for my magical realism (Mountain Song) novel and two contemporary fantasies (The Sun Singer and Sarabande).
Virginia Woolf once wrote that all of a writer’s secrets loom large in his work. I think that might be true because this setting impacted me just as much as Hogwarts impacted Harry Potter and “The Land” impacted Thomas Covenant. So it is that this faraway place flows out onto the page in my storytelling as a true love of mountains, wildflowers, bears and all the events that did happen or might have happened in the shining mountains.
“The Centennial Legacy Projects represent the short term goals that were identified through listening sessions and feedback from our wonderful visitors. GNPF has undertaken these projects as a ‘birthday gift’ to the Park in addition to help funding other programs and events for the Centennial. We invite you to help us reach our goal of $250,000 and make these projects a reality in 2010.” — Glacier National Park Fund
The Glacier National Park Fund has raised $72,000 in support of a wheelchair accessible trail at Many Glacier and $36,000 (the funding goal) in support of a Heaven’s Peak Fire Lookout stabilization project.
Work on the Fire Lookout project is on hold pending the results of an environmental impact assessment.
Phase I of the Many Glacier trail project will provide a 1/4-mile hardened and level surface over an existing dirt foot trail along the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake between the Swiftcurrent Creek bridge and an existing picnic area. Work on the trail began this summer.
I cautiously support this project: Boardwalks and hardscape trails can and do make trail areas more accessible while protecting plants as well as surfaces in high-traffic areas. However, they can also lead to the use of bikes, rollerblades and skateboards in area where their use in not appropriate. NPS needs to ensure this does not happen.
The Fund is 40% of the way toward their goal of $75,000 to help support a wheelchair-accessible wildlife viewing area in the parking lot at Swiftcurrent. The location is expected to provide 360-degree viewing.
Other projects include proposed exhibits at Logan Pass, People in Glacier and Citizen Science. Click here for more details and/or to make a donation.