Distinctly Montana posted this pic on Facebook today:
The problem that I’ve recently come to face is that that last bit is not true – that’s not where I really live.
Don’t misunderstand me – I live surrounded by mountains. They are large and beautiful and still have snow on some of the summits that I can see from my home, even on the 29th of June. “Montana” does mean mountain, and we’ve seriously got ’em – western Montana is all Rockies.
The home that we are planning on building (we were supposed to close on the land today, but there’s a title problem, so it will be Tuesday instead) is situated on a small bluff, and will have magnificent views of the Swans, peaks in Glacier Park, and even the trails of Whitefish Mountain. Montana is beautiful.
But my recent realization is that I don’t live UP THERE. And I don’t get to see UP THERE much.
Lemme ‘splain – when we lived in Park City, we lived in the mountains; there were trails from my neighborhood up to the top of the peak at Summit Park, and there were trails that came through there that hooked into the Great Western Trail, and I could run that trail from my house.
I could get above tree line in the Wasatch Mountains with just a short drive, and many different entry points; we could get above treeline in the High Uintahs in one hour, and be at Ruth Lake in an hour and fifteen.
When we lived in Colorado, there was no “going” to get up high; we lived just shy of 9000 feet. I would run up to Coal Bank Divide at 10,600 feet from my condo. The windows on both sides of my fireplace looked out at the Needles Mountains, and from my deck we could see Spud and Engineer.
In Bozeman we were in the valley, but it was a short drive to Big Sky to the south and up high in the Bridgers in the north. I rode my bike to Hyalite Lake from my home.
I’ve always had a thing about “up”. My two favorite directions have always been “out” and “up” 🙂
Well, we are definitely “out” here in Whitefish 🙂 We are pretty darn remote here in the Flathead, and it’s beautiful and we love it.
But we aren’t “up”.
And a peculiarity of this area is that we can’t GET “up”. I can drive to the base of Whitefish Mountain Resort in nine miles – and I do, often 🙂 – but that’s only at 4200 feet. There aren’t any roads that go “up” in the Whitefish Range.
And the Swans have plenty of “up”, but the peaks that go above treeline are well to the south of me – and there are NO ROADS that cross those moutains, not for a hundred miles to the south.
There is only one way that I can get up near treeline, and that is Going-to-the-Sun-Road in Glacier Nat’l Park. And that road doesn’t open until late in June and closes early; and when it is open, it is crowded.
So I’m surrounded by mountains, but I can’t get IN the mountains or ON the mountains. And that’s something that I do miss; I’ve been avoiding thinking about it, but this last week, my wife sent me some wallpaper –
– and I set it as my background immediately; but then realized that, while I believe that this is in Glacier, I can’t be sure of that, because I never get up there. I have driven GtsSR several times, but never hiked when I was up there, because I am always training (thanks, Ian).
And, if that peak is the one that I believe it to be, it troubles me just a little to know that my old condo is actually higher than that summit. That’s how high I used to be, and that’s how high I can’t even get to now.
You can’t actually accept something until you admit it, and I reckon it was time that I admit that I’m not UP THERE any more. I reckon OUT THERE is going to have to be good enough.