Ah, But it's Cold Outside



Tim Rains

Subject: McDonald Creek, Glacier National Park

The first time I took my cross-country skis out for the winter, it was right after the long cold snap. Dreams and visions of a tropical Hawaii were flitting through my head as I would be headed there soon, but I knew I needed to get out before then. I headed to Glacier National Park to ski McDonald Creek with a fellow park ranger and photographer.

Because the snow had started to melt in the warm spell, icicles formed, coating the sides of the narrow canyon. They magnified the miniscule clumps of moss and lichen, decorating them with small tiny jewels, forming intricate, thin sheets of crystalline spider webs up and down the rock. It reminded me of the glass paperweights my dad collected, tiny micro-worlds frozen in time. 

Despite the deep freeze of winter, the fall was still roaring away, although this time of the year you could hear chinks of ice breaking off and crashing into the water. My friend pointed out tracks in the snow; maybe it was a pine marten, and other tracks we found were definitely moose. All were evidence that wildlife still motivated during the colder season, more than likely coming down to drink the fresh water which had yet to freeze over. Good encouragement for us to do the same and enjoy the outdoors despite the cold.

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About This Blog

An explorer, wanderer, photographer-artist, Tim Rains is a national park ranger seeking out connection and community to Montana’s wild places.  Come, explore with him as he discovers why Montana's glacier country is considered "the last best place." Follow Tim on Instagram @rangerrains or view more of his work at timrains.com

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