The Great Northern Mountain in wintertime
Subject: Stanton Lake, Great Bear Wilderness
The light goes quickly over the Great Northern Mountain in wintertime. A few clouds above nod, disappear as they flash a nondescript orange and pink. But mostly it is a deepening blue above me and below me. This is a first time, a first moment, yet there is something familiar about it.
I first heard about hiking to Stanton Lake during an interview. It was the number one recommended hike by the hiring panel, a local favorite. Even though I had worked only a few miles away from this location (you can see into Glacier National Park from here), I had never visited, or researched the area. I had no idea what to expect.
As I stand here though, thinking about the view, I am reminded of my roots in the U.S. Forest Service, where I first got started as ranger in Lake Tahoe, California. Before the grand parks, the breaching whales, the click-clack of the grizzly bear claws on the Denali highway, there was a place with long, drawn out evening hikes into an endlessly repeating landscape filled with pine trees, fir trees, and dotted with quiet granite peaks. Here at Stanton Lake the rocks were not granite, but the feeling was the same. Quiet and surrounded by a forest that felt endless. It was almost like going home.
The feeling remained with me, as I turned around and headed back up the trail, stopping briefly to take one last look at the blue wilderness melting into the night behind me.