The last best place?

The last best place? July 21, 2019


On Logan Pass
Reynolds Mountain, at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, Montana


Growing up in California and then adopting Utah as my new home state, I long thought that I would preferred to live in the East.  Among other things, the sophisticated and venerable universities of the Northeast fascinated me.


It’s only in recent years that I’ve discovered that I really am a Westerner by nature.  The large vistas of the West are more comfortable to me, as it turns out, than the heavily forested and relatively flat landscape of much of the East.  I’ve even come to realize that I resonate with the Nevada desert, with its colors that change throughout the day.


But the country that we’ve been traveling through for the past couple of days, the area around Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and, perhaps even more so, the area of Glacier National Park — this kind of landscape is medicine for my soul.  And the Canadian Rockies!  I can scarcely wait.


Lago McDonald, MT
Lake McDonald, in Glacier Lake, Montana, on a cloudy day
(Wikimedia Commons public domain photo)


Those who first began to develop and market Glacier National Park sought to sell it to the public as “America’s Switzerland,” and I can certainly see why.  I think that I’ve told here a few times of my love for Switzerland and the Alps.  The Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound have something of the same effect.  And parts of Norway.


I enjoy a beautiful beach as much as the next guy, I suppose, but it’s alpine scenery that really stirs my soul — and that seems to me most powerfully to speak of the transcendent.




Incidentally, I would feel deeply ungrateful if I didn’t publicly thank the small cadre of obsessive critics who spend so much of their lives seeking to find errors in blog entries that I post.  I know that they read my blog with meticulous care, compiling lists of my turns of phrase, checking my facts, amassing estimates of the time I spend on blogging, performing basic quantitative analysis on their estimates, and so forth.


It’s genuinely remarkable.


Yet they have no reward other than the sheer wild joy that they experience when they believe that they’ve found something that will make me look bad.


And so I want to thank them.  On the occasions when they have found an error, I’ve typically tried, if I could, to rectify it.  I don’t know their names — although they labor daily, they do so anonymously — but I marvel at their single-minded devotion.


Posted from Columbia Falls, Montana



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