Wander here a whole summer, if you can. Thousands of God’s wild blessings will search you and soak you as if you were a sponge, and the big days will go by uncounted ... you will find yourself in the midst of what you are sure to say is the best care-killing scenery on the continent – beautiful lakes derived straight from glaciers, lofty mountains steeped in lovely nemophila-blue skies and clad with forest and glaciers, mossy, ferny waterfalls in their hollows, nameless and numberless, and meadowy gardens abounding in the best of everything ... Nevermore will time seem short or long, and cares will never again fall heavily on you, but gently and kindly as gifts from heaven.
– John Muir in Our National Parks, Houghton-Mifflin, 1901
Montana’s Big Sky was a broad, clear blue as I said my goodbyes and boarded a small plane at the refreshingly tiny Kalispell airport just as dawn was breaking. The majestic northern Rocky Mountains stood tall against the mauve and pink horizon. I’d spent just a few days here, exploring Glacier National Park via the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and was sorry to be leaving so soon.
With 745 miles of trails across more than a million acres of national park land matched by adjacent parks and gloriously undeveloped territory, the region provides much more than a glimpse of what our earth had to offer before 20th-century progress came along. However, it is just such progress that made this area available to us. The park serves as a reminder of the stunning beauty of our natural world and a reaffirmation that our national investment in preserving these lands is an incomparable gift to future generations.