Weekend Diversion: Making it Count!

"The time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening it, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal. 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, on Glacier National Park

It's always hard to tear yourself away from your day-to-day life, from the things you work hard at building, and remember that there's a whole wide world -- and a whole Universe -- to experience and enjoy. Perhaps the best times in my life involve going off to explore some new and, at least for me, uncharted place, a feeling that Cat Power very much captures in her cover of the classic song,

New York.

This coming week, I'll be taking my first vacation of the year, and will be spending some time at one of the natural wonders of the world: Glacier National Park.

"Hidden Lake", photo by National Parks Service Staff.

Carved by glaciers over hundreds of thousands of years, the park is currently filled with the valleys and lakes that have resulted as the Earth has warmed.

"St. Mary Lake", photo by National Parks Service Staff.

The park is only completely open from June until mid-September each year, as the main road in the park closes due to snows and the difficulty of plowing the main road. But when it is open, it's well worth the trip. Below is the view, at sunset, from the main visitor's center at Logan's Pass, atop the Continental Divide.

Image credit: Global Travel Alliance / GTrek; Educational Travel and Adventure Science.

And although the changing climate and temperatures means that the last glacier in the park will be completely melted by the 2020s, I'm not missing my chance to see them while they're still here.

Grinnell Glacier from the trail overlook, via USGS staff.

For those of you wondering, the park's name will not change, even when the last glacier is gone.

Image credit & copyright: Steve Cannistra.

I know most of you will miss the astrophysics; I'll miss sharing it with you, too. I hope to come back even a fraction as refreshed and renewed as John Muir did, and I'm sure we'll have many things -- exciting and new -- to share and talk about when I return.

Granite Park from Glacier NP.

Image credit: Tyler Nordgren, former Artist-in-Residence at Glacier National Park, 2008.

In the meantime, please explore some classic Starts With A Bang through the linked suggestions or the monthly archives (at right), and post your favorite finds below to share with each other. And don't forget to check out the latest Carnival of Cosmology, here.

I'll be back after a week-long hiatus, and we'll have the entire Universe to talk about. See you then!

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Enjoy your holidays Ethan.

It's good to come down to earth sometimes, even if it's just for a week.

I recommend a hike to gunsight pass and back. I think it's about 20 miles round trip but I could be wrong.

Ethan, I was lucky enough to witness the Perseids from Glacier. Was an incredible experience.

By Tor Bertin (not verified) on 03 Sep 2012 #permalink

we have been there the last two summers, Glacier is fantastic! I don't know where you are staying, but I recommend East Glacier, it is less crowded that the west side. Although Kalispell is a great town, make sure to go to Mooses for pizza and beer. Its an institution.
If you do stay in East Glacier, I recommend Brownies. It's a bakery that is also a hostel run by a very nice couple. We always stay there, it's a very communal place. two bunk rooms for singles, and about ten other rooms for privacy or couples. We always get room 2, it has a queen bed with a twin bunk atop, perfect for our family of three. Also, common baths and a Kitchen for all to use.
So much to see, you won't go wrong with anything.

Also, make sure you rent some Bear Spray! You can't fly with it, not even in packed luggage, but a lot of places will rent you a can. If you don;t use it, bring it back for a %50 refund, if you do, well, then you got your moneys worth.

Glacier is a spectacular place! I recommend the Many Glaciers entrance at the northeast part of the park, but it's all good. A couple of years ago I had a surprise encounter with a grizzly mom and three cubs on the trail to Iceberg Lake, so be careful. Also, check for trail closures -- sometimes they temporarily close a trail if human/bear encounters become problematic.

Glacier Park looks stunning - another place to add to my bucket list! Have a great holday.

The photos you have included on this site are stunning. I would love to make a print of the Logan Pass at Sunset. How could I get a photo release to make a copy?