Spring in Glacier
A classic G. George Ostrom column from August, 1971.
One of the many, many things about Glacier Park that continues to amaze and bring pleasure each year is the way spring keeps occurring, from May until August.
For instance, if you happen to miss the blooming of the dog tooth violets (glacier lilies) near Lake McDonald in early June, you can catch them in July on the Garden Wall or August at Iceberg Lake.
The only drawback to this real dandy arrangement seems to be the very, very short summer above 7,000 feet.
I’ve observed Columbian ground squirrels at 8,500 feet. They must just get up in time to go to bed. Speaking of Iceberg Lake. On the way in there last Saturday my oldest son and I met an elderly man coming down, and I jokingly asked him if there was any scenery left “up there.” He replied, “There is much more than scenery at Iceberg Lake. I come here each year and go up very early, when the first rays of the morning sun come down from Mt. Wilbur, and I know once again I have truly been in God’s House.”
* There was a big parachute meet in the county seat last weekend, and I saw some new chutes that seem to be just a whole big bunch of ribbons tied together. That sorta spooked me a bit and reminded me of the days when the late Frank Derry invented the first chute with steering slots in it. Everybody thought he was crazy but the darned thing worked like a charm and was adopted by the Smokejumpers.
At first we only had a few Derry slots and everybody fought to see who got to use ‘em. The old Eagle Scouts we were using opened so hard they left the pattern of your underwear all over your body.
* There is a sort of disease which runs in my family. I inherited it through my mother.
Although not scientifically defined to my knowledge, I suppose it could be called junkalitis or possibly antiqueism. One of the beginning symptoms is the absolute inability to throw anything away, then, as the disease progresses, you start collecting “good stuff” other people throw away.
There are people who know about this disease and they collect old goodies to sell to us junkaholics. They are called antique dealers. These people are aided and abetted by others called pawnbrokers.
My latest prize is a matched pair of genuwine sheep hides tanned with the wool on. Iris keeps saying we didn’t need them, but I know better and one of these days when I figure out what they’re good for, she’s goin’ to be plenty sorry. (One of our first good fights when we had been married only about a year was over whether to buy a vacuum cleaner or a real good old Edison phonograph with 18 of those rolls. I foolishly let her win that one and it’s been an uphill fight every since.) Even now she’s talking about getting new bunk beds for the girls when she knows good and well I’m trying to set aside a few dollars for an Indian war bonnet.