It has been a long winter in Montana. Folks tell me that winter is what Montanans endure for three months of play in the mountains--looks like this year there might only be a couple of months of play in the mountains. A week ago the wife and I went to Mountain Top Retreat, just south of Bozeman, for the annual Clergy Retreat. It snowed eight inches right before we got there to go on top of the snow that was already on the ground. The caretaker said that they hadn't seen the grass since October! It has been a long winter--too long.
Most of the snow right now is in the mountains. At Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks they are attempting to get the roads cleared so the tourists can start streaming in in a couple of weeks. In Yellowstone they have been trying to clear one of the main roads that comes in from the east and goes over Sylvan Pass. The snow is 22 feet deep with drifts of 30 feet, and it doesn't help that they keep getting weekly snowstorms dumping eight to ten inches of fresh snow. The crews are now working 12-hour days, six days a week, in hopes to get the road open by mid-May. In Glacier the snow has been creating avalanches that keep covering up their cleared roads. The Beartooth Pass, near Red Lodge, well it is typically open for driving Memorial Day but may be mid-June before it is given the "clear" sign for driving. There is a lot of snow in them there mountains!
Around this time of year I begin to feel a longing emerging deep from within me. It is a longing to get out and get into the mountains to hike. The winter's snow has put a big damper on that so far this Spring--there is just no way to hike. A little snow is expected when hiking in the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains, but that is what makes hiking an adventure. The mind knows that, but the spirit does not understand. The spirit wants to go!
So, I find myself daydreaming a lot about hiking in the mountains--getting away from it all. It is a longing . . . I sort of made a sacrifice towards pleasing that longing last week at the Clergy Retreat when I went snowshoeing. In the picture above those are my tracks. It was a blast despite the wife's concern that I would get lost. My response to that concern was, "Don't worry . . . I can follow my tracks back!" It is amazing how different the world looks when it is covered in snow. Here are a few of the wonders I saw while snowshoeing:
As wondrous as it was trekking around the mountains and woods on snowshoes, I am ready for a snow-less hike. As my mother used to say, "And this, too, shall pass." Probably sometime in mid-July according to the weather services! Yep, it has been a long, long winter. Even the birds are getting tired of it:
Yep, we are all longing . . .