Sunday, April 19, 2020

Mosaic Monday #76: A Silver Lining

Colored Sulphur on Broadleaf Arnica plant
Silver linings.  All of us are looking for silver linings these days.  As I thought about my post for this week, I chose to highlight a hike from September 2017.  It is the next hike (in chronological order) that has not appeared in this blog, but perhaps more importantly, it is a reminder of the ease with which we take something for granted.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - Upper Two Medicine Lake - 11.1 mile loop (Entry 22 in Hiking Journal)

This hike began from the Two Medicine campground, as did my last hiking post, part of a two-night camping trip to the east side of Glacier National Park (GNP).
Two Medicine Lake
Perusing the pictures from the hike, it prompted memories of the forest fires in the summer of 2017.  It was for precisely that reason that we were on the east side of the park, trying to escape the worst of the smoke.  And yet, the hazy nature of the photos shows we were only partly successful.  As I wrote in my journal "The day was much smokier and very still, which gave a misty/gloomy/somewhat surreal look to everything." 
Pumpelly Pillar
Left - this hike in Sept. 2017
Right - the same spot in July 2018 - how the sky is SUPPOSED to look
Pumpelly Pillar leads you like a beacon toward Twin Falls, which were flowing well despite the advanced stage of Autumn and the summer drought.  Man with Hat had to drag me away from taking pictures of the falls, Arnica and Colored Sulphur.   In these closer shots, you can almost pretend there was no smoke that day.

Throughout the hike, we encountered fellow travelers who had "just" seen a moose.  Each time, we quickened our pace in hopes of glimpsing Alces alces.  Unfortunately, the closest we got was a very fresh pile of scat (not pictured).  Of special note was a family group of three seen near the pond just below Upper Medicine Lake.  By all accounts, the moose gathering caused a traffic jam on the trail.  Well, neither the traffic or the moose were anywhere to be seen by the time we passed that way.
Lone Walker Mountain at the west end of Upper Two Medicine Lake
Rock cliffs towered over the trail, which quickly led to Upper Two Medicine Lake.  We enjoyed our lunch, but the fishing was not fruitful, and Man with Hat suggested we return to the pond - apparently others had gotten lucky there.  I was up for that - maybe the moose would put in an appearance!
Sure enough, he caught three lake trout (all released)!
But no moose.
We retraced our steps to Twin Falls and then took the right fork toward the boat landing.  Along the way, we were grateful for the pit toilet.  (Can I hear an AMEN from my fellow lady hikers?)  Toilets may not be an appropriate subject among polite company, but they are a reality in the backcountry and deserve a heartfelt mention for those who construct and maintain these facilities.  I am often amused by the creative/humorous touches on some of them, as shown below.
Shortly we arrived at the boat launch, chaotic with people queuing for the boat that would save them a walk back to the campground.  We had no plans to board, but it was clear that people near the end of the line were concerned about making it.  You know that behavior - when everyone is watching everyone else to ensure that no-one cuts the line?  Sometimes the tension is almost visible, vibrating in the air.  In light of our current circumstances, doesn't it seem almost silly?

It was a different, serene world after the boat had disgorged a large tour group, EVERYONE who wanted a spot on the boat boarded, and the Sinopah puttered away. Man with Hat and I were left alone with the still water and a family of mergansers.  While he fished (no luck), it was delightful to remove my boots and socks and plodge in the water (I promise I wasn't scaring off the fish).  The temperature difference between the river (freezing) and the lake (ok) was marked, and I didn't linger in the river.   
Upper right: Horsetail plant                     Lower: river entering the lake with boat shelter on left
The final leg of the hike skirted the south side of Two Medicine Lake.  We were pleasantly surprised to discover Aster Falls and a set of beaver ponds in the final mile and a half.

Upon arrival at our campsite, we played cards while enjoying first-class appetizers with our wine and beer.  Later, Head Chef would prepare a gourmet meal, and we would collapse into our tent shortly after nightfall.  

I am sure that at the time, I was not completely pleased with this hike.  The
views were diminished, the air quality was poor, and I didn't see any moose!  However, with the benefit of hindsight, I am grateful for all of our GNP excursions, smoky or not, moose or not.  Similar to many other national parks, GNP is closed and it is unclear when it will open.  We've had no communication from the Backcountry Office to know whether it is processing the camping applications that we submitted a month ago.   At this point, I would be happy to get any kind of access to the Park, and I am berating myself for my past childish, selfish point of view.  

I dare to dream that the pandemic will come to an end.  I dare to dream that we will embrace the presence of others, rather than seeing them as a threat to something we want.  I dare to dream that we will have more patience, and more gratitude for the simple things (even when they are not "perfect").  That could be enough silver linings for me.

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I can understand how you felt abut the anxiety of others waiting for the boat. If nothing else these last several weeks I've been taught patience. Have a wonderful week!

  2. You have gotten to see so many amazing places, that is a silver lining and then some!

  3. Thank you for sharing your adventure and for the positiveness of your post. We must all remember to look for those silver linings! Be safe and well.

  4. Thanks for sharing the dream and the memories (definitely ours are silver linings these days as well). So are our pictures .... and yours are definitely treasured ones. ...yes, the definitions of “perfect” or “a good day” have certainly changed in the last month. Gratitude too!

  5. These are beautiful photos and memories that you shared. It is okay to dream that the pandemic will come to an end and it will. I think through all this we have learned about patience and gratitude. Have a wonderful day. Be safe.

  6. Your post reminds me the saying: the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. It’s strange how in the thick of our plans when things don’t go right we lament. However, these messy unplanned moments often turn out more delicious in hindsight.

  7. Looked like a wonderful time to me, such beautiful scenery. The smoke is not pleasant though. I hope we have learned a lot from the enforced home time and I hope we remember what we have learned into the future.

  8. ...there's always a silver lining in every storm cloud. During this mess that we are in the environment is mending itself after all the awful things that we done to it. I wonder if you will ever learn anything from this crisis. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images and for hosting, take care.

  9. Great photos and love the appetizers! I can't wait to get outside to visit our parks!

  10. It was good to revisit this trip you made and your thoughts and sights along the way. It was also good to read your dreams about this pandemic. It will be so good to look back instead of wondering about what will be in the next couple months. Take care dear lady!

  11. We've has some smokey summers months since moving here, and that is why I am never unhappy to see snow or rain! Moisture is always welcome as fire is always a threat in Colorado. Our Rocky Mountain National Park is also closed. It sound state may open soon-- stay safe and healthy Angie!

  12. Thank you Angie for sharing your memories and photos from your 2017 camping trip. Thank you too for hosting your 76th Mosaic Monday. I am grateful that I can stay at home and keep busy but I do miss the freedom to go out for groceries without worrying. Hugs.

  13. Threads of hope, silver linings, we need these so very much now
    Happy Mosaic Monday

    much love...

  14. Good Morning Angie, it neues time to read, to translate ... and I enjoyed of course the captures of a wonderful unknown nature.

    Dreams & Plans seems a good Motto in these days of Corona. Looking forward is the only, we can do in our isolation. Its okay - we are well.

    Stay healthy.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  15. Hello,
    Great memories of your camping trip in Glacier NP. I just love the views of the park, trails and waterfalls. It will be nice when all the parks open back up. I will remain patient and enjoy the simple pleasures close to home. Your photos are beautiful. Thanks for hosting MM! Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy, healthy new week!

  16. Polite or not, us ladies really need our toilets, even in the middle of nowhere. =) Dare to dream. All fabulous dreams, Angie. I would like to think we will all come ouf of this at the other end, with reflective souls, living more simply and being kinder to others. I hope some will but the images from your country at the moment with the protestors......obviously some will not. On a lighter note I always adore the photos you share with us. You truly do live in the most scenic of places. Hopefully this situation will come to an end sooner rather than later, and you and your Spousal Unit/Head Chief will again enjoy the outdoor life that you both adore so.

  17. Great shots of this delightful place, Angie. There are certain sacrifices one has to make when hiking, but the breathtaking beauty more than makes up for it!

  18. We are all looking forward to getting out on our favorite trails. I'm glad and thankful that we have a favorite that is still open and close to home. It's been a life saver! And you are right, we always have other people tell us they just saw a herd of deer or wild turkey and then we find ourselves looking for them the whole time! Take care and stay safe! Thanks for the party my friend!

  19. The pillar reminds me of a monolith at Zion. What a beautiful place!

  20. Angie, you were brave to backpack in that dense smoke. I get sad and depressed, not to say hacking, just driving through smoky passes. I did like your adventure though. Beauty is always there, regardless of smoke. :-) Happy Trails!

  21. Beautiful post. I hope the national parks can reopen this summer. BTW, my theory is that women wore long skirts because they didn't have restrooms. Coverage.

  22. I am so sorry I missed your link this week. I will have to share next week. I think there is much to be grateful for, which we are all starting to realise, and hopefully won't take things for granted after this is all over.

  23. Hi Angie - I am so glad that I made it for my virtual hike with you, even if the air quality was poor. I'm missing being out in nature although our Bangkok silver lining is that our air is clearer at the moment! Shame about the lack of a moose spotting but as you say putting it in perspective a hike, is a hike, is a wonderful time out in nature!

  24. hey Angie popping by to visit everyone and I don't see my comment...I did do it from my phone so that could be why.
    Anyway...I do so love your hiking trips and trail cam shots that you share with us.
    Stay safe
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  25. Dear Angie – I’m afraid I can’t identify which wild fire in 2017 though I remember well the consequent earthquakes in my country. Disasters are constantly happening anywhere in the world. Though we think and pray for the victims and the affected, somewhere in mind, the disasters in other places look like fire on the opposite shore. But COVID-19 disease occurs worldwide, we are experiencing common disaster. Under the circumstances, this post tells us the past experience which might not have been complete pleasure back then is not an ordinary thing but a miracle. The Pumpelly Pillar stands majestic and encouraging. I’m happy to be able to travel to this place from my chair. Take care.


  26. I, too, am longing for the day when we can pack up our car or boat and take off for the wilds again. It's good we have these memories to remind us of better times. That summer, 2017, was a smoky one here, too. We took the boat to Princess Louisa Inlet and couldn't even see the tops of the mountains. We were planning to return there this summer if the wildfires held off, but now with the pandemic it's unlikely.

  27. What a great journal cover! 2017 and 18 were terrible summers for fires in BC and here in Washington State. Smoke was so thick it was hard to breathe. Last summer was a nice respite. Hope it continues this year. Your story about being "slave" labour in your father's garden and getting rewarded with a tomato fight was fun to imagine. - Margy

  28. I dare to dream with you and to believe that things will get better and I'm hoping sooner than later. I enjoyed your look back at this hike and all the wonderful things you saw. Yippee for those outhouses! That sure looks like real good hiking food! Hats off to the Chef!

  29. What a beautiful outside, stay safe Angie.

  30. I absolutely agree with your last para Angie. This crisis has brought out both the best and the worst in many people and I’m afraid to say that it is the worst that hit the headlines.

    Your information about pit toilets (yes, it was interesting) set me remembering one that our team enjoyed while at a remote part of Long Point Ontario. Obviously at such a remote place there was little point in closing the door so there was a board on the wall to record bird sightings while ensconced on the throne. My best I think was a Great Horned Owl flying past, but so many species it’s difficult to be sure.

    On another morning of our team of four (2 boys 2 girls) discovered a Raccoon down the pit and said that he’d carried on anyway, but I rather doubt that. Needless to say, afterwards everyone was careful to take long hard look before taking a seat. True story.

  31. What an adventure you had even though you didn't see any moose. I am thinking they saw you though.
    When I was a kid and we lived in White Mountains of Arizona my brother and I would walk to the Little Colorado River and fish (never caught anything) but I loved sticking my bare feet into the freezing cold water.

  32. Another great adventure remembered. It's too bad for all that smoke but that happens a lot in the summers. Great photos and thanks for sharing.

  33. Thank you for sharing another adventure with us.
    I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing the photographs.

    Stay safe and well.

    All the best Jan

  34. Beautiful photos and post ~ Let's all dream together and make it so ~ ^_^

    Be Well,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  35. Your photos are beautiful! The views are breathtaking!


  36. Somehow I missed this! So sorry. Love your photos and attitude. I'm hoping you'll be able to go back to your hiking this year. We had to change our trip in June for October. Now this summer we're hoping to go to Yellowstone. Take care. Kit


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