It was a long winter. A good winter...but a long one.
Autumn came and went in the blink of an eye. In early October, what we had planned to be nearly a weeklong backpacking trip through Yellowstone was hindered by early season winter storms. The kind of storms that spit out thick, wet snow, chill you to the bone, and drench your gear and your spirits.
It goes without saying that Montana is extreme. I now know firsthand just how quickly the weather can change in the Rockies and surrounding alpine landscape. Never mind the disappointment of having to change our plans, cut the Yellowstone trip short, and deal with injuries; I am still very thankful for the experience. In the moment, tears streamed down my face while we were fording the Bechler River, overcome with emotion and amazed at how freezing my thighs could feel while submerged in the flowing water. Now I think back to that moment and might even crack a smile. Nature is incredible, dynamic, and so inspiring when you look it straight in the eye and live to tell about it.
It took me a while to finally develop the film from the last six months, not wanting to relive some experiences too soon and having apprehensions about what the photographs would reveal. Would my emotional and defeated attitude from our Yellowstone trip affect the outcome of the images? Would the images even turn out at all?
I laughed out loud when I finally saw the photos, because anyone would have never guessed what extremes we had just endured the day before. All the photos I took were mostly from the day after the storm, when early morning sunshine melted away the snow and revealed a beautiful afternoon. I guess nature is funny that way.
We still experienced beauty around Whitefish and Glacier National Park in the months that followed: spotting mountain goats and bears along hikes up to Dawson Pass, Pitamakan Pass, and Apgar Lookout; witnessing the start of winter at Logan Pass; eating huckleberries straight off the bush on Whitefish Mountain the day before frost settled in. It was a great season.
As the weather finally warms, I can feel summer just around the corner again.