Do you have a favorite place on earth?
As Ed wrote, there are many such places. Especially in early autumn I’ll take a certain corner of the North Fork that nicely bestrides the seasons; deep creek bottoms still firmly shadowed in spring, clear pools whose depths breath winter, and larch stands marching with indifference out of summer.
I’ve been there more times than I can remember, and while the miles back to pavement and density of bear tracks breed specialness more than anything, there can be little question that this place is so important to me because it has been such a consistent benchmark for what and how I’ve learned. The first time around the swollen brown river and my poorly calibrated internal speedometer combined to send me miles past my takeout, and I had in payment a long road walk in the dark. This time it had been just long enough, I remembered every corner almost accurately, and only moderately bored M with my constant nostalgia.
At the takeout a bear came along to remind us that here nothing was to be taken for granted, maybe the same black bear who the rangers told us had taken spray in the face a few days before and still roughed up the trail crews camp. It cruised the shoreline towards us with purpose, even after it plainly knew what we were. We moved quickly up to the road, and checked behind us often on the short walk back to the car.
Glacier is profundity set in human scale.
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