Here Lies Lake McDonald…Your Tomb.

Glacier National Park is currently my favorite National Park.  And what’s not to love? Gorgeous scenery, a chance to test your outdoorsman-ship, and even more gorgeous scenery?  I loved every snowy, raining, muddy, and slightly terrifying moment while we were in Glacier, and I’d go back in a heartbeat. I highly recommend it, and then I’ll recommend it again.

We camped by Lake McDonald, which is so beautiful (like everything in the park).  The water was always calm and still, like glass, and the picture I posted is a perfect spot for my little writing nook. I’d cozy up with my pen and paper and my iPod and just sit there, writing when I felt like it and staring off into space when I didn’t. It made you want to jump in especially on the hotter days.  Tons of people do it too. But then we made the “brilliant” decision to purchase a book about the deaths in Glacier National Park from the gift shop.  Horrible idea. Do you know how many people die in the park? A ton. From all sorts of things too. Mostly it was from drowning. Apparently the water is so cold, if you slip and fall into a river or waterfall, you’ll likely be paralyzed instantly from the shock and then drown.  The book listed tons of tourists who’d stepped too close on a rock by a waterfall, slipped and fell, and then drowned. Actually, a good handful had fallen into McDonald Falls, which feeds Lake McDonald. An even scarier story…THEY HAVEN’T FOUND SOME OF THE BODIES. They just know they most likely followed the river into the lake, where they were held down by the icy water.  It makes search and rescue missions extremely difficult because of the temperature of the water.  Which means we camped by a graveyard.

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(I did not take the above photo. A much more skilled and patient photographer did.)

A gorgeous graveyard. But still.  It was so weird to sit in my nook after reading that and thinking that I was sitting by someone’s tombstone.  It made me sad.  Something so pretty and so breathtaking (literally and figuratively) was so dangerous.  I’ve always imagined that I’m going to be that type of person that survives when dangerous shit happens. Like, if I were to fall into McDonald Falls I’d be able to swim or pull myself to safety. Am I the only one who has that sense of bravado?  I imagine being in a magazine or newspaper titled “Idiot Tourist Falls into Falls…Manages to Be a Badass and Swim to Safety…While Fighting Off a Bear.”  That’s the thing.  I’m sure I have no better chance that some of the other victims had. I’m of average build with below average swimming skills…I’d be more likely to survive if I just laid there then actually tried to swim out.

I know I’m going to die at some point.  But I still haven’t accepted that.  I figure that my life will run it’s course and I’ll be 85 looking back at it while scolding my grandchildren for scuffing my floors.  But people’s lives change and end quickly all the time.  I just hope I’ve come to terms with my own mortality before it sucker punches me in the face.

Until next time

The Chubby Cubby

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