You know what they say about hiking in grizzly country, don’t you?
You don’t have to be faster than a charging bear. You just have to be faster than your hiking partner.
That’s bad news for me because my partner - my sister-in-law, JoAnne - seems to be doing everything possible to make sure she’s the fleetest afoot.
Yep, as you read this I’ll be in Glacier National Park - the crown jewel of America’s national park system - with more than 1 million acres, 175 mountains and 26 glaciers. And countless grizzly bears. We’re spending our first night in a “tiny house” we found in the Blackfeet Nation. The rest of the time we’ll be staying at various locations in the park.
Yep, for the seven days we’ll be armed with nothing but bear spray, Swiss Army knives and our sharp wits.
Who’s the better hiker? Who can outrun a grizzly? You decide:
JoAnne hiked the Inca Trail a few months ago. About two weeks ago I saw on Facebook that she was trekking through the Shenandoah Mountains in some sort of clandestine warm-up.
I, by contrast, walk about five miles a day along the beach and haven’t even attempted an assault on Virginia Beach’s Everest: Mt. Trashmore at 60 feet.
The great equalizer for us, though, seems to be hip pain. We’re both suffering from it.
She got a guided injection two weeks ago. I got one last week. We’re both on heavy-duty anti-inflammatories.
“You just have to keep moving, even if it hurts,” is my sister-in-law’s motto.
"Getting old sucks,” is mine.
Still, the mother-of-five is not only younger but has always been faster than I. We’ve run two half-marathons together - one in Virginia Beach and another in New Orleans - and she’s kicked my dawdling derriere both times. She’s also better than I am at yoga, kayaking and everything else she tries.
So if only one of us is going to come back from Montana, I’d put my money on her.
I knew nothing about this rugged and remote park that borders British Columbia until my son announced last summer that he’d gotten a job there. I stopped to see him on my way back from a trip to California and was stunned by the breathtaking scenery, the wilderness, the absolute majesty of the place.
Best of all, cell service is spotty. Wifi non-existent. It’s a place to unwind.
I had only three days in Glacier in 2017, but as my plane lifted off from the Kalispell airport, I gazed back across the mountain range and vowed I’d return. Before I got too old and infirm to hike.
So, I’ll be off the grid until September 18th, but there are no days off at kerrydougherty.com. We’ll have something here every weekday.
I’ve been working ahead. Just for you!
If we get cell service in Montana, I’ll send some pix. Otherwise, I’ll post photos and musings from my trip when I return. (Just what everyone wants, right, to look at someone else’s vacation photos?)
Friday’s email blast will come courtesy of Webmaster Carlie and VP Bryn, who will also be checking my email and posting to social media. (Unless the power is out due to the hurricane.)
kerrydougherty.com is in good hands while I’m away. But I’ll be back.