Greetings from Glacier National Park

I had just returned home from a seven year tour of duty with the Marine Corps. Arriving home I quickly realized how much my baby brother had grown up. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and we still didn’t have that special bond we had before I left home for the service. This led me to wonder who was the last “me” he knew. What were we doing with each other before I left? The difficult answer to accept was that before I left me and my baby brother were not getting along. He still needed to be watched after and I was about to graduate high school and forge my way in the world. I saw him as a hindrance and he usually paid the price with noogies and soaking up whatever cruel things I could think of to say to him. When I realized that these things were probably his last impression of me my heart broke to pieces. I had to make it right. In April of 2009 I called him and said, “Hey, how would you like to go to Glacier National Park?” Better yet, “How would you like to go backcountry backpacking in Glacier National Park?” We had both been outdoor enthusiasts most of our live but had never set foot inside any of the iconic parks of the west and as far as we could tell Glacier was truly the jewel of them all. We got ready and set out on the trip. We drove the thirty hour trip straight through taking shifts when necessary. After spending a day acclimatizing we set out on a loop I had planned that began in Many Glacier. The adventure was real! It was really happening! And I had my baby brother, now a young man, by my side. We fought our way up a set of switch backs and could finally look down over the Many Glacier Valley with its turquoise lakes. We stopped for a breather and with both of us standing face forward into the alpine breeze taking in the beauty I apologized for anything and everything I ever said or did that made him feel as though I may not love him. After a tearful embrace I assured him that I did love him and always would. No other place on earth but the serene beauty and solitude of Glacier National Park would have served to rebuild the bond between my brother and me. To this day the park and nature serves as a special place where my brother and I know that we are together.

Lee Smitherman

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park preserves more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows and lakes with habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal life.

State(s): Montana

Established: 1910

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