I arrived in Montana at the same time that I came down with a wicked head cold, courtesy of a stretch of 20-something-degree nights and no sleeping bag.

One night in Great Falls I made a middle-of-the-night dash inside from my parking space “home” in the middle of RV Alley at Walmart and bought a $14, 50-degree sleeping bag, which was one of those exceptionally positive life choices that leaves you wondering why it took you so long to make it.

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Autumn reflections at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

So the beginning miles of Montana passed by in a shivering blur, but somewhere along the way I realized that I’d unconsciously tumbled into love with it – the wide open spaces and deserted roads stretching into the horizon and the huge, unfathomable vastness of that Montana sky… what is it that makes the Montana sky seem so much bigger than any other sky?

Glacier National Park was my first destination in Montana, and after pausing for a couple days to attempt (unsuccessfully) to sleep off the sick in Great Falls, I pressed on toward the northern wilderness.

I’ve been to 15 national parks so far in the past two months, each one unique and breathtakingly beautiful in its own way, and am not in the slightest becoming calloused to their wonder.

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The bright yellow leaves of Aspens in the Autumn set Glacier National Park on fire

However, Glacier National Park is one of the most indescribably magical places that I have ever been. I wasn’t feeling up to my normal hiking/climbing habits, so I simply wandered, and saw and photographed and breathed it all in. Most people recoup under a mound of blankets on the couch in front of the TV when they’re sick; I was lucky to be enveloped in the restorative beauty of one of the most wildly beautiful spots in the country, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, turquoise glacial pools, and bright yellow aspens.

I wouldn’t have wished for a single thing to be different.

But, I will be going back again to climb those peaks whose call I was unable to answer 🙂

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A mountain goat and her baby joined me for a little hike to a glacial lake

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Glacial lakes are an unbelievably shade of tropical turquoise

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The milky way shines bright over Lake McDonald

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Sunset behind Lake McDonald

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Glacial lakes and snow-capped peaks lie around every bend of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park

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Autumn in Glacier National Park is pure magic