My passport expired two years ago. Once, in my little world, a passport represented the only way to adventure. How silly of me! Some of my best adventuring over the last two years has been right here, at home, under the Big Sky.
They said we were crazy. Who swims in Glacier? They said the water was too cold. But, it’s Glacier. They asked us why. Because it’s Glacier!
Howard, my duck thermometer, said the water temperature in Kintla Lake was 62 degrees. I told my friend Amanda that it was 64. We waded out until the water—as pristine and clear as anything you’d find in the Caribbean—reached our upper thighs. We glanced back at shore and the voices of reason one last time.
And then we dove in.
As a kid, I was terrified of riding a roller coaster. In fact, I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain three or four times while in middle school and I always watched as my classmates lined up again and again to ride the roller coasters, never even tempted to join them.
If I’d known when the sled lunged forward with an “engine” powered by 10 sets of paws that the experience would feel like a roller coaster, I would have rethought the adventure.
I’m glad I didn’t know any different. Dog sledding is the best “roller coaster” I’ve ever been on.
I get a little nervous at big social gatherings, which may be odd for someone who might pass as a decent conversationalist, which is why on this particular adventure—to the premiere party for the Missoula Symphony’s season opener—I brought back-up: my brother, Michael. He’s a tall guy, so I stood in his shadow as if it would take the photos I’d gone there to take. From his side, I took my first photo. Then he disappeared and I’m not sure where to. (He showed up 30 minutes later with cheesecake.) But the next thing I knew, I had 30 photos and a handful of new friends.
What I most love about our community is that every day here promises an adventure. No passport required.
Kristen Kavanagh and her father Matthew Bowman smile big as their 40-paw engine pulls them through the Stillwater State Forest. Photography by Pamela Dunn-Parrish