Carly and I have been dating for over six years and married for just under three now, which seems like such a short time when I write it like that, but we’ve packed a whole lot of adventure into those 6 years. In that short time, we’ve also started to develop some family traditions. There are traditions that will surely grow in the years to come, but some that I hope will never change. For anyone that’s read a few of my posts, I’ve written about it a couple of times before, but one tradition that I hope never changes is returning the same weekend to the spot of our engagement every year. The first time we came, we were still living in Oklahoma; however, now, the tradition has been made easier since moving to the Centennial State. Leading up to this weekend, I couldn’t believe it was already time for our fourth trek up to St. Mary’s Glacier.
We’re starting to learn our lesson when it comes to parking at the trailhead, and arrived just before 8am. We found parking no problem, but I’m sure it filled up not soon after. As is part of the tradition, I’m entrusted to carry the cooler full of food and drinks to the top of the rocky climb. The way back down is always easier once my backpack has been emptied.
There were a few people surrounding the lake when we finally emerged from the forest to the full glory of St. Mary’s Glacier. There was also more snow that we had ever remembered seeing before. I’m wondering if it hasn’t been quite as warm there this year, because at the same time, the water was also much lower than we were accustomed to. The rock where Carly was sitting when we got engaged is typically right along the edge of the water, but today, it was sitting much further back.
Our favorite picnic spot around the edge of the lake was open, and we staked our claim by spreading the blanket. We settled in to relax and sink into the serenity surrounding us. It was here that we spent the next couple of hours – neither of us with a care in the world. Other people came and went. They took their pictures and moved on. We stayed unmoving, almost as if we were part of the landscape itself, content to have the breeze and the sun on our faces.
Eventually, though, we got the urge to go exploring. We hadn’t been over to the glacier itself since the year we got engaged, and with all that snow looking down at us, it was calling us back this year. Since there were people near it on our way in, we also stopped on the way to the glacier to take some pictures on “our rock”.
We continued on around the lake to the side that resembles more of a beach setting, with a lot more people spread out. Today, there was even a group of paddle boarders exploring the lake and shouting “encouragement” at the cliff divers.
The crowds had arrived by this time, and we found the trail off the beaten path that we had taken 4 years ago for some peace and quiet away from everyone to enjoy ourselves. It proved just as peaceful this year.
After spending a few minutes in the quiet, we scurried our way back up to the main trail and made our way to the glacier itself. I climbed up as far as was necessary to get past the throngs of people having their snowball fights and sledding down the glacier. The view is incredible from up there, and it really is worth it to work your way past the people for a quick peek.
As is the case every year, it was hard to eventually pull ourselves away from the peaceful lake and make our way back down to the parking lot. It’s easier knowing that we can come back anytime we want. It’s also easier knowing that there’s a 100% chance that we’ll be back again this same weekend next year for our 5th time!