Every year, the Conservancy welcomes a team of seasonal employees to work in our busy retail stores during the summer season. They travel from all over, and for many, this is their first trip to Montana or Glacier National Park. Their enthusiasm and energy are contagious as they experience many “firsts”. We thought it would be fun to share some of their personal experiences and reflections in a series of blog posts.

The fifth in this series is by Ariana from North Carolina.

One thing led to me coming out to Montana to work for the Conservancy and that was a road trip I took in 2021. Logan Pass wasn’t open yet so I was only able to go up to Avalanche Creek. I was immediately mesmerized by this place with the Swiss-like mountains, jade colored water, and villages that felt like home. I knew somehow, someway I’d find myself back here. When applying for summer positions I knew it had to be in Montana and I wanted it to be meaningful. I applied for the Conservancy and I feel so blessed that I was accepted for a position during the 2022 season!

What makes Glacier National Park so special is the way the environment makes you feel. Like how the Broadway lights shine in NYC, the mountain air gives you a sense of becoming, a sense of found and a sense of home. For me, that moment happened recently when I went to Many Glacier with my family. On the way to the east side of the park, you see the Lewis Mountain Range to your left and Blackfoot Reservation to your right. Immediately upon entering the park, we saw a golden grizzly bear named Burrito, as was told to us by the park rangers. He was eating grubs and berries down on the shore of Lake Sherburne. We proceeded towards the park and started to see the Swiss-inspired building of Many Glacier Hotel and the looming mountains of Grinnell Point, Mt. Allen, Mt. Gould and others in the background. You feel like you’ve been transported into another country but have this overwhelming sense of pride that this place exists within your country. We continued on our journey and did the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail around Swiftcurrent Lake. As we walked along we saw wildflowers blooming and boats taking passengers across the lake. Right before the trail ended, I saw an object move across the lake, it was a baby and mama moose! The only thing I wanted to see while I was out here was a moose and I finally saw one! I was ecstatic and overjoyed that I was able to have this experience. Now that seeing a moose had been checked off my list, there was only one thing left, seeing the Milky Way!

A woman in front of a lake with large mountains.

The author at Swiftcurrent Lake in Many Glacier

One of the first things my co-workers and I did when we got here was going star-gazing off the North Fork Road. A fascinating thing about Montana that I am not used to from growing up in North Carolina, is the amount of daylight you get. True midnight here is around 1:30 am, so you have to stay up most of the night to be able to see the night sky in all its beauty. While out in the park with my new friends, we talked about the upcoming season and the adventures we wanted to make. It was one of those memories that you never want to end but you know will have a lasting impact on who you are. This was an early moment in the season that confirmed why I came out here; to make life-long friends, to explore the backcountry of Glacier National Park, to go camping under the stars and learn the history of this place we call ‘The Crown Jewel of the Continent’.

I am so thankful to the Conservancy for giving me this opportunity and for the impact I get to make in the park, the friends I get to explore with and the experiences I get to have. My time here so far has already gone by so fast but I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds for me!