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The author at Lake Josephine

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.

Our third in the series is by Eliza from Virginia.

In my last semester year of college, I began reflecting on my past decisions and what I truly wanted to get out of the next few years of my life. The ultimate goal is to become a physician assistant (PA), but with my limited healthcare experience due to COVID-19, it was unlikely that I would get into PA school before 2024. Therefore, I had a decision to make: begin working in healthcare after graduation to gain experience or do something completely different for my last summer break. I chose the latter. 

When I began looking into summer jobs, I knew I wanted something different. I grew up in Winchester, Virginia and went to college in Pennsylvania, to a school at which my father worked. I made my decisions about school and my future life based around my family and my desire to be close to them. However, in the past year, I felt the need to go somewhere else, do something different, and explore on my own for a while. I wanted to get that true “moving away from home” experience. And so, I began looking for jobs out west.

When I found the Glacier Conservancy on CoolWorks, I instantly had a good feeling. The environment seemed to value staff bonding, which was something I was looking for, in addition to the welcoming and accepting nature of the nonprofit. Since I’ve been here, it’s obvious that my appraisal was accurate. The spiel that I tell my friends back home when they ask how it’s going is “It’s amazing! It’s so beautiful here and everyone is so nice,” which couldn’t be more accurate. 

In addition to a positive work environment, the natural environment of Glacier National Park is stunning. I grew up right outside the Shenandoah National Park, so I am no stranger to hiking and mountainous scenery, but Glacier does not compare to any other place I have been before. Every morning, I feel so extremely lucky to be living and working in and around this park and to get to know and hang out with all the other seasonal workers. In addition, my long-time boyfriend, Brendan, also landed the same job with the conservancy, so being able to live and work together has been a welcome change from our nearly three year, long-distanced relationship. 

 

A hiker on a trail along a lake.

Hiking along Lake Josephine

So far, my favorite memory of my time here was when Brendan and I hiked in Many Glacier, completing the Swiftcurrent Loop and hiking up the west side of Lake Josephine. It was my first time on the east side of the park, and I was excited. The Swiftcurrent Loop begins in a forested trail and follows around the edge of Swiftcurrent Lake with a few scenic turnouts. Then, as you come to the west side of Lake Josephine, the trees fade away and the trail takes you along the lower ridgeline of Grinnell Point. This part of the hike is what made it my favorite memory so far, and honestly, my favorite hike I’ve ever done. The views of Lake Josephine and the surrounding mountains were breathtaking. I found myself taking photos after every turn in the trail – in awe of the scenery. If we had continued on this trial for a few more miles, we would have found ourselves at Grinnell Glacier, which is one of the most iconic areas of Glacier National Park; however, it was closed due to snow when we were there. I fully intend on returning to complete the Grinnell Glacier hike! 

I am beyond excited to continue exploring the park, learning, and growing. It has already been an experience of a lifetime and I cannot wait to make more memories.