It is blissful days such as the one I am about to try to describe that haunt writers for a lifetime. Feeling the presence of the absolute in absolutely every moment, it’s as though no words can ever capture what has been lived by those experiencing it.
For starters, I wake up at 5 a.m. inside my hammock tent overlooking the river. Above me is a massive moon, looking almost full. Falling back asleep, I next wake up under the sun. Jon comes by as I sway back and forth. He offers me a sip of coffee.
In a state of let-go, I head to the campsite’s outhouse. It’s tucked away in the bushes, making me feel nothing but safe, comfortable, and in slight hysterics as I accidentally walk in on Steve who’s apparently operating on the same clock as me…
Good thing we’re all comfortable with each other now.
As I wait, I sit in the sun. Of course, I take to eating blueberries.
By the time I am washed up and back at camp, there’s an amazing breakfast waiting to be eaten. Eggs, salsa, quinoa, parmesan cheese, and avocado. Once we clean up, we head back to Great Glacier Lake but this time with the canoes over our heads.
On the way up, I am observing both the puppy and mermaid in me say over and over and over again:
You have to get in it. You have to get in it. You have to get in it.
So I do.
Within moments of arriving, I tell myself if I don’t dive in now, I never will. I suit up and jump into the canoe. The nine of us collectively pick the perfect line.
“Swim to that glacier!”
“Nah, I reckon that one over there,” says Jack.
Finally, we come to a conclusion.
I walk into the water from the floating island we have parked ourselves, slap the goggles on my face, and swim as calmly & quickly as I can, to this…
When I climb out and get right on top, my focus is broken by the entirety of the crew clapping like seals. They’re even making seal noises…
ARU ARU ARU!
I get onto the backside of the glacier. I am extra careful to not slip and fall. Climbing up as high as I can make it, I slide down the face of this glacier and back into the water! JUST LIKE A SEAL! I’m too stoked to even think about being cold. Am I even cold? By the time I check in with myself, it’s all over before I know it and I am back on shore having just experienced one of the coolest things I think I ever will!
(Side note: when I refer to my notes for this day, this is how they read… GREAT GLACIER LAKE DAY! Seal swim on Glacier. BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. Period.)
On shore, I am handed a cup of tea. Once I am changed, we decide to paddle across the lake.
On shore, we eat chocolate covered coffee beans. Trail mix. Steve makes coffee. We have tuna casserole leftover from the day before. Then, we decide to hike. It turned out to be quite the scramble. Rock climb even.
It’s here, instead of singing “put your head on my shoulder,” Rachel, behind me, breaks out into a tune…
“Put your bum on my shoulllldddddeerrrrrrr.”
She jokes at the state of her “monkey mind.”
“What a perfect day to have a monkey mind! Let it free, momma bear!”
On the way back across the lake, there’s no need to even paddle. We surf waves back home, using our jackets as sails to catch the wind.
“This is where I am most at home in the world,” says Steve, “Sitting in the stern. Working with the water. Surfing waves.”
“Every day is just better than the day before,” says Laura, “I am just constantly overwhelmed.”
As we sit in a state of awe and relaxation, what we discuss is what we think each glacier looks like. Just as we do with the clouds as kids.
“I see a mushroom!” “I see a giraffe!” “I see a crab with a small head.”
We pull the canoes out of the water. Back on our shoulders to shuttle them back to camp we go. Here, we all take turns portaging the boats. Teamwork is key. And not being afraid to take a break.
As the group on dinner duty prepares food, others take to exploring their crafts. Kaoli paints. I play my HAPI Drum. Soon after, Rachel and I find ourselves in one of our typical heart-to-hearts.
“I think my problem in life is that I can’t focus my mind on one specific thing” she says, as a woman who has made her entire life/career out of leading treks such as these.
Turning a “problem” into a solution…
“I think it’s your ability to go with the flow and live in the moment that allows you to experience days like these.”
In silence, we both laugh.
Then, after dinner, the monkey mind is let off the leash to go bananas. Rachel and Steve do a duet skit to Bicycle Race by Queen. This has the gang in stiches. To follow, Barry does a solo skit to King of the Dance Hall. By this point, he has acquired himself a “staff” stick, acting simultaneously as his mulling device for his G&Ts.
“GLACCCIEERRR ICCCEEEEEE,” yells Barry. Followed by… “Who’s red wine is on the maps?”
“There is so much nature in my cup!” jokes Kaoli.
It’s a story of a story of a story…
Here’s to the attempt to freeze frame these ones.