My brother and I went on our annual hiking trip the last few days. We decided to visit Glacier National Park in Montana. We arrived at different times, so we both had some time for solo hikes and hikes we enjoyed together. A couple of things that made hiking in Glacier different from hiking in Southern California are Huckleberries and Bears.

What is a huckleberry? The first time I saw it, I thought it looked like a blueberry. These small dark purple berries were on many of the trails that I hiked. I saw moose and deer grazing on them. I tried it myself right off the plant and could understand why the animals liked their sweet taste. I later learned that these berries were native to this area and other areas in the Pacific Northwest. They put these berries in everything, from chocolate to jam. There is always something new to learn and experience.

Another fun aspect of this trip was hiking in Bear Country. Glacier is known for having over one thousand black and grizzly bears. I have encountered different animals on trails, such as snakes, coyotes, mountain lions, and deer. Bears are in their own category. I hiked one trail where they posted that there was a lot of bear activity. When I went down the trail, one person coming up on the trail said that there was a grizzly bear sighting nearby. Although I did 50 miles of hiking, I had no encounters. My only encounter with an animal was a deer that bolted out before me and missed crashing into me by seconds. This deer was no Bambi; it was a full-size mama deer searching for some huckleberries.

I only explored a small part of Glacier in a few days, but God’s glory was displayed. He created the animals, mountain peaks, waterfalls, and lush pine trees. It is hard to stand on the top of one of these mountains and not recognize the creator who made it all and continues to sustain His creation. It is hard not to recognize God’s care for his creation, feeding the animals with huckleberries and providing rain to grow plants and trees.

Psalm 104:24

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

One of the primary benefits of these trips is for my soul to take a moment to rest and reflect. Getting away from the traffic noise to listen to the sounds of streams of water calms the soul like nothing else. I was reminded that life is just a vapor, here for a moment, and then we vanish away (James 4:14). At the same time, life is a gift from the Lord, to live for Him (coram deo) and to brag about His glory to others.

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