By Dan Hansen, Operations Manager
I’m not really a huge hiker. Don’t get me wrong -- I don’t dislike hiking, and I love seeing some of the beautiful sights and whatever. But on the average summer evening or weekend, you’re much, much more likely to find me exploring something on my mountain bike somewhere. This probably is a bit of the reason that I don’t get over into Glacier National Park as much as I wish I did. I live 45 minutes from the entrance to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, but the mix of no bikes on the trails in the park, no dogs allowed, and copious summer crowds to battle usually keeps me away.
Despite my aforementioned reasons, I did manage to squeeze a few rad hikes in this summer in Glacier, and I’m really glad I did. Every once in awhile a friend will get a text message chain going, and we’ll round up a crew for a bike ride or a hike or whatever. So when I received a text message from the normal group to go climb a few peaks in Glacier on the following Saturday, I was like, “heck yeah!” When I heard that our starting point would be Logan Pass, one of the busiest spots in the park, I was less enthusiastic.
For those unfamiliar with Glacier, let me give you a little background -- Logan Pass is tourist central in Glacier National Park! I don’t have anything specific against tourists -- if it weren’t for them, most of us probably wouldn’t be able to afford to live here. I just get a little annoyed sometimes while slaloming selfie-stick toting parents and teenagers staring at their phone despite the breathtaking surroundings.
And on this particular Saturday it was no different. Our group of five started along the boardwalk leading from Logan Pass toward Hidden Lake with Mount Cannon in our sights. I think only one person in our group had summited Cannon before, so we were all at his mercy to lead the way. After passing a few hundred other people on the path, I was beginning to question our decision to attempt this on a Saturday in July.
But then, out of nowhere, Keith took a right turn and we started climbing up the side of the mountain and away from the highway of people below. This new trail was narrow enough, obviously sparsely traveled, that unless you knew exactly where to look, you would’ve missed it. And instantly, we were alone and surrounded by pleasant silence. One random person, perhaps 500 yards below us, hollered up to us, “Where does that trail go?”
This elicited a somewhat sarcastic response of, “To the mountains” from someone in our group. And that was the last person we saw for most of the day. Well, at least until we returned to that path many hours and two peaks later. And this brings me to the point I’m long-windedly getting at: sometimes the best thing you can do is just switch it up a bit. Get off the beaten path. Explore new territory.
This could mean getting off the main trail like our group decided to do, or it could translate to taking a good, hard look at what you’re doing with your business. Is it a good idea to renew the same ads year after year just because that’s how it’s always been? Sure, your logo might work fine but does it still represent who you are as a company? Is your website still providing a good experience for your potential customers? Are you missing customers by ignoring some great new method of communication?
It’s amazing; we went from one of the absolute busiest areas of the park to complete solitude with only about 5-10 minutes of hiking in a different direction. We climbed Mount Cannon, enjoyed multiple breaks for snacks/lunch/beer/pictures and even decided to climb another peak, Clements Mountain, on the way back because why not? We were there. We didn’t have to hurry to get around other people. We could stop wherever we wanted and whenever we needed to. And it turned into one of my top five days of hiking ever. It’s also kind of fun to bike up Going-to-the-Sun Road and be able to point out the peaks I’ve been on top of, but I’m weird like that.
And with that I’ll leave you with a quote. Cheesy, I know. But I think it sums up this whole thing up nicely.
“Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do, you will be certain to find something you have never seen before.”
― Alexander Graham Bell
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