As Malcolm Forbes once said. “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” As many of us prepare for back to school adventures, I’m reminded of an outdoor classroom experience shared with friends this summer. Here are a few things we learned in the wild west wilderness this year:
We hiked the Crown Jewel of the Continent, Glacier National Park. Established in 1910, this iconic beauty is our country’s 10th named national park rich with glacier carved perfect peaks, turquoise and emerald lakes and rich wildlife. The park is comprised of 1600 square miles and showcases much of its beauty by traveling the Going-To-The-Sun-Road. This twisting and sometimes terrorizing ride hugs deep gorges and hair pin turns. Students of all ages enjoy(or not!) 50 miles of winding wonder over the Continental divide with breathtaking views and vertical vistas. Lifelong learners climb 6,640 feet to the top of Logan’s Pass to trek alongside long bearded mountain goats grazing on snowy patches of ice in July. When’s the last time you caught sight of a pair of big horned rams? Every step in this classroom was a new experience.
We learned that Glacier National Park is linked with Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park which created the world’s first International Peace Park. In 1995, this Peace Park became recognized as a World Heritage Site that showcases grizzly bears, wolves, lynx, bull trout and bison. The park maintains 71 species of mammals, 24 species of fish and symbolizes hope and a vision of unity for all. Visitors from around the globe converge with nature to celebrate the wonder of creation. We shared a shuttle with nature enthusiasts from Germany, Australia, Canada and the Canary Islands as we learned about more than 730 miles of hiking trails and climb options of over 10,000 feet skyward.
We rode horses most days to frame our western adventure. Taking a class in the great outdoors Montana style included bison burgers, big sky BBQs, chuck wagons and swooning cowboys telling tales of living on the range. Our fourth generation rancher and his team of wranglers made sure we agreed with Franklin Delano Roosevelt who once said, “There’s nothing more American than visiting our parks.” We couln’t agree more. Keep your return to school learning adventurous and live well!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is the CEO/President of DLG Consulting, an integrated leadership training company that supports talent agility and skills development for professionals. Conference keynoter and executive coach, she delights in helping others develop resiliency and reinvention at www.DonnaLynSpeaks.com. Connect Facebook@DonnaLynSpeaks, Twitter@DonnaLynSpeaks, Instagram@DonnaLynConsults