School is over for the year. Now that it’s over it seemed to go by quickly, though there were days when I thought it would never end 🙂 My final field trip was, once again, to Glacier Park, this time dropping kids off for a night’s stay at the Glacier Institute just outside the west end of the Park. The property sits at the confluence of Big Creek and the North Fork of the Flathead River, in one of the Wild and Scenic River areas of Western Montana. The original building here was used by the Forest Service, and other buildings have come and gone, as a firefighters base and now as a learning center. It’s right out of a movie with two bunk houses and a kitchen with a screened-in porch. The library is a rustic, hands-on affair where kids can learn about the local flora and fauna. They receive lessons in orienteering and fire science. And some of the kids, like the ones I picked up to take home after their night’s stay, get to see wolves!!!
Camas Creek is a lovely, lightly traveled road, and 9 times out of 10 I’ve seen bears along here. In fact, the kids that I picked up had seen a sow and 2 cubs on the way up the day before. This day I slowed the bus when I saw something big in the road up ahead. It was in no hurry to cross and as we got closer we knew we were seeing a wolf. One of the teachers practically trampled students getting up close to the windshield as this big animal moved off into the brush (that teacher had worked in Glacier 12 years and never saw a wolf – seeing her joy this day was half the fun). With no traffic we stopped and stared, hoping for more and, sure enough, another one stepped out behind the bus. The bus practically exploded with our excitement. A couple of oncoming cars put an end to our momentary, overwhelming experience as the second wolf casually decided to leave the road but it’s not something any of us will be forgetting. And my life’s bucket list is now complete – I’ve been to Alaska, I’ve ridden a bike in New England in the fall, and now I’ve seen wolves. Life can be good!