Deer Havoc in Montana

red_two flags

2016-06-21 – Yesterday we went to Glacier National Park.

We got our lifetime senior passes in South Dakota on the way to Montana at the Badlands National Park. We paid $10, showed our drivers licenses, and we are good to go for as long as we live. We tried the pass out for the first time at Glacier and it works.

Shortly after we got our passes in the Badlands, I stooped to get a good angle on a photo and when I got back up I commented that, instead of asking us for a drivers license to verify entitlement to a senior pass, the National Park Service should instead ask the applicant to squat down. If you have trouble getting up again, you get the pass.

They got proof again yesterday at the end of our day at Glacier.

What an exhausting but great day! On the first day of summer, we walked in snow fields and hiked trails in beautiful 80-degree weather. We saw frightening vistas and observed fellow park visitors searching for bear with long-lens cameras. We drove the Going to the Sun Road on the precipice of the mountain. We saw waterfalls and wildflowers and stands of burnt out trees.

Glacier is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, which is the combination of the Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada and the Glacier National Park of the United States. Flags of both countries fly at the Logan Pass visitors center in the center of the park. The Canadian flag flew freely in the light breeze. The American flag was twisted around the flagpole. Symbolic? I doubt it. The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

It was a wonderful day. We might go back after we take a day to relax. I’ll let you know.

The day before we spent at the site of my brother- and sister-in-law’s future vacation home. Both the garage and house are roofed and work continues with a hoped-for completion date of late summer. Kit and I helped out for the day staining pine planks that will be used as siding under the eaves. We did over 100 boards. It was a test to see if Montana home ownership might be something for us. The jury is still out.

The roads of Montana are lined with neat white crosses. You’ve seen these in other states. But in other states each marker is a unique expression of grief. For half a century, Montana’s American Legion has taken upon itself to erect these markers where drivers or their passengers have died in accidents. The markers are neat white crosses on red posts. The idea was that these markers would remind drivers to drive carefully. It has not worked. Montana has the third highest per capita traffic fatality rate in the country (behind Wyoming and Mississippi).

The problem is that the culprit in all this carnage is the state’s deer population. Each time a deer sees one of these crosses, it swells with pride, and is embolden to jump in front of the next car that comes down the road. We don’t have deer in Chicago to created traffic havoc. We create the havoc ourselves.

But, for this week, at least, we’re enjoying deer havoc. They are everywhere.

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