I am here to check in and share an update about where we’re at with our RV living.
Grant (hubby!), Clyde (cat!), and I have been fulltime RV’ing in West Glacier, Montana for almost three months now. We’re adapting to this new lifestyle in what seems like fun and exciting ways.
I started this blog post a few times now, but I recognized that I needed to give myself more room to experience our life here first before writing about it. I also waited for the inspiration to write.
For our first 2+ months here, we were dry camping. We used an external generator to charge our battery for electricity. Grant also installed solar panels on the roof of our RV as we set our sights on living [mostly] off the grid. We had filled up our water tank once in April, and managed to only use this water for our kitchen sink for two months. No showers. No toilet. We showered at the employee fitness center and used the campground’s restrooms. It worked.
But alas, those days without hook ups are behind us (for now). Temperatures are hovering in the 80’s and we are quickly appreciating our new RV hook ups, with the use of AC.
In my blog post from May 5th, I had shared that I was still figuring out a job here and was unemployed. At the start of June, I began a full time, seasonal job with the National Park Service as an assistant to the Public Affairs Officer. It was a fortuitous job opening and I feel very fortunate to have it. I am brand new to the National Park Service, but not to federal employment.
Already, my job has provided some unique opportunities. During my first week, I traveled with the local media crew up to Logan’s Pass on the Going to the Sun Road to see the snow plows in action, learn about the current snow conditions, and discuss the potential road opening for the season.
Through work (can I call it play?!?), I was invited to attend a Blackfeet Native American Blessing Ceremony dedicated to the opening of the road and the safety of all visitors who will pass through this area. The ceremony tradition first began with the initial opening of the road on July 15, 1933. However, the tradition was lost for many years. Fortunately, the ceremony was reintroduced in 2016 and has been held every year since. This year, only tribal members and park employees were invited to attend.
Another cool work-related opportunity was to attend an outdoor education class offered through the Glacier Institute. Fittingly, the Glacier Institute’s motto is Learning Gone Wild. I attended their High Country Exploration course where we walked the Scenic Point trail in Two Medicine. Attending the class felt like a dream come true; it’s been something I have always wanted to do but never did. It felt thrilling to be guided by a woman who is a botanist, outdoor educator, and writer who after 30 years of teaching was still as exuberant as a 5-year old in sharing her love, fascination and knowledge of the flora, fauna, and history of the park!
The Glacier Institute hike inspired Grant and I to travel back to Two Medicine over this past weekend for another hike. One thing we’ve both realized in living here is that neither of us are itching for a vacation. It’s a new feeling for us. I’ve always been inspired by the quote, “Create a life you don’t need a vacation from”. I know that this is exactly what we’re doing here. I may want a vacation, but that’s a different energy than one of need.
What I notice the most about living in Glacier is how spacious I feel. I’m eager to learn and experience the park, yet also to simply relax and enjoy the simple pleasure of a sunset, a bird song, or a crackling campfire. I sense the reverence people hold for this place. It’s compelling to live immersed in a place that so many people appreciate and hold sacred.
I didn’t really know how we would adapt to this lifestyle, how we would like it, but it’s been clear to both Grant and I for many years how much value we place on being in the outdoors and in the mountains; a daily renewal with Mother Nature.
Last weekend, we kayaked on the north side of Lake McDonald. At one point, I paused in the water and simply looked around, breathing in fully, deeply and expansively. I was feeling appreciation for the abundance of it all. Throwing my head back, I giggled aloud from sheer delight. YES! This feeling—this love, this connection, this celebration of all of life, this feeling of magnificent appreciation, this sense of wonder and true pleasure—now this is who I truly am, and what I’m here for.