Tag Archives: Sperry_Chalet

the things we cannot see will last forever

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18


The sunrise image below of the sports facility at Eastern Oregon University is a definite stretch, but I thought, wow, God’s light in the darkness, whether in a sunrise or in a light shining in the darkness, does last forever.  The scene below will disappear, and yet—What a wonderful reminder Paul gives us that there is so much more beyond the temporary, transient lives we live now. I pray we do recognize  our spirits are being renewed daily!
Eastern Oregon University, Quinn Coliseum

Lake McDonald from Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park

The waters of Glacier National Park above Sperry Chalet

Glacier National Park is filled with waters–streams, waterfalls, lakes.  Hiking from Sperry Chalet to Lake Ellen Wilson and to the Sperry Glacier, we enjoyed an absolute abundance of water. Snow was melting, and sounds and sights of water captivated our senses!

Akaiyan_Lake, Sperry_Glacier

Lake Ellen Wilson, Sperry Chalet

Mountain goats on the way to Sperry Glacier

Akaiyan_Lake, on the way to Sperry Glacier–look carefully and you
will see a ptarmigan in the bottom right

on the way to Sperry Glacier–overwhelming waters of life and joy!

above Lake Ellen Wilson, three miles from Sperry Chalet

falls on the way to Sperry Glacier

He fills my life with good things

Psalm 103

A psalm of David.

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Sometimes in the early morning hours when I wake up and worries keep my mind from sleep, I let this Psalm pour over me. I relax, and know He is with me, and with all of us. 

Sperry Glacier, Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park

Little Matterhorn, Sperry Glacier, Glacier National Park

The second day at Sperry Chalet. Hiking to the Sperry Glacier

One of the greatest day hikes one can experience heads up four miles  and 1500 feet from Sperry Chalet,  over Comeau Pass into the high boulder and lake expanse below Sperry Glacier.  The views of of the massive, magnificent back country of Glacier National Park sweep the eyes up into infinity.

However, the journey up there is most memorable.  The trail switches back through six levels of beauty–musical waterfalls and streams of multiple sizes, wildflowers that call the eye to linger, animals like mountain goats, marmots, pikas, ptarmigan, rocks of incredible sizes, shapes, and colors.

Coming back down, Meg and I simply meandered, trying as best possible to extend the day and intensify our memories.

waterfall on hike from Sperry Chalet to Sperry Glacier.  Look closely to see the mountain goat midway up the rocks

Meg on rock stairs at Comeau Pass

One of the hiking levels on the way to Sperry Glacier

another level of the Sperry Glacier hike

Little Matterhorn, Glacier National Park, below Sperry Glacier (Note all the colors in the rocks!)

Can you find the ptarmigan that Meg is hiking past?

The beargrass was everywhere!

Crossing one of the snowfields above Sperry Chalet

On top of the world in the Sperry Glacier, Glacier National Park area

a typical section of of the Sperry Glacier hike

Sperry Chalet Redux

The siren call of fresh air and vast vistas, far from the crowds of Glacier National Park, brought us back to Sperry Chalet for a second summer. After last year’s two night stay, Meg and I decided that we needed an extra day of hiking from the Chalet, so we opted for three nights this time.  We also invited our New Hampshire family–younger son Michael and his wife Sara– to join us. The Chalet does not have any electricity and the rooms have no running water. We shared a room together with easy going banter, and easy communication.

The Chalet was constructed in 1914 by the Great Northern Railroad to bring tourists to the Park on its railroad. The railroad turned the Chalet over to the park service in 1950, and it is now run by a concessionaire which as been family run since 1954.

“Chalet” is glorified title for a beautiful two story rock and beam structure with twenty basic rooms. It provides an easy way to spend time in the back country.  All one needs to do is hike 6.5 miles and gain 3300 feet from Lake McDonald, packing in clothes and personal gear.  Neither tent nor sleeping bag is needed, and wonderful food is provided in the dinning hall, cooked over propane stoves.

We enjoyed two outstanding day hikes.  This set of pictures show our first hike to Lake Ellen Wilson.  The bear grass filled the meadows and rocky ridges, stretching the eye and the imagination.  Mountain goats periodically interrupted our hike, watching us with curious expressions, and posing nicely for pictures. These views opened heart, mind and soul, and the lake also refreshed the body with a cold swim.

meadow above Lake Ellen Wilson

Mountain goats,  Lake Ellen Wilson


Sunset, Lake McDonald, Sperry Chalet

Sperry Chalet

On the way to Lake Ellen Wilson

Bear grass and waterfalls above Lake Ellen Wilson

Lake Ellen Wilson

Lake Ellen Wilson

Meg returning to Sperry Chalet from hike

Sunset, Sperry Chalet, Lake McDonald

Sara and Michael reading in front of Sperry Chalet

cliffs above Sperry Chalet

Meg and Michael hiking through bear grass to Sperry Chalet

Sunset, Sperry Chalet

Meg at start of trail to Sperry Chalet

The mystery of forgiveness

“I believe with all my heart that the mystery of forgiveness is the entire Gospel.  When you ‘get’ forgiveness, you get it.  We use the phrase ‘falling in love.’ I think forgiveness is almost the same thing.  It is a mystery we fall into: the mystery is God.  God forgives all for being imperfect, broken, and poor.  When we know God, we meet  a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a tyrannical mother, but always a lover who  is more than we dared hope for.  How different than the ‘account manager’ that most  people seem to worship.”  Fr Richard Rohr

Bird Woman Falls, Glacier National Park

On the way to Sperry Glacier


Some deep thoughts about forgiveness from Father Thomas Keating

“Vulnerability means to be hurt over and over again without seeking to love less, but more. Divine love is sheer vulnerability–sheer openness to giving.  Being vulnerable means loving one another as Christ loved us.  If we did not have to forgive people, we would have no way of manifesting God’s forgiveness toward us.  We pass on the mercy we ourselves have received. The best way to receive divine love is to give it away, and the more we pass it on, the more we increase our capacity to receive.”  Father Thomas Keating

Feather Woman Falls near Sperry Chalet

Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils Mts


Close encounters of the goat kind

As you know from a previous post, Meg and I enjoyed an excellent day hike from the Sperry Chalet to the Sperry Glacier. The hike climbed steadily through four levels of waterfalls and lakes, before reaching a high snow field that led the Sperry Glacier.

To reach this last level, Meg and I had to climb up through Comeau Pass, a cleft in the rock wall that had been widened to create steps.  A plastic covered steel cable provided protection and balance.  Meg was ahead a me, when she stopped and said, “Eric, there is a mountain goat looking down at me.  Who has the right of way?” Fortunately the goat was merely curious and allowed Meg to continue upwards.  I did get some memorable shots, including the last one of a young goat kid.

Moving beyond our narrow circles

“Love is like the mustard seed that grows into the tree. As the love of a married couple can shelter children and family, the love of friends can reach out to others. Prayer is a time when we can ask the Lord that our love grows and that our concern for others and for the world reaches out beyond the narrow circles of ‘our’ people.”

Feather Woman Falls, Sperry Chalet

Wallowa Lake, NE Oregon


Sperry Chalet and Sperry Glacier, Glacier National Park

Enjoy the pictures first and then the description

Feather Woman Falls

Sperry Glacier

Meg and I enjoyed an exceptional two day stay at the Sperry Chalet, nestled in a glacial cirque, 6.7 miles and 3200 feet above Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. Here is 

a description from the Chalet’s website:
“Sperry Chalet was built in 1913 by James J. and son Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway, the prime developer of Glacier National Park. Listed as an Historic Landmark, these rustic buildings, built of native rock, have survived their rugged environment relatively unchanged for over 90 years.

“Opened in 1914 the main buildings consist of a two story hotel building and a kitchen/dining room building. A maintenance building and a new restroom building are located between hotel and dining room buildings. Other than a modernized kitchen and the new composting restroom facility, the interiors and exteriors are much as they were built. It is a short 400 foot stroll between the dining room and the hotel building. The private guest rooms are without lights, heat or water. Flashlights are used at night as no candles or fueled lights are allowed. The dining room has a wood stove and propane lights for your comfort.”
The stay was like putting on a completely different persona. Far from the crowds, we relaxed in the quiet and gentle breezes (and noisy, active mosquitoes 🙂  Waterfalls plummeted off in the distance, sharp peaks created a shangri-la environment, and we enjoyed letting the responsibilities of home slip away.
We reveled in the most spectacular day hike we have made in all our years of hiking and backpacking.  The four and half mile trail to the Sperry Glacier rose through six levels of colorful rock and water. The geologic forces that shaped these levels of metamorphic rock and mudstone invited the eye to admire both the symmetry and the discontinuity of the layers, as well as the water that flowed from all heights and angles.