Arrow Mountain Comments
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|And to the north, the rugged Absaroka Range rises like a dark wall protecting, or restraining, the greatest pure mountain wilderness in the Lower 48.|
I'm always curious as to the genesis of such statements, because the definitive—with no qualifier—"greatest" is not at all the same as something along the lines of "my favorite," or "to me, this is the greatest...." So I wonder: what is the Absaroka Range "protecting, or restraining?" Is "greatest pure mountain wilderness" a size indicator? Some kind of "awesome" indicator? Or is "pure mountain wilderness" to be understood as something along the lines of absolutely no human markings, and it's a combination of that very lack of humanity sprawling over a huge, spectacular area?
Not disagreeing here, Bob...I'm not well-enough acquainted with the area for that...I respect your opinion, and am just curious.
|Posted Jul 11, 2009 12:44 pm|
|Bob Sihler||Re: Interesting observation...|
|I changed it to "in this writer's opinion"; there is something true in what your note implied: an informative page is not a place for a sweeping opinionated statement that can never be quantified no matter how deeply held (PnP is for that!).|
Still, I will answer your question, sort of...
I've expressed my ideas about real mountain wilderness on my Yellowstone and Bob Marshall pages and have elaborated on them, especially as they pertain to Greater Yellowstone and the Absarokas in particular, in some of my articles. So I won't rehash all that here.
I feel about the Absarokas much the way you seem to feel about Glacier: there is no place else quite like it, and quite so moving and fulfilling. Actually, I feel about the Glacier-Bob Marshall area about the same way I feel about Greater Yellowstone, but it goes a little bit beyond with the Absarokas. The range is so vast and so rugged, the few who see its deep interior are usually on horseback (I myself have only been about 10 miles deep into the wilderness there), and it is ecologically intact in a way only a very small handful of other mountainous areas in this country are. I think the last one is what really makes the difference for me, though. When I am in the ranges outside the Northern Rockies, as beautiful as some of them are, I just feel that something, something very big, is missing from them. Four years ago, I spent a few days climbing in a well-known range that has a huge and loyal following, and even though it was my second time getting really intimate with those mountains, I still felt awe at the scenery; really, I think only Glacier rivals that range in scenery. But it stopped at visual awe; the emotional attachment and fulfillment were missing because ultimately, they were just beautiful mountains. It was a beautiful, achingly beautiful, mountain playground. Without the grizzlies and the wolves, they lacked that crucial something that has me returning again and again to Glacier, Greater Yellowstone, and the Bob.
So although no one could ever win the debate, I'll continue to feel beyond doubt that places like the Absarokas, the Winds, the Bob, Glacier, and, after being there last summer and seeing so many of Mike Hoyt's pages, the Bitterroots are our greatest and purest mountain wildernesses in the Lower 48. It's the scenery, yes, but also the vastness and the ecology.
So why do the Absarokas edge Glacier for me? I'm not totally sure, but I think it may come down to the fact that Glacier is a national park and very little of the Absarokas are in a national park, giving them a slightly wilder feel both near and far from road's end.
But it's close, and that's why this summer looks so great-- the Absarokas and the Bob and Glacier all in one!
|Posted Jul 11, 2009 8:58 pm|
|Saintgrizzly||Re: Interesting observation...|
|Thanks for taking the time to reply, and...good response.|
And...glad you've added the Bitterroots to the hierarchy!
|Posted Jul 12, 2009 8:38 am|