The snow surrounding my pink tennis shoes melted under the smoldering summer sun. I struggled to remove the cumbersome sweatshirt in hopes of cooling my bronzed skin. As a Florida native, my family often spends summers exploring the environments of various parts of the United States.
Two summers in a row I visited the vast landscapes of Montana to hike through the wilderness of Glacier National Park. I piled my suitcase with sweaters, jeans, and even a pair of wool gloves. While hiking across the Continental Divide, I realized that we had been fooled.
Montana was having the hottest summer to date and we were not the only ones taking the heat. The glaciers were slowly deteriorating, threatening to disappear forever.Since global warming has become a major issue, my trips out west gave me stunning insight to this tragic process. While taking a boat tour in Waterton Lakes (the Canadian part of the Park) the ranger told us about the glaciers.
We learned that by the year 2030 the park’s name will no longer stand true. Park rangers explained that in my life time there will be no more glaciers in Glacier National Park. The warming temperatures of the Earth’s surface will ultimately result in the loss of the remaining 35 glaciers.Realizing that parts of this wilderness might possibly be gone in 25 years, my family and I took time to enjoy this state.
We went horse back riding through the forests spotting deer and crossing creeks. The twisting hikes we took led us to countless waterfalls and deep valleys coated with trees. Our white water rafting experience and driving on the Going-to-the-Sun Highway made Disney’s Thunder Mountain look like a baby pool.The culture of Montana is the polar opposite of my suburban hometown outside Orlando.
My family’s travels enabled me to explore the lives of the people who first thrived in this pristine countryside. We stayed at the East Glacier Lodge located on the Blackfeet Indian reservation. While there, we visited the city of Browning, the capital of the Blackfeet Nation.
Sadly, the town is steeped in poverty. The visit opened my eyes to a new world. While I live comfortably, I was shocked to discover that the people who originally inhabited this land were struggling to keep their homes.
Suddenly my ‘needs’ of buying the latest skirt or watching the hottest film seemed frivolous compared to the needs of these people trying to get a decent education and supply a roof over their heads.My in-depth look of wild America was an eye opening experience and led me to discover that there is more in this country than I realized. I believe that a quality education can enable people to find solutions to problems this country is facing today. I have high academic goals, and the professors at the college of my choice can help me surpass these ambitions.
My travels are the driving force to make a positive difference in this world.
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