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Missoula over the unpaved roads of those days, and our guest seemed a little stiff and sore as he climbed down from his perch. His name was Grindell. It would be hard, if not impossible, to find a more likable and cooperative individual. Shaw and I uncrossed our fingers after he had introduced himself – an introduction that was the beginning of a most harmonious trip and lasting friendship. A bright summer morning set the stage for our horseback trip up the Clearwater Valley and over the

divide to headwaters of the Swan River, a ride that took us by a necklace of sequestered lakes - Inez, Alva, Rainy, and Summit. Our guest was new to the saddle, but he seemed to have no trouble in adjusting himself to this unfamiliar mode of transportation. We made our first stop at a choice spot on Lake Alva, where a family of Mis-

soula people (I think the name was Bolles) had pitched camp for a week’s stay. The long trip from town had been made with a wagon pulled by a team of horses - a journey of several days. There were no tables, fireplaces, or other conveniences there in those days, but their camp was spic and span, and the tents under the towering larches made an attractive picture. A paved highway now encroaches on the lake at this spot - a painful reminder of the frailty of wilderness! Haying was in full swing at the Gordon Ranch, and we were invited to eat our supper and breakfast with the hay hands, and make use of the corral for our stock. To fill in the time before the evening meal, we rode over to Holland Lake. The view of this mountain tarn nestled close to the base of the abrupt Swan Range, is remembered as a satisfying climax to the first day of our trip. The air was still and the lake formed a perfect mirror for the lofty peaks to the east. The mellow afternoon light enhanced the whole scene. As we listened we could hear the murmur of the falls on Holland Creek just above the inlet of the lake. I became quite familiar with this beautiful lake in the ensuing years, but this first view still remains an impressive memory. Several years later Mrs. Swan and I had the pleasant experience of taking Robert Sterling Yard and Mrs. Yard to this same spot. Mr. Yard, as many of you will recall, was a militant conservationist who spearheaded the drive to have our national parks preserved inviolate from selfish interests, and gave loyal support to Robert Marshall in the establishment of the Wilderness Society. Mr. Yard was in Missoula briefly on business connected with the Society, and expressed a desire to see some of our wildlands before continuing his journey. When my chief, Richard Hammatt, asked me to plan a trip and act as escort for the party, I immediately thought of Holland Lake as a spot feasible to visit in the available time. When we reached the lakeshore, Mr. Yard walked alone to the edge of the water and, taking off his hat, stood for some time gazing at the mountains and their reflection in the quiet water. Coming back to the car he said, almost in the manner of one who has had a moving spiritual experience, “You say it’s wilderness beyond those mountains?” Then after a pause he added, “I’ve been very close today!”

Crown of the Continent  

University of Montana's Crown of the Continent