Marc Ankenbauer's 10+ year quest to jump in every named lake in Glacier and Waterton National Parks for charity.
168 lakes. Only 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
-- Marc jumped into Fisher Cap Lake on Sunday September 8th, 2013 to complete his goal! --
Read about Marc and how this project started...

Aurice Lake Grizzlies – The Passing of a Legend

Photo by Chris Lombardi

Aurice Lake and Two Medicine Pass will be etched in my brain for the rest of my days.

Where were you when the last tragedy of your life struck?  At home, at work, stuck in traffic?

Poetically when my Uncle Marty and outdoor mentor passed away, I was high atop Two Medicine Pass.

I’ve been wondered lately…Where exactly I was at the moment he died.

Photo by Chris Lombardi

Was I sleeping in my tent at Cobalt Lake?

Photo by Chris Lombardi

Was I trudging up the pass with my heart pounding in my chest?

Photo by Chelsea McCann

Was I sitting on the continental divide looking off at a sea of peaks?

Photo by Chris Lombardi

Or, was it the exact moment when we surprised a grizzly bear sow and cub above Aurice Lake?
Personally, I like that one.

Behind Mt. Rockwell is a sidestep route to Aurice Lake.

It was a perfect day if not a tad hot.

Pat, Chelsea, Jess, Chris and I ambled along high above the Park Creek valley.

We pushed along the route of wild flowers, bear grass and burnt trees; waiting to boot ski down a scree slope to the lake edge.

Photo by Chelsea McCann

As we rounded the bend, it sounded like someone slipped down the steep slope of vegetation.

Instead, it was the two bears churning soil and huffing as they tore up the hillside towards the vertical rock walls.

Photo by Chelsea McCann

We could see the Aurice Lake below, but couldn’t see where the mother grizzly had secured her cub.

We knew there wasn’t more than 200 feet of vegetation above us before it became sheer cliffs.

So, they couldn’t be any more than that short distance from us.

Photo by Chelsea McCann

Never a comforting feeling and certainly not a situation you need to continue pursuing.

She deserved her peace.

This is one thing I’ve learned through the years.

Just because we feel it logical to traipse around in the complete middle of nowhere doesn’t mean the wildlife should have to suffer.

Photo by Chris Lombardi

Sometimes you let a good mother alone.

She did exactly what she was supposed to do.

At that point, what makes it ok to continue pushing her even further from her comfort zone.

She had found a perfect little niche far away from the main human traffic.

She’s teaching her cub to eat natural foods instead of going the easy route of human garbage and opportunism.

She deserves that peace that she sought.

Photo by Chris Lombardi

This is the moment that I hope signifies when my uncle left this world.

He began all of my travels, my love affair with far away, wild places.

He taught me to camp in bear country.

How to appreciate being a moment in time in a place in which humans are only a temporary visitor.

He taught me that I’m a part of this world, not the only or most important thing in it.

That when you are extended the opportunity to exist in such amazing places, you are then responsible for taking care of them.

Humility in the face of something well larger than us.

Photo by Chelsea McCann

He may have never known that this is what he taught me.

He knew that he was the spark that sent me exploring the amazing pockets of the world that we have left.

I told him that, often.

He was the person that introduced me to the greatest exercise program in the world.


He knew that he had totally transformed a heavyset city boy who was struggling with direction and identity.

He knew, but it’s always nice to tell someone again.

What they mean to you.

What they taught you.

What you do that makes you think of them.

Photo by Chris Lombardi

So, Uncle Marty.  You changed my life and helped me live so much bigger than I ever thought possible.

By just being you.

You were a genuine man, an adventurous traveler and an absolute character.

I never made it to Aurice Lake that day, but I will be back…

Today was for the bears and something bigger than me.
To Life