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...

The Thanks I’m Giving: A four part series



Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I’ve had some good years in my life and have been thankful for each and every one.


This one…

This year…

Has been a bit absurd.


I spent last Thanksgiving at the South Pole, for Pete Sake!


Then, in September I finished what will assuredly be the most extensive life adventure I’ll ever undertake.


But, more than anything…

I’m so unbelievably thankful to the dedicated and adventurous souls that battled by my side over the last ten years.

A fella doesn’t have a shot in hell at a good quest without determined, burly and soulful partners.


So, this blog post is for you.

Fisher 1

I assume that most of you wouldn’t mind if you were named online.

But, just in case, only first names will be used.


I’m sure that you all have had your moments of groaning and waiting on me to take my 300th picture of the day.

I’m a shutterbug, to an annoying extent sometimes.

I accept that.

Luckily, so do most of you.


But, you will all be happy one day that I have a bunch of awesome pictures of your mugs.

In a way, this whole project has essentially been a photography portfolio of the unique characters in my life.

Most often, my camera takes pictures of all of you.

My friends and family have been the same ones to sweat and bleed with me as we attacked an arbitrary list of lakes over the last decade.

That list of lakes demanded more of me than i had.

It dominated my life…

IN A GOOD WAY!…mostly…

I couldn’t have accomplished this without the support from all of you and the Glacier National Park community.


So here goes.


I won’t be able to put any logic to this order.

Everyone on this list accompanied me to a lake and waited out the mosquitoes until I was done.

Some of you have gone to dozens.

Others of you spent one, special and probably pretty frantic day in the mountains with me.

Some of you went on a pleasant hike, to a lovely little lake in Glacier National Park and we had a dandy time.

Others of you have spent some of the most arduous, exasperating and endurance demanding days of your lives doing battle with alder thickets and a dwindling clock.

Either way, you all played well larger rolls.

Emotional support, donations, IT help, logistics, beer, dinner, advice, transportation, love and twenty other forms of assistance that I can’t even think of right now.  .

I couldn’t (honestly!) have done it with out each and every one of you.


Scroll to find yourself.


Today is the first installment of (probably about) four posts that highlight the amazing faces that have helped me along the journey.

If you are not featured on this post you are sure to follow.


My amazing wife Jessi. 

Thanks jess 2


Lakes accompanied: McDonald, Pray, Otakomi, Avalanche, Cosley, Glenns, Cracker, Medicine Grizzly, Bowman, Kintla, Ellen Wilson, Waterton Lake, Aurice, Cobalt, Helen, Elizabeth, Atsina, Sue, Stoney, Kootenai, Ole, Windmaker, Snyder,  Thunderbird Pond, Janet, Hidden, Mary Baker, Feather Woman, Akaiyan, Slide, Natahki, Beaver Woman, Buffalo Woman, Snow Moon, Falling Leaf, Kennedy, Red Eagle, Bertha CAN, Upper Kintla, Loon CAN, Goat CAN, Pocket, Buffalo Lake, Beaver Pond 1 CAN, Beaver Pond 2 CAN, Lonesome CAN, Gem, Bullhead and Fishercap Lakes

You have been by my side the whole time, from the day I thought this whole silly thing up.  

That certainly is a long list of lakes by your name.  

You lived and breathed this project more than anyone else…and you supported me the whole way.  

Thank you so much… I Love you 


thanks jess




Thanks pat 2


Lakes Accompanied: Arrow, Trout, Rogers, Whitecrow, Carcajou, Wahseeja, Johns, Lower Quartz, Young Man, Boy, Harrison, Striped Elk, Goat, Numa, Bench, Ipasha, Margaret, Nyack 1, Nyack 2, Gem, Lilly, Evangeline, Ruger, Fishercap Lakes


Pat, although I often try, I can’t tell you how important you have been.  

Simply said, this project would not be finished without you.  

There was a point, when I needed someone better than me to accompany me through the worst Glacier National Park could offer.  

And along came Pat and his bizarre interest in alder thickets and enormous days.  

Dude, you are the man.


thanks pat




Thanks Anna 2


Lakes Accompanied: Logging, Cracker, Ellen Wilson, Governors Pond, Stump Pond, Josephine, Swiftcurrent, Atsina, Sue, Stoney Indian, Kootenai  Windmaker, Slide, Otatso, Halfmoon, Bullhead Young Man, Boy, Harrison, Medicine Owl Lakes


Anna, there are a few people that have been there since the beginning.  

Then there is you, who I actually went to the first purposeful lake with (Logging).  

You, who has debated logistics late into the night more than anyone.  

You, who rallied the worst blisters I’ve ever seen to finish up Medicine Owl with me.  

You my lady deserve one huge Thank You!  


thanks anna




Thanks Wub 2


Lakes Accompanied: Avalanche, Katoya, Morning Star, Pitamakin, 7 Winds, Upper Two Medicine, Iceburg, Two Medicine Lakes


Wub, I wouldn’t even think hiking was a good idea if it wasn’t for you.  

I mean, really.  

The fact that I do what I do is a direct correlation to our friendship.  

Plus, you taught me that it’s alright to leave the trail.  

Thanks for everything brother.  


thanks wub




Thanks Dave


Lakes Accompanied: Hidden, Mary Baker, Feather Woman, Akaiyan , Bullhead, Poia, Swiftcurrent Ridge, Lone Lake CAN, Pecks Basin CAN, Carthew Pond

Dave, you have provided me some of the most insightful hiking outings of my life.  

I respect and admire you; and am proud to call you my friend.    

Thanks for all the support through the years.  


Thanks Dave 2

Nice legs, Dave!



Lakes Accompanied: Bullhead and Fishercap Lakes; but emotionally so much more.

You are a glorious human being and I’m just lucky to have bumped into you and Dave in 03.

Thanks for everything.




Laura or Lala…

Thanks Lala


Lakes Accompanied: Governors Pond, Stump Lake, Josephine, Swiftcurrent, Natahki, Beaver Woman, Buffalo Woman, Jackstraw, Sky Lakes

Lala, you are the best.  

I’m sure that you were there the night this whole thing was plotted.  

It’s been ten years!  Good Golly!  

Thanks for great hiking days, all the Spanish lessons and always making me smile…

and laugh…  

Some times uncontrollably.  



Thanks Laura 2




Thanks Brad


Lakes Accompanied:  Goat Haunt, Gyrfalcon, Redhorn, Nahsukin, Fishercap Lakes

Brad, it was my pleasure.  

You signed up for the original endless bushwack.  

That trip is still probably the most epic of my life.  

Thanks for everything.  

Any interest in going to find that trekking pole in the alders at Nahsukin?  


Thanks Brad 2




Thanks Clay


Lakes Accompanied: Howe 1, Howe 2, Grace, Logging, Fishercap Lakes

You have swam in one lake with me and accompanied me to five.  

But, the logistics, advice and late night pondering sessions were as big a contribution as anyone.

Your knowledge and advice has been enormous.  

Oh, and thanks for making me know that I wasn’t getting any younger and I needed to start knocking off the nasty ones.  

You’re The Man.  


Thanks Clay 2


My Mom:


Thanks Mom


Lakes Accompanied: Indian Springs in Canada

Technically, that is the only new lake we ever went to together.

But we have hiked some serious miles in the park and you’ve even jumped in a couple lakes with me.  

None of this would have been possible with out your love and support…well before I even knew where Glacier National Park was.  

Thanks for everything.   


Thanks mom 2


This year, I’m giving thanks to each and every one of you.

I’ll be publishing the other posts with the rest of your lovely faces on them in the following weeks.

Keep a look out.


To Life,

Marc Ankenbauer

Low Light/Night Photography – Olympus OMD EM5

low light 4

Its obvious why Glacier National Park is an amazing place to take photos during the day. 

From sunrise to sunset the vivid mountains, lakes and streams are constantly evolving with the changes in light. 

Night photography is widely overlooked in the park, since most peole are either indoors or asleep. 

The park is kind of a scary place to just roam in the darkness.   

The dark clear nights in Glacier National Park give the Olympus OMD EM5 a perfect test piece for low light and  night photography.

low light 1

Later summer the skies get smokey from fires west of the park. 

low light 7

But, early summer skies are one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed. 

low light 2

The high resolution screen is amazing to see the photos on, you can see more detail than on my laptop.

low light 3

My friends came to visit and camped in the park giving me a perfect fire, low light backdrop to work on.

   low light 5

Many Glacier Hotel is one the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen.  Its also very busy and because of that you never really get good pictures.  Its impossible to not have some random couple in your photographs. 

I got the chance to stay the night in Many Glacier Hotel when my sister in law and her friend came to visit.

I waited till all the visitors went to bed and I roamed the halls with my Slik tripod.  I set it up in every hallway and lobby. 

It was an amazing opportunity.

Thanks Mary and Laura!!

low light 8

The Hotel has so much character to capture.

The Lucerne Room was lit up but vacant. 

I got some photos that even the famous Glacier National Park singer/story teller David Walburn might be interested in.

David, I’ll get these shots off to you soon.

low light 9

This was the first night photograph that I tried to capture.

Its just the St. Mary Grocery Store sign but focusing on it allowed me to pull night stars all around.

low light 10

This is Abigale.

She finally stood still for long enough to allow herself to silhouetted against Waterton Lake.

low light 11

The moon was setting one night right behind the continental divide in Two Medicine.

low light 12

I don’t understand why the moon moves so fast in Montana but you can literally watch it move.  This was 30 seconds later.

low light 13

And, 30 seconds later…

Gosh, Montana…How do you do it?

low light 14

Lets ponder it over two of Brian Roys and Matt Wibbenmeyer’s homebrew porters.

This is my bid for the new “Car Port Brewery” bottle lable.

low light 15

What do you think?  Tell me in the comments.

To Life,



Cutbank Bear Grass – Olympus OMD EM5

Bear Grass 1

On the eastern front of Glacier National Park is a remote valley known for Grizzly bears, flowers and the mountain that splits the continent.

Cutbank is a beautiful, mostly flat creek valley draining the first trickles of the Atlantic Ocean.  From deep in the Cutbank valley is Triple Divide Peak which you can pour water on top of and it runs to the Pacific, the Atlantic and Hudson Bay.  The exact spot in which the continent gives way in all directions towards the ocean.

Bear Grass 2

What I found as I walked in this amazing place was Bear Grass.

Bear grass is a beautiful white bulb on top of a hollow but stiff stalk.  They only bloom every 5 or 7 years approximately.

So sometimes the summer really doesn’t have much bear grass.

Bear Grass 3

Other Summers its AMAZING!!

This seems like one of those summers.

Bear Grass 4

The Olympus OMD EM5 and a light weight Slik tripod allowed me to get the best pictures of bear grass I have ever taken in my life!!

Bear Grass 5

Currently I only have the 12-50 kit lens, but the Macro function on this thing is ridiculous!


Bear Grass 6

I can’t believe I’m getting shots like these.


Bear Grass 12

I’m very happy with the cameras ability to focus on exactly what you want to pop with detail.

Bear Grass 9

I was also able to get this great blur shot of the creek.

Bear Grass 13


The dramatic effect has allowed for a dream like, stylized photo.  I’m completely enamored by this art setting.

Bear Grass 8

But with a camera this good, you need to be capturing reality in its finest moments

Bear Grass 10

Have any of you photographers out there experienced any times when nature offered you some unexpected great shots? If so, tell me about it in the comments below…

To Life,