I love going back to Montana every year. It is my birthplace and is home to one of this country's greatest treasures, Glacier National Park. I never tire of it's beautiful scenery, sounds and smells.

This year was a very different experience. From the moment you entered the state of Montana on I-90, you encounter a smoky haze of varying degrees, depending on which wildfire you happen to be closest to.

We did go to Glacier Park as we had planned, and the first day went to some of our favorite spots which were all shrouded in a thick, fog-like, ever-present curtain of heavy, lung-clogging smoke.

Our first clue as to how bad it was going to become as we started our journey in west Glacier on the Going-to-the-Sun highway, was the gigantic smoke plume rising in the sky in front of us.

This wasn't residual smoke, but was the emanation from a huge, actively burning monster which caused most of the park on the west side to close the next day. The historic, 103 year old Sperry Chalet is now a pile of rubble with fire crews currently trying to prevent Lake McDonald Lodge (104 years old) from suffering the same fate.

But smoky or not, fires or not, Glacier National Park is still an amazing, hauntingly beautiful destination.

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