This summer, Weston Traub ’14 chose to follow in his father’s footsteps – over stones, down paths, up mountains and across the sprawling terrain of Glacier National Park in Montana. For the past few weeks, Traub has continued a family tradition by spending his break working at one of the park’s many lodges.
“It has been a surreal experience to go hiking and visit places that my dad went when he was my age,” muses Traub.
Glacier National Park is the third largest national park in the lower forty-eight states, and runs all the way to the Canadian border where it abuts Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. The park is home to 936 miles of rivers and streams, and over 700 miles of hiking trails.
As a hotel porter, Traub is even working in the same job his father held when he was in college. “I knew I wanted to work out West for the summer,” explains Traub. “It was my dad who suggested that I apply to work at Glacier.”
For Traub, an international relations major, this means quite a lot of time carrying luggage and cleaning bathrooms. “It’s certainly not a glamorous job,” says Traub, “but the weekends make it all worth it.” Once park employees are done working for the week, most head for the ample trails to hike and take in the lush nature provided by the unparalleled location. In total, Traub has hiked more than 270 miles this summer, across 18 mountains.
The park hires students from all across the country to fill positions during their busy summer months, providing Traub with an abundance of hiking companions.
“Living here has been an eye-opening experience; I feel really lucky,” says Traub. “I get to learn about the park and see a side of it that most people don’t see when they visit for a weekend.”
The experience has been made even more interesting for Traub due to the fact that he has been living on land that is part of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. “There is a really unique dynamic,” explains Traub. “Those on the reservation have been living there for centuries; they show such respect for the area and the land – it has reinforced the importance of that respect for me.”
Traub will be returning to campus early to volunteer as a leader for the Pre-Orientation Adventure Program, during which he will lead incoming first years on a weeklong camping trip in the Adirondack Mountains. However, following Orientation, Traub will be headed overseas to spend his fall studying abroad in Barcelona.