Origin Stories and a July Logan Pass Elopement Session | Christina Adele Photo
When Christy first reached out to me in May 2019, she didn't know that I was a photographer or that I had planned out all the locations for my own wedding in Glacier National Park. She didn't know that I worked for the National Park Service in Glacier and knew the park better than the back of my hand. She just knew that she had seen my wedding photos and wanted similar ones for herself (See our photos here and here). She wanted all the advice I could give her about getting married in Glacier National Park. And I had a lot of advice to give. But let's start at the beginning.
In August 2017, my then boyfriend David and I traveled to Glacier National Park. I was in between jobs working for the National Park Service in Zion and Yellowstone and had an unexpected week off. In my career, time off in the summer is unheard of. Who gives rangers time off during the busy season? Miraculously, David was able to get the week off too. He was working for the State of Wyoming on their Helitack Crew fighting fires. Again, a wildland firefighter getting a week off in August? Unheard of. Looking back, we absolutely believe God had a hand in this and that he wanted us in Glacier. So to Glacier we went. At the time, the Sprague fire was burning in full force and smoke was choking out the park. Many people had canceled their trips. But we weren't picky, we didn't really have a choice when we could travel. It was now or never. Luckily, even though we arrived late at night, we had no trouble finding lodging because the fire had driven everyone away. We found a cabin 5 minutes from the park for $60 a night.
We woke up in the morning and it was pouring rain. The smoke was gone and it's place was magical fog dancing around the mountain peaks and mesmerizing ephemerals cascading through meadows of fireweed. We were dumbfounded, how could a place this beautiful exist?
David and I knew we were close to getting engaged, but marriage still seemed a long ways off. We were both seasonal and didn't know what life would hold after our seasons ended. How could a marriage work when it was very possible we would be in separate parks each summer? But it didn't stop us from dreaming about the day it would finally happen. We had always dreamed of getting married in Grand Teton National Park. But that day, as we watch the sun set over Swiftcurrent Lake, we knew that Glacier was the place where we would become man and wife. Someday. We also knew Glacier was where we wanted to end up living. Again, someday.
As it worked out, I was offered that elusive permanent National Park Service job in Zion National Park three weeks later. This made marriage possible much sooner than we had ever hoped. David proposed almost immediately. We began planning and put down deposits for our dream Glacier wedding. As we prepared for our move to Zion however, we learned that it would not be financially possible for us to get our own places there. It was important to both us that we not live together prior to marriage, so we decided to get legally married before our wedding. So we gathered our immediate families for a "joint family Christmas" and eloped at Vegas style wedding chapel in Vancouver, Washington. We kept our marriage a secret and continued to plan out our wedding for June in Glacier. I also began to apply to jobs in Glacier that I really was under-qualified for. But I wanted to keep our dream of moving to Montana and Glacier alive. The day before our wedding, while I was on my way to my hair and makeup trial- I was offered a permanent NPS job in Glacier. Not only was it permanent, but it was a huge promotion as well. At our wedding, we were able to surprise our friends and family with the news that we were moving to this magical place where we had just brought them all. They were rightfully thrilled.
So we moved to Glacier and it was everything I imagined it to be. I had moved 30 times in the previous years from park to park, and from dorm to house to apartments within the same parks. The longest I had spent in a single home after graduating high school was the 9 months David and I had spent at our townhouse in Zion before we moved to Glacier. To say it felt good to finally settle down and be in a place we had no plans of ever leaving, would be an understatement. Now that we were where we wanted to be, we could start to put down roots. I could finally build my client base and start shooting portraits again as I had in college. I had missed it so much while pursuing my career with the National Park Service, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. It's hard to book sessions when you are constantly moving and don't know where you will living the next month.
As I was working on my website and getting the proper permissions and ethics waivers from the Park Service. Christy reached out to me about her July 2019 elopement. She had been looking up threads about weddings in Glacier and had come across the photos from our wedding. She had tried asking questions in those threads, but people had been rude, so she wanted to reach out to someone who had actually done it themselves. I gave her all the advice I could. At some point in our conversation, she mentioned that they were low on money and hadn't been able to book very much time for a photographer. I told her to keep the photographer they had already booked, but I would love to add on an hour or so the day after to get them more photos and to add to my portfolio. She gladly accepted my offer and we planned to meet up at Logan Pass for sunset after their elopement.
It was a gorgeous, but chilly, night. We walked along sections of the boardwalk behind the visitor center and the first section of the Highline Trail. Mountain goats decided to photobomb Christy and Larry on a couple separate occasions, including once where one passed between us and the wall, with a sheer drop off behind us, on the very narrow Highline. It was a tense moment and we all held our breath as he came within inches of us and we had nowhere to go. Thankfully, he passed by us without incident. Upon returning to our vehicles, we had to wait for bighorn sheep to move away from them so we could safely get in. In other words, it was your typical Logan Pass evening. We finished the night with a first dance during "sunset" (the sun never actually appeared) at Wild Goose Island overlook. My first Glacier National Park Elopement was on the books. I had had so much fun, that it was then I knew, I was definitely made for this. Landscape photography was never this fun, it had never brought me this much joy. Portrait photography, and specifically elopements, would be what I would pursue now. Interested in booking me for your own elopement? Inquire here. Full day packages start at $2,000.
Things to know when considering a Logan Pass Elopement Session with me:
-Ceremonies and Vow Exchanges are not permitted at Logan Pass. While you are welcome to take photos here, the ceremony itself will need to take place at a secondary location.
-Logan Pass has very limited parking, and is very crowded. I only recommend shooting here in the evenings to avoid the crowds. Mornings (especially sunrise) are the most crowded as it is the trailhead to some of the most popular day hikes within Glacier National Park. - Expect to be photobombed by wildlife. Every session I have had here has included at the very least mountain goats, but also bighorn sheep and bears also frequent the area. I will always provide bear spray if you don't have your own.
-Logan Pass is the only area in the park where it is illegal to venture off trail. In all photos taken here, you will be standing on trail and if you remain near the visitor center, there are often chains on either side of trail. Despite this, excellent photos are still possible.
-Logan Pass is very windy. Consider this when planning your hair and makeup for this location. -Logan Pass has the shortest season of any area in the park. Typically only open from late June - mid October, but often closes temporarily even when “open”.