Sunday, July 2, 2017

Glacier National Park

The Good, the Bad, the Surprises

The Good
If you have visited Glacier National Park, you know this to be true; photos and words cannot come close to describing the beauty. Spectacular is an understatement.

We were fortunate Going to the Sun Highway opened before we had to leave.

Logan Pass

Weeping Wall

Waterfalls were in abundance throughout the park.

With hikes available for every level, we chose a few easy to moderate trails.

At a friend's suggestion, we went to Polebridge for pastries and a leisurely hike  at  Bowman Lake.

After six plus miles on a rough, sometime hairpin curve drive on a gravel road, we found the sign to be true 

(silly us, we thought all those vehicles we met coming down the road were leaving the parking lot.)

We didn’t see Bowman Lake but Polebridge was worth the drive

Especially for the pastries.

We had a lovely hike on Johns Lake Trail.

making a fortuitous wrong turn, we saw the north side of McDonald Lake. 

Avalanche Trail sounded as though it would be a beautiful and not too challenging hike. However, after about a 14-15 mile drive to the trail head, we discovered, (once again) no parking. But we did see shuttles so we headed to the information center to see if we could take a shuttle to the trailhead; guess what, the shuttles will not start until July 1 (they were in training.) The nice lady at the information center suggested we hike on the Lake McDonald trail from Fish Creek Campground. How convenient! That is where The Wanderer was parked. Back to the campground we go; a bit hilly (that must be why it wasn’t listed in the Easy Day Hikes book) but lovely views.

On the east side of the park we hiked Aster Park Trail. This particular day, ABN had decided, for her, it would be a nice meditative hike in which to reflect on God’s masterpiece. And it started that way as we hiked along a gentle path, 

with beautiful wildflowers.

And then we saw this sign

We continued the hike (but did not take the Paradise Point option.)
(at this point, ABN’s prayer changed from gratitude to “Please God, do not allow us to encounter a bear; if you do, please give us wisdom and courage to leave the bear without bodily harm; if that is not the case, please let the first blow make me unconscious so I do not feel the pain.” If you are reading this then you know which prayer was answered. 

End of trail

The Wanderer was just the right size for the park campground.

The solar panel upgrades gave us all the electricity we needed and then some.

With temperatures in the 70’s and lower 80’s during the day, and upper 40s at night, it was perfect for hiking, sleeping and campfires.

The Bad

There really wasn’t much bad except for large mosquitoes, often no parking at popular trail heads and road construction with long delays in and outside of the park. When available (July 1), taking advantage of the free shuttle service would probably be a wise choice.

The Surprises

Wildflowers were plentiful throughout the park, especially on the east side.

Bear Grass, blooms en masse about every 5-10 years (bears don't eat it but deer do.)

The water in the streams and lakes was a beautiful turquoise, colored by glacial silt.

We had a beautiful drive on Tuesday to the east side of Glacier National Park. 

Our campground reservation in the east side of the park had been canceled because of flooding, but we were able to find a spot at Y Lazy R Campground in East Glacier. (Yep, this is a photo of the town.)

As you can see, it is a very small campground

where we met some interesting folks that had similar interest in exploring and finding adventures. Remember when we said if there was an Aggie in the area, we would find them? Meet Alan (class of ’81) and his wife, Donna. They just happened to be parked next to us in a 1996 diesel pusher. And it was Tuesday.

Alan and Donna left on Wednesday; full timers, Jodi and Tom, pulled into the same spot in their beautiful 2017 Class A (love the diversity of travelers,) to explore GNP before continuing on their way to Alaska.

Last Sunday was Captain’s birthday and he wanted pizza and beer (no surprise there.) A Google search took us to a nondescript diner, Glacier Bar and Grill. Even with a 5-star rating, when we entered we didn’t expect much. We were really surprised, the pizza was outstanding.

The best surprise of all was the Bing cherries!

We found this farm stand in Coram, just west of Glacier on Hwy 2. We returned two more times to buy more.

Internet and cell service was sketchy in the park and the Montana mountains; we couldn’t decide whether this was good or bad. Basically it was just a matter of inconvenience at times. (Especially when attempting a blog post.)

Montana ranks as one of the most beautiful states we have visited. As we leave we are talking about “when we come back.”

Currently we are on our way to Olympic National Park in upstate Washington. If all goes well we will have good internet service this evening that will allow us to post. (Didn't happen; but we did find a good spot this morning.)

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