Friday, September 21, 2012

Glacier National Park!

It was just a short, hop, skip & a jump from Flathead Lake to Glacier and we got last minute reservations at the Glacier Campground, just outside of the park. The woman checking us in, who I think was the owner, wouldn't take any money from me until we decided how long we were going to stay - I don't think that's happened anywhere! She was full of incredible information on the "must-sees" and told us how ever long we were going to stay it wouldn't be long enough, and boy was she right.

We had timed our visit perfectly to coincide with Bill's friend, "Mr. Natural's" (aka Mark) arrival by train from Seattle. He comes every year to Glacier (17 to date!) by train and catches the shuttle and hitch hikes around between campgrounds. We got settled in and set off to try and find him. We knew which campground he was staying at and the only other information we had was that he was at the "hike and bike" site. We had absolutely no idea what that was or if it was even important. But after walking around for over an hour we finally found a ranger who directed us to the proper site and we found his tent...and then we found Mark! The funniest part of the whole thing was that not 10 minutes before Bill went to the bathroom and stood at the urinal shoulder to shoulder with this guy, his friend! When he came out of there all he said to me was, man did that guy stink (no showers at the campground), as he pointed to the guy walking out of the bathroom and guess who that was?! Ha ha had been a long time since he'd seen him, but come on, shoulder to shoulder and he didn't know it was him?!!!

We shared some snacks and beers and made plans for a nice, long hike the next day. We hadn't been hiking in quite a while but the day was beautiful and we started out with plans for a modest 5-6 mile "out & back" hike on the Highline Trail, knowing that if we were up to do it we could do the full loop of 11 miles. So silly us, we did the loop and it was a stupid idea! I had been feeling a bit under the weather and by the time we got home it was clear I shouldn't have pushed myself...oh well, we got to see the chalet in the middle of nowhere where you can overnight or just stop for some snacks & drinks, which was very cool.

On the Highline Trail

The next day we both needed to take it easy so we picked up Mark at his campsite and drove over to the east side of Glacier.  We stopped at Two Sisters for a yummy lunch in Babb, MT and I just HAD to order the avocado ice cream - sounds totally weird, but it was great!

Our last day in Glacier I was still not feeling great so Bill went on a hike with Mark to Avalanche Lake - from the pictures and Bill's description it sounded as if I missed a nice, easy hike but I had to get my strength back for our trip to Idaho :(. On his way back he was running down the trail and did a beautiful face plant right in front of a family he had just stopped to help! It was over a month ago and he's still whining about his knee!

Avalanche Creek

Avalanche Lake

Cascade Falls - these drain several glaciers

Our campground worked out great and they had a really good outdoor cafe there. We were lucky enough to see a few glaciers but the buzz was that by 2020 they'll all be gone...   We'll definitely be back for a longer stay, including some hiking on the east side next time.

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