August 8, 2017

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is among my favorite parks in the United States! The thick alpine forest, woven together and sustained by all the water (glaciers, streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes), and the variety of wildlife make this a special place to visit. Mallorie, Annie, and I spent a long weekend driving from Salt Lake City up to the park in the Toyota 4-Runner. We spent the first night camping in the Flathead Forest near Lindbergh Lake. We drove dirt roads up as high as we could towards Meadow Lake. The sunset and sunrise from high up on the hill were spectacular, and despite the number of forest fires burning in the area we still have some great colors and blue skies. At sunrise a fawn wondered right by the tent and didn’t seem to mind us being right there. We headed to the park from here, another 4 hours or so.

We spent the bulk of the weekend in the national park. We set up hammocks along the eastern shore of Lake McDonald on a quite secluded section of the pebbly beach. It was so relaxing, and Annie even took an hour-long nap in the hammock with us. I went for a swim in the cool water, it was rejuvenating and felt great! The clear glacier-blue water is something to behold, it glimmers as the light from the sun beams down through it. We continued up the canyon along McDonald Creek stopping to explore along the creekside and take pictures of some of the many cascading falls in the rock-lined creek. The shallow turquoise water bubbles through and over the rocks making for some very pretty picture opportunities, and a great place to have lunch. To stretch out our legs we hiked a couple trails. We started with the Trail of the Cedars, wondering along the boardwalk through the ancient cedars and Black Cottonwoods, stopping to take a look at the old cedar root ball. From there we continued up the Avalanche Lake trail up to the lake. The lower section near the waterfalls was definitely our favorite. Avalanche Creek cuts deep though the limestone creating some fantastic deep wall slots and beautiful falls. The next day we ventured further up the Going To The Sun Road, stopping along the way for photos at the Weeping Wall, Oberlin Falls, and Logan Pass. The fireweed in the Weeping Wall area was in full bloom and so pretty! The smoke from the fires nearby had set in and had made the sky hazy but it was still one of the more beautiful high alpine scenes I’ve witnessed! Some more pictures at Oberlin Falls, and then on to another hike to Hidden Lake. The hike from Logan Pass to Hidden Lake is on boardwalk for a good portion of the way up, wondering past lots of little creeks and stellar views of the wildflowers and looming peaks all around. We stopped at the overlook of Hidden lake as it was starting to get late and the sun was began to set. At the overlook a few mountain goats were hanging out. We watched them for a few minutes and took some pictures of them and the lake before turning back. We took turns carrying Annie in our arms. She did great and loved being out on such a pretty hike seeing all the beautiful things around us. The next way we made our way down the backside to Saint Mary Lake and did a couple more short hikes, one of them to up to Sunrift Gorge and then down to Baring Falls. That wrapped up our time in Glacier. We headed home through the Black Feet Indian Reservation past the vast sunflower fields and down to Helena, spending our last night there. The next morning through Idaho Falls and back home in Salt Lake that evening. Such a great time, and like always I wish we had more time there!