You'd think that mid-June would be the perfect time to visit Glacier National Park (which lies partly in Canada and partly in Montana) -- not too cool, not too warm. Well, not only were we too early for huckleberry picking in Montana (very disappointing for Isaiah who spent several summers picking the berries with his brother as a teenager), we were also too early to be able to drive along the entire path of Going-to-the-Sun Road. The snow hadn't quite melted yet, so half of the road was still closed to traffic. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a couple of spectacular hikes during our short stay.
The great thing about visiting a national park is that there is something for everyone. Glacier National Park offers wheelchair accessible nature paths as well as more technical trails and opportunities for backpacking in the backcountry. If hiking isn't your thing, just relaxing on the patio of one of the historic lodges or taking a boat cruise along Lake McDonald might be more appealing.
Before the barrage of photos from our trip, I'll leave you with this quote that welcomed us at the visitor's center:
"National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst." -Wallace Stegner (Amen to that!)
|Um, scary much?|
|Lobby at Lake McDonald Lodge|
|(Lake McDonald Lodge) For a second, I was tempted to tell you all that we went on vacation to Switzerland...|
Day 1: Afternoon hike along Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail (wheelchair accessible) and beyond, toward Avalanche Lake (near Lake McDonald Lodge, our hotel), and dinner at the lodge followed by a ranger program (if you read this post, you know I'm a fan of ranger programs). The ranger taught us all about animal prints and scat. Armed with our new knowledge, the next day's hike would be a game of, "What critter was here?"
|Evidence of Avalanches|
Day 2: Buffet breakfast at the lodge, a drive to the east side of the park with a stop at Goat Lick Overlook and Memorial Square at Marias Pass (located on the Continental Divide), and a sack lunch prepared by the lodge while on the hike to Scenic Point near Two Medicine Lake.
|Goat Lick Overlook, so-called because animals come here to lick minerals off the side of the mountain.|
|Two Medicine Lake|
Truth be told, I didn't actually make it all the way to Scenic Point. The last photo above is the only photo from that trail I didn't take. After 3 miles and climbing over 2,000 feet in elevation, I was pretty much done and collapsed just below where Isaiah took this photo. At least he made it.
For Your Rolodex:
Lake McDonald Lodge
1 Going-to-the-Sun Road
Lake McDonald, MT 59921
Direct Telephone: 406.888.5431
GPS Coordinates: 48.617279,-113.878934