#40 Glacier National Park, MT
This was my second trip to Glacier, but the first time I saw it. I'll explain... Almost 30 years ago, Fred and I did a 3 week camping trip across Canada from the east to the west. We came back into the states at Waterton/Glacier National Park. It was so foggy that it was difficult to see anything at all, at times the end of the car hood was hard to see. Fast forward to 4th of July, 2018 and the sun is shining and the grizzlies are grazing; much better.
On our way into the park we encountered cows free ranging, of course on blind curves.
"Park pass please!"
The scenery starts off with a bang! St. Mary Lake.
So gorgeous and it just keeps getting better!
Our first grizzly sighting was at the west end of St. Mary Lake.
Magnificent animals! Speaking of animals, on our way to Logan Pass I spotted some Rocky Mt. Bighorn Sheep.
These views are something!
Logan Pass is the high point in the park. This is a VERY popular visitor center. Do yourself a favor and make sure to arrive before they open. Parking is at a premium and is filled up as soon as the visitor center opens.
Notice the Canadian flag next to the American flag. They fly together here as a testament to the cooperation of the two countries to preserve this beautiful region.
While we waiting for the center to open we walked around. The Yellow Glacier Lilies were everywhere! So were the Columbian Ground Squirrels...eating the Glacier Lilies as fast as they could.
Yellow Glacier Lily
We left Logan Pass and made our way down the divide to McDonald Lake for kayaking. It was just glorious!
Kayaking on McDonald Lake was so relaxing and invigorating. It's not often that you have the opportunity to observe a pair of nesting Bald Eagles.
A stop at the historic McDonald Lodge was in order after kayaking. I just love the historic lodges that the park system built. They were constructed to bring the public into the parks to bolster visitation numbers. These days however, the parks are facing too many visitors.
After a 5 mile kayak I wanted to get back over to the east side of the park again to do a hike before dark.
It started out to be a beautiful hike with warning signs that this was a highly frequented area by grizzly bears. No worries, I can still see over the berry shrubs. But then there were no more hikers and the shrubs were taller than I am and it was getting hard to elbow my way through them. The only comforting thought was that the berries weren't ripe yet. The map had not been to scale and the mileage was quite a bit more than anticipated. I was concerned that the time that I told Fred that I would meet him was going to pass and he would worry about me. Frankly, I was a little worried about me too. But Anna said, "Don't worry Momma; I got you." So I kept singing and yelling "Hey, bear" to make my presence known. Turns out she did have my back.
It didn't help that on our way to the park we heard on the news that a very experienced bear researcher had been attacked a couple days before in Glacier. She had been with her team walking through brush near a stream (just like where I was hiking). The sound of the rushing water had kept the bear from hearing her approach and well, grizzlies don't like surprises.
Finally, after about 3 miles, the giant berry bushes gave way to beargrass and more open terrain. Whew! I quickened my hiking and ran where it felt safe to do so. I came to a fork in the trail where my trail and two others converge. I knew I must be within a mile or two of Fred and the car. I decided to take the steep trail up to the road when I heard someone yell "Gil!" Fred was coming down one of the other trails and if the timing had been 5 seconds later, he wouldn't have spotted me. So I turned around and joined him at the crossroads. It was then we saw some other folks and they excitedly asked if we saw the grizzly that had just walked through there on his way to the lake. Why no, we hadn't...and I for one, was glad we hadn't met the bruin on the trail. Time to get back to the car before the sun starts dipping.
I'll leave you with these lovelies. See you in Yellowstone!