I’m busy getting ready for our trip to Glacier National Park (GNP). Lennie and I will be camping so there is a “to do” list a mile long; meal planning, packing appropriate attire, camping gear. Every few minutes I think of something else I need for the trip; hiking socks, moleskin, sunscreen, my Teva sandals need to be fixed…and the list goes on. I’m having trouble focusing on work since my mind can only think about the preparation of this trip.
The anticipation of driving into GNP overwhelms me. This time we will be entering through the east entrance, but I remember my last trip as if it were yesterday. I was staying in Missoula at the time for work. My friend, Jackie, and I decided to take an adventure the Saturday between our two weeks of work. I was actually supposed to be working that Saturday morning but I decided to cheat the system a bit. We left very early to drive up to Flathead Lake, the largest lake west of the Mississippi River, which is about an hour and a half away. We were under the assumption that GNP was not a day trip from Missoula so we decided to hang at the lake for the day.
Driving around the east side of the lake, we found a nice place to bench sit for soaking up some sun and to just breathe. We had just sat down when a lady with her dog happened by and of course, Jackie being the animal lover she is, started playing with the dog. We chatted nonchalantly with our welcomed native for a short bit before we told her we really wanted to see GNP, but we thought it was just too far away. She looked at us with surprise and said, “From here it’s only an hour away.” Jackie and I looked at each other and the same thought came to both of us. It was still mid-morning so we excitedly excused ourselves with much appreciation. Destination: Glacier National Park – West Entrance.
What an amazing ride it was, and we stopped so many times to take pictures on the way. But nothing prepared us for the amazing scenery we drove into. Awe struck and speechless, we knew we wouldn’t get back until very late. Throughout our drive we really didn’t have much to say. The grandeur of the mountains, Lake McDonald and the raging river said enough for us. Since we were there at the end of May, unfortunately, the “Road to the Sun” was not open but they had started working on the snow removal (an endless job). We were okay with that. We found enough water and boulders to play on at Lake McDonald and John’s Lake Trail just below Lake McDonald Falls. The scenery was spectacular and the water was “glacier ice-cold.”
Not really wanting to leave but as the sun started to set, we knew we needed to head back. We had about a three-hour drive to endure. But not before we stopped to eat huckleberry pie and play at the kiddy playground just outside of GNP. Tart pie and a ride on the kiddy horse ended the trip with laughter. I think the thin air up in the mountains had altered our minds. You know, when you feel like a child seeing Disney for the first time?
GNP was the first of several trips Jackie and I would take together before we left our jobs for new adventures. I do hope that Jackie and I will get to take another trip somewhere together soon as we seemed to enjoy the same types of adventures wherever we went. And we often thought in unison of what we were going to do next. We are a good traveling team!
I am so fortunate to be able to visit GNP again. This time with Lennie. Not just for one day but for four. Two days of hiking, one for zip lining and a day of rest, if that is possible there. The last three days of our vacation will be a drive through the Teton Mountains and Yellowstone National Park. Only a drive…
I pray my words and pictures can show you just how amazing GNP is!!
Until next time…
Travel Tip – when packing, rolling clothes instead of folding gives you more room in your suitcase for those shoes you don’t want to leave behind.
Loved your account of what you saw as well as these gorgeous pictures. I’ve never seen Lake McDonald, so this post is a real treat!
Thank you for following my stories. It takes me awhile sometimes to get where I need to go but anxious to follow your stories also!! Happy 4th!