Sunday, August 2, 2009

Avalanches and Glaciers...

Day 31: July 27, 2009 – Lakeside, MT to Gardiner, MT
Oh My!

We were awake and out on the road by 7:30 this morning. As per recommendation the night before, we made our way to Buns by the Lake in Somers, MT to split and enjoy a breakfast burrito and of course a sticky bun.

From Buns to tourists we drove toward the west entrance of Glacier National Park. On the way, Melissa saw many things that reminded her of her childhood trip to the same region: Montana Vortex, a mystery house which showcases a two-story outhouse and large rocking chair in the front lawn (the very rocking chair that captures one of Melissa’s favorite memories of her father!); huckleberry stands, a large wooden rat-trap-like maze and of course the approaching National Park. Melissa shared some of these childhood memories with Mike as he drove, she even mentioned that Glacier National Park was the first place that her and her sister Luella ever touched a cloud. As the story goes, in the morning, a cloud hung over Glacier. As the Allen Family drove the big tan van up toward the top of this particular peak, Luella and Melissa stuck their hands out the window to touch the cloud. It was not soft and fluffy, but extremely exciting for these two young girls…however, as the girls have aged, they realize that touching a cloud is like touching fog. Hmm. Mike enjoyed the story; he responded by saying, “That is sickeningly cute.”

Upon entering the park we quickly realized that Glacier National Park was quite possibly the most tourist populated park we’d yet been too. Or perhaps the park just has inadequate parking. Either way, we got our park map, sticker and post card then headed up the Going-to-the-Sun Road for some hiking. Avalanche Lake had been highly recommended to us the night before and since we had enjoyed our Buns by the Lake we figured this recommendation would be equally delightful.

After a little confusion in finding the trailhead, we were finally on our way toward Avalanche Lake. The terrain was a little more familiar to our Wyoming minds and bodies but we were nonetheless astounded by the beauty of the creek that flowed to our left and the massive peaks that were covered in Glaciers. We saw a good number of people on the trail but were content to be off the road and out of the hustle and bustle of all the tourists down below. Upon arriving at the lake we were blown away by the beautiful peaks, series of waterfalls and blue-green glacial waters. Knowing that we had a long drive ahead of us, we made our way back toward the road and took Nav-E and ourselves a little farther up the Park Road where we saw Heaven’s peak, many waterfalls, the Weeping Wall and a great many wildflowers.

Having explored Glacier National Park as well as we could we headed out making sure to stop at a Huckleberry store and purchase a huckleberry shake, simply for memories sake.

With our bellies full of huckleberries we set in for a long drive through Western Montana until we would finally reach Gardiner, MT, just north of the Yellowstone entrance. Being so late at night and failing to find a true campground, we pulled into a small gravel pit with some motor homes – Melissa crashed in the backseat of the car and Mike set up his sleeping pad and bag on the gravel next to the car. Sweet Dreams.

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