Sunday, July 17, 2016

Glacier National Park: The Binoculars

The first day we were at the park, Adam let Stanley look through his binoculars when we were on the shuttle... He became pretty hooked on those things...

So when we stopped at the convenience store/gift shop for lunch, Adam bought him a pair of his very own!

 Those things did not leave his eyes as he looked high...
 and low....
And all around. For 3 straight days. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Glacier National Park!

5 months ago I hadn't even heard of Glacier National Park and now it's one of my favorite places!
The park is a land of mountain ranges carved by old ice rivers. There are alpine meadows, forests, waterfalls, gigantic melting glaciers and miles of sparkling lakes in the most incredible blue color. There are few miles of actual road throughout the 1600 square mile park; the main being the Going to the Sun Road from Apgar to Saint Mary; leaving most of the park untouched to be explored by hiking or boating. They say they built the road to show off the beauty and all I can day is the vistas shown on that road are absolutely stunning!

Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to do too much hiking (strangely going the first week of July is too early.. many of the trails were still covered in snow and not recommended for hiking). But we still had a great time! And now I just have a very good excuse to go again! (i'm coming for you Grinnell Glacier!) 
(That's not Grinnell Glacier back there... I just approve of that message.)

The first day we took the shuttles down Going to the Sun Road. (Honestly I would't recommend taking the shuttles... it was a plus because Adam had a chance to take in the views as a passenger instead of as the driver trying to see the vistas and watch the road so as to not drop off the steep cliffs, but the wait times were pretty long and the buses were extremely crowded! They have shuttles who just run the west side from Apgar to Logan Pass and back, and the rest just run the east side, Logan Pass to St. Mary and back. Shuttles are much more frequent on the west side so we were waiting for a shuttle going east at Logan Pass for close to an hour. Also, the buses were so crowded so we never got off at the many stops they make (besides the 2 you have to get off on to switch buses) because it was close to impossible to find a bus that you could get back on because they were all MORE than full). 

But we did stop at Logan Pass for quite awhile, looking around the visitors center and trekking through the SNOW. YES, SNOW IN JULY. 

(That hair though.... it was WINDY!)

We started the day in Apgar and shuttled to St. Mary. We had plans to eat a late lunch in St. Mary but as soon as we got there the power went out, so none of the little cafes could make food. We ended up just going to a small convenience store/gift shop in St. Mary for snacks.

Once we returned to Apgar we got in the van and drove back up a little ways to Lake McDonald. We grilled our steaks in a picnic area then sat on a beach of Lake McDonald, taking in the beauty and throwing rocks in the lake. It was great!


Then we went to Eddie's Ice Cream in Apgar for the huckleberry soft serve I read about.. it did not disappoint! 

A solid Independence Day for sure! I love this land! 
Fourth of July swag at the campground

The next day Adam, Jeremy, Mariah and I woke up at 4:30am to drive back to Lake McDonald to watch the sunrise. It was early and FREEZING COLD! It was pretty cloudy, so we didn't get great photos of the sky, but it was still pretty cool and we pretty much had the park to ourselves! 

We went back to camp to have breakfast and pick up Amanda and Stanley, then drove the Going to the Sun Road again, but this time in our own car so we got to stop as often as we wanted, for as long as we wanted.

(Jackson Glacier!)
(St. Mary Lake)

We stopped at Rising Sun for a boat tour on St. Mary Lake. The boat tour was awesome! We got up close to Wild Goose Island (the most photographed icon in the park), saw Sexton glacier and took a quick stop along the way to walk up to Baring Falls. 

Wild Goose Island up close!

Sexton Glacier!

We left the park in St. Mary and drove up through Babb, feet away from Canada, and around to the Many Glacier Entrance. We stopped to take pictures everywhere because it was so beautiful!

 We came out the way we came in and drove down highway 2 almost around the outside of the whole park (but still in beautiful land) to the Two Medicine entrance. Some of my favorite views were in that area of the park. SO GORGEOUS! 

We stopped at a picnic area on the beach of Two Medicine lake to grill up some hot dogs for dinner. It started raining so we quickly packed everything up and finished our dinner in the van. 

Day 3 we packed up camp and drove to Avalanche Lake where Mariah and I "hiked" to Avalanche Gorge in the pouring rain!  Then we went back to Apgar to eat a quick lunch and walk around the stores and gift shops once again - but this time 3 of us actually bought shirts!

Then we were off to the lakehouse... but not without a stop at a Mennonite cafe in Ronan for "the best pie ever" (I didn't have any so I can't vouch for that... that's just what I hear)!