Monday, August 15, 2016

Eleven Glacier

After packing up we hit the road.  It is our last day in Montana... no more beautiful hikes!  Sob. 
 Raya and Josh, who know the area well, took us to a place that they discovered, Polebridge, Montana.

Polebridge is in the middle of nowhere yet it is famous for pastries.
The red dot is pointing to Polebridge.  We came from Apgar and were going to Whitefish for the day before our flight left out of Kalispell.    

They were right, the bakery was amazing, so worth the detour.  

It is a strange little commune. 

After we filled up on baked goods we headed to Whitefish.  Whitefish is a quaint town, full of restaurants and interesting shops.  But our sights were set on the Great Northern Brewing Company, as they have been our source for beer on this trip, and many good times.  

We did the tour, which cost 5$ and included a beer of your choice, which you could bring along with you on the tour.  They use gravity throughout their beer making process so we started on the third floor.  While the tour guide was talking proudly about how the brewery is the tallest building in town, I looked around at the view and noticed taller buildings while Eric noted the dial on the roof.  As it turns out the dial is connected to a weather vane, which gives it the extra height needed to make it the tallest building in town.   

Cheers to a great trip!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Ten Glacier

Today is our last day in Glacier.   The time went by way to quickly.  I have been wanting to go to Glacier National Park for years.  Knowing that this is one of those places you can't just keep saying, 'one day I will go,' because of the continuous decline of the glaciers.  If kept up, in 2030 I would be saying 'I should have gone,' and I don't like that thought at all. 
 So, we went. 

Today was an easy day for hiking.  A 5 miles out-and-back, starting with the Trail of the Cedars and continuing on to Avalanche Lake Trail (the trail isn't as doomsday as it sounds). 

Danger is our middle name.

Avalanche Lake.

Our hike ended at Lake McDonald, watching a storm roll over lake, wondering if it was going to hit us or miss us.  The weather in Montana is far from predictable, but the beauty is not.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Nine Glacier

Today was a day for 472 foot deep Lake McDonald.  I rented a paddle board and Eric went with a kayak.  There are plenty of options at Glacier Outfitters, but we played it safe and set up the rentals the day before.

Everyone was excited about spending the day on the lake.

9:30am-2:30pm just wasn't enough time on the lake so after we returned our rentals we paddle boarded some more, switching off who would use Raya and Josh's boards, one person has a beverage on the sand while the other paddles.  
Raya is the only one not paddle boarding, but you aren't drinking alone if you aren't alone... 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Eight Glacier

We were waiting patiently for the best day to do Highline Trail (one of the most hiked trails in Glacier National Park), and I think we found it.  Not only did we have gorgeous weather (even though it did end with some rain), it wasn't overly crowded.
We were waiting in line for the first shuttle from Apgar Campground, so we were up there as early as possible without a car.  The free shuttles are nice, not only because parking can be difficult to find, but because we were able to do a one-way hike.  We hiked 12 miles, from Highline to the Granite Park Chalet to the Loop Trail, where we waited (very briefly, in the rain) for the next shuttle to Apgar.

Have I mentioned how amazing Glacier National Park is?

We didn't see any bears but we did eat lots of bear food (huckleberries and wild strawberries), and checked even more flowers off on our flower guidebook.

They look cute but as soon as you turn your back these little rascals are in your backpack searching for food, or worse, your food is gone.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Seven Glacier

Instead of 70 miles, the drive from Many Glacier (East Glacier) to Apgar (West Glacier) is a 120 miles.  But with the trailer, we had no other option.
Instead of mountain views the topography changed to the Great Plains, formed from erosion and deposition of the nearby mountains which we just left, and are trying to return to.

Montana is so beautiful.

We explored our new campground, set up camp, and determined the schedule for the rest of our trip.
Time is going by way too fast.  And there is so much to see!  It is hard to believe that the majority of visitors spend just one day in the park.

Hammocks are so popular in campgrounds these days, with the introduction of ultralight hammocks for backpacking.  We would have looked pretty uncool without them!  Phew.

Box wine is a great invention too.

"Extra broccoli, please!," Eric exclaimed. 
There are no showers at Apgar (you have to leave the park to shower) so after dinner Josh thought we should have a late night paddle/bath in Lake McDonald and we all agreed, the lake is just a five minute walk from our campsite.  

Montana is so beautiful.  
Dang it!  I already said that...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Six Glacier

Our plan, like many other people's plans today, was thwarted. 
Josh drove to Apgar Campground to convince a fellow camper to put out a camp chair with a 'reserved' sign, so we had a spot for tomorrow (otherwise we could have had to arrive at Apgar crazy early, which isn't that easy since we would have a trailer.  You can't take the Going to the Sun Highway with a trailer, you have to go all the way around).  
While he was doing that we were going to hike Hidden Lake Trail, from the Logan Pass Visitor Center ('going to' is the key word here).

It did not stop raining all day.  And it was 40°.  It didn't sound fun to hike in the cold, soaked through, and not know when our ride would return.
We just hung out in the visitor center and people watched.  The cold and the rain meant that there were plenty of people to watch.

When the rain let up for a moment I snuck outside to take a short stroll and some pictures.

Headed back to Many Glacier from Logan Pass you could see signs of the weather letting up.  It should have taken Josh thirty minutes each way, but due to the dense clouds it look an hour and twenty minutes each way.  Not to mention it took longer to secure a spot since it was raining, no one was outside at the campground to talk to.  
But, as is the case with most things, it all worked out.

In the evening we found ourselves hanging out at the Interlaken Lounge in the Glacier Park Lounge, drinking a celebratory Going to the Sun IPA.

Josh was looking for bears on the hillside, a common sight at the lounge in the lodge, and one that we just missed.

Today didn't go as planned but the weather in Glacier is not predictable, which I suppose makes it predictably unpredictable.