June 2018 – Badlands and Beyond, Part 5 – GLACIER NAT’L PARK

June 13, 2018 – Phil and I had gotten an early start and cruised down the road, destination Glacier National Park, (in the future referred to as GNP). On the way through the Tower area of Yellowstone, we saw a black bear with three cubs, and then a lone black bear just west of Roosevelt Lodge.

The drive from Canyon Village in Yellowstone to Fish Creek Campground in GNP took approximately seven hours. We were pleased with the location of our campsite, and after getting our screened room set up over the picnic table, we explored our surroundings. We found a trail that took us down a short path to the pristine, alpine, MacDonald Lake. The clarity of that crisp, cold water was invigorating. A lively mountain stream also ran parallel to the campground and drew me like a magnet whenever I passed it.

Lamarla and Lamar relaxing by a mountain stream.
MacDonald Lake, photo taken from Apgar Village

With so much beauty and wilderness to experience at this wonderful new place, we parked our trailer and drove to Apgar Village, just in time for sunset pictures and ice cream!

MacDonald Lake sunset

Apgar Village has a few shops that house local artist’s paintings, books, crafts and other interesting pieces for sale. We did a quick walk through, taking note of gifts we’d be interested in purchasing, then drove into the early evening, looking for animals. The road we took goes towards Polebridge and also accesses the Flathead National Forest. It looked like there had been a fire within the last 10 years. The pines were making a comeback, growing into a thick and dense forest.

Snowshoe hare on the road

June 14, 2018 – So excited to get into some back country and experience the trails in GNP, we headed to the Avalanche Lake trailhead. This trailhead is accessed by the Going to the Sun Road, and was the last opened trail accessible by vehicle because of avalanches further up the mountain.

The morning began with sunshine and cool, but comfortable, temperatures. The trail took us over a bridge that spanned a lively, granite-filled river where I stopped to take pics and lost one of my hiking poles to the whitewater. Phil had just bought me this set in Hill City, South Dakota and I felt horrible!! We searched downriver for the pole, hoping it had washed up on the bank, but no luck… it was gone forever. 😦

Moments before my trekking pole jumped off the bridge…

After about an hour into the trail, the weather turned and we were forced to put on our rain gear. Stopping to chat with a nice couple from California, I got colder and colder the longer we stood motionless. By the time we started walking again, I was extremely chilled. The clouds turned angry, lightening and thunder reverberated through the mature cedars, and hail changed to an icy cold rain.

Old growth cedar along Avalanche Lake trail.

We made it to Avalanche Lake! After taking some photos of this spectacularly crystal clear, alpine lake with several waterfalls cascading down the sides of the mountain, we turned around and moved quickly back down. I nearly jogged trying to increase the blood flow to my extremities. Clearly, I was not prepared for this change in the weather. I had no rain paints, no fleece under layer and my gloves had gotten soaked from the rain.

Back at our campsite, we loaded our large, cast-iron skillet with steak, burger, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and onions. Together they sizzled, tantalizingly marinating as one delicious feast. A meal has never tasted so good!!

After our amazing dinner, we drove towards Goat Lick Overlook in the hopes of seeing these incredibly nimble animals. Stopped on the way to take pics of a gorgeous waterfall on Bear Creek.

Phil in front of Bear Creek waterfall.

We drove on and just before arriving at the parking lot that is next to Goat Lick Overlook, we surprised a young goat that was grazing right next to the road. He jumped and took off running down a very steep drop-off. His mom was waiting for him down below and they joined in running to the other side of the gorge. Such a stunningly agile animal!

Goat Lick Overlook
Sun is setting as we drive back to Fish Creek Campground

Phil and I would love to learn of your exciting adventures in the back country! Please share in the comment section and provide a link if you have any pictures that I could post on my new blog page, Friends of the Maiden Adventures!

Coming up… hike around Kintla Lake with grizzly bear warning signs everywhere!


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