G L A C I E R
M O N T A N A
Next stop on our road trip is Glacier National Park! We knew going in that a large part of the park would be closed due to snow (yep, in June we still experienced snow flurries, brrrr); but it's large enough for us to have plenty to explore on both the West and East sides.
We stayed our first few nights at Belton Chalet in West Glacier (if you guessed this was on the West side, you'd be right). It's a historic site with a "friendly ghost" staying at the hotel, which Danny forgot to mention until tucking in for the first night...
The main road, Going-to-the-Sun Road was only open to Avalanche Creek, which made for a great warm up hike! Like every river or waterfall, Danny had Hailey strike a pose and get some cool long exposure shots. The turquoise/blue water created an amazing contrast with the moss covered rocks that it cut through.
Apgar is a small town on the south end of Lake McDonald and offers great views for sunrise and even some nice pre-sunset shots. The lake has very colorful stones near the shoreline and the water is crystal clear. There is something about these glacial rivers and lakes that just scream to us "jump in!".
In the afternoon, we took the dirt road up to Polebridge, Montana then back into the park to Bowman Lake. The town had a small shop which we refueled at with some huckleberry bear claws (wedding diet!). After a lot of moving around, we were ready for a nap by the water. Being unemployed sure does make you tired!
Many of the hikes we wanted to do were closed off, so we ventured to East Glacier where we saw another grizzly! Danny grew up spending time in the Adirondacks around black bears, but the massive grizzlies made our hikes nerving. Don't worry, mom and dad, we had bear spary and a bear bell to ward off any hungry bear!
We hiked St. Mary's and Virginia Falls then took on a more challenging hike, Grinnell Glacier. The color of the alpine lakes is so cool! We were told it was due to to the glacier silt from grinding down the rocks as they pass through.
We fought back some rain as we spent a third day hiking. Hiking through the valley you can spot grizzlies grazing the sides of the mountain. Luckily for us they stayed at a nice viewing distance! In addition to the great hikes and scenery, the parks had some amazing lodges to stroll through and jump on their free wifi.
Our last hike before saying goodbye to Glacier NP was Iceberg Lake. While snowed in, it made for a great hike to an amazing frozen lake with steep mountains as a backdrop. We were the last ones on the trail and had it all to ourselves.
We saw a couple more bears, moose, and mountain goats before making our way to the nearby Indian Reservation where we stayed the night in another tipi. Slept on the ground and made us a nice fire in the middle to warm us up for the chilly night. However, Danny woke up every hour to keep it going.
Next stop, Canada (C-eh-N-eh-D-eh)!