August 18, 2005

Travel Log - Day 8

Okay, I have seen photos of Glacier N.P. but to visit in person and see the real-deal, well, it is just more than words can tell. It is an experience I shall never forget. We are blessed that we will be here for 5 days and can spend our time visiting Kalispell, Whitefish, Big Mountain, and Glacier with leisure.

Our first trip up the Going to the Sun road took place on the afternoon we arrived in Whitefish. We decided to take the drive into the park, even though, we didn't have a full-day to visit. As we entered the park it began to rain and the further we drove up the road (which crosses the Continental Divide), the more our visibility decreased. The fog set in, the rain began and we often could see less than a car length in front of us. We made it to the very top of the road, entered the rest stop to use the bathrooms and was greeted with a biting wind chill of about 20 degrees (down from 60 when we left the KOA). Dressed in a teeshirts and shorts, we were not prepared to do any hiking or even walking. We toured the visitor center and headed back down the mountain, hoping that tomorrow would bring us another day of sunshine.

After a good night in our comfy cabin, we ate a filling breakfast, checked email (hooray), and packed our lunch for the day. It was cold but the forecast said the highs would be 60 or so. Our camping director said that on the mountain even 60 would be warm. He helped us pick some easy to moderate trails and gave us some pointers on hiking in the park.

Did I mention that Glacier is beautiful?

Yes, there are bears here.

We even drove to the backcountry in the hope of seeing some Grizzly bears but to our dismay, there were none. This sign had a note saying that bears were spotted near the trail in the early morning hours and to pay special attention for them. We didn't see them but many of the hikers in front of us and behind us had bells on their shoes, backpacks and sticks. I read in the park newspaper that bells don't work but the visitors to the park like to wear them and so you always hear the faint 'tinkle' of grizzley bells where ever you go in the park.

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