West Side Glacier NP!

It was almost difficult to leave town on such a perfectly perfect day, and Trinity Lake was stunning!

We had a fabulous 4th of July at home and left to begin the journey to Glacier on Thursday, July 6th. Took us forever to get away, maybe because we were going to be gone a month. It was a beautiful drive along Trinity Lake. We arrived at Seven Feathers RV Park around 5 and had wine to celebrate. The sites are nice for an RV park, and there were a few Airstreams in it.  After an early morning breakfast we took off to spend two nights moochdocking at relatives in Gresham, Oregon. Arriving at 4:30 we parked in the driveway, had a yard tour and chatted. Dinner was salmon, salad and potatoes with wine. We helped with some outside chores and hit the hay. Morning we were up around 7:30, had coffee outside to plan the day. They went for a bike ride and I walked around downtown Gresham and hit the market. Lunched then we went to REI to get a sleeping bag and biking gear. Dinner was fantastic takeout from a Lebanese restaurant. We did some inside chores on the house, watched a video and slept well. Up early at 5:30, said goodbye and were on the road by 7:30 am. 
Initially, I spent a lot of time researching and mapping out our route, but then decided to go a different way at the last minute. We drove through the Hood River area, then towards Lewiston, Idaho and finally found the fairgrounds in Moscow. We parked out on the grass for free and didn’t unhitch. There were about four others on the grass and by the end of the night there were a total of seven, as all the other areas to camp were taken. Morning was early but relaxing, we walked to Safeway to stock up and began to head north towards Bonners Ferry. We decided to stop at Farragut State Park Campground, in Athol, after having lunch in Coeur d Alene, Idaho. The sign said full, but we tried anyway and it ended up they had sites for strictly self-contained so we lucked out. 908 was our site in the Ward Area, in a very unused area with lots of space between sites and a spectacular view. Both hubby and I are in love with meadow views and this was calling us! We walked to the Museum at the Brig and spent a good hour or two going though it.

Farragut State Park in Idaho. It originally was a very extensive Naval Training Station in 1942. It now is Idaho’s largest state park. After an early morning bike ride we were on our way.

Whitefish Lake Campground in Montana. Camping in the parking lot of the small day-use area was okay, the view was great but we had to be on our way by 9 am.

Heading towards Whitefish, Montana in the morning the drive was long yet beautiful. We arrived around 5:00 thinking we would just go into the overflow at WhiteFish Lake SP but instead went to the relatives and parked in their driveway until 9 then landed at the state park. Wow the view was amazing, but the train coming through numerous times was a bit much for my sleeping style. We got up early as we had to depart by 9, got gas, dumped the greywater, shopped and headed for Glacier. The drive was short, but did see a bus versus a car right at the turn into Glacier NP. The entry gate was well directed and we checked into our site, got water and found that although the site had good sun, it lacked levelness. Oh well we’re in Glacier! After setting up I walked down to the water via the trail and John rode to the visitors center to get maps. We had lunch and did a bit of work, then texts started to come in that one of our kid’s, on his way to meet us, hadn’t been heard from since early yesterday-so now a bit of fear sets in.
After hanging out at the campground we left around 5 to drive to the visitors center and to mail letters. Turns out the post office is out of the park, so we hit the VC, purchased a sticker and hiking map and walked to Apgar Village. It’s an area that reminds me of Greyeagle, CA . We checked out the boat rentals and walked back to the VC where we finally had a call from the missing son! Champagne! Back at camp after mailing letters we had that champagne and chatted about tomorrow and taking the shuttle to Logan Pass, made dinner…. walked to the campfire program on sounds (very interesting!) and slept well.

I had looked at this campsite B59 on a campground picture website and thought it was pretty level…not so much. And after we returned from our trip to the visitor center we had a note from the ranger not to leave trash around our campsite – they discarded our beer bottle.

Our cell phones became invaluable for taking pictures for informational purposes.

The goal in the morning was to get up and leave before 9 to catch the Going To The Sun shuttle for a hike. We made it to the VC just in time to hear of a 90 minute wait, and at this point frustration set in and crowd awareness. It turns out that Glacier has seen a 28% increase in visitation this year. SO we decided to drive the road ourselves instead and such a beautiful white knuckle drive and there was a lot of traffic. We arrived at the Logan Pass parking lot and found it full and we were full of disappointment. We turned around and headed back stopping to take pictures and then hit Lake McDonald to eat lunch and check out the boat tours. We ended up renting a motor boat and having ice cream and it was delightful. We drove thru Apgar Campground (non reservable) and John liked it because it was level. Our site is good for two of us but not a group. Back at camp, we relaxed, then hit the trail to go to the lake, and on the way back chatted with some neighbors about their day and they let us know we needed to go to the village to catch the shuttle. Yippee!  We also met our super close neighbors who were delightful. After a dinner of pasta and salad it was time to ….watch the Americans.

Oh my gosh I am so afraid of heights (even though I skydived 40 years ago) that this drive made me cry.

The boat rental was a perfect way to see Lake McDonald. Since John just sold his boat he wanted to try out one he didn’t have to maintain. I even drove it for a bit.

The Lake McDonald Lodge has the prettiest lamps and they even have an ornament that can be purchased! Cool works of art in all the Glacier lodges.

The Going to the Sun Road is unbelievable and this beer from The Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish is was just what we needed after that crazy drive!

 July 14 and it’s Ian’s birthday and we’re going to celebrate in Glacier NP! We start the day with a 9:30 meeting at the visitor’s center and then a drive to Lake McDonald Lodge where we meet up with everyone. Walking around we explore the entire area for an hour, then settle in for lunch at Jammer Joe’s, which easily accommodated all 10 of us. We enjoyed everything from pizza to hummus to wraps. Then we headed to the boat dock for our 1:30 boat tour with the ranger. It was a nice clear day on the lake and we then returned to our campsite to go swimming. The birthday dinner celebration was chicken, salad, garlic bread and grilled zukes. Such a great day and presents were given, we picked huckleberries, hung in the hammock, went for walks, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Everyone enjoyed the one hour boat ride via the Glacier Park Boat Company on Lake McDonald.

Sister and birthday brother! Everyone should always go swimming on their birthday in Lake McDonald!

Loved that two of our three kids and family could be with us in this magical place.

Birthday dinner in the campsite with family! Nothing better except for missing brother Brady!

Saturday, July 15 we awoke, packed lunches, ate oatmeal and headed for Apgar Village to ride the 9:00 shuttle. The shuttle stops at Avalanche and then a smaller shuttle heads up to Logan Pass. Arriving at Logan Pass we headed out to do the Hidden Lake Overlook trail. Hidden Lake is actually closed due to bear activity, and if going on to the lake it’s steep, and 1.2 miles to it. This is the first hike we have done at Glacier and I am semi- surprised at all the people, and in awe of the wooden boardwalk trail. So glad to have the walking sticks for the snow! There are all ages on the trail and shoe choices amaze me.  The weather is intermittent hot and cold with cloud cover, and I eventually have to shed my jacket. The trail has views for miles, flowers, mountain goats (moms and babies), marmots, squirrels and, ultimately from afar, a grizzly! We eat lunch in the sunshine of the overlook, take pictures and take in the view of Hidden Lake, and then hike back and catch the shuttle. Showers, dinner and a celebration that we figured out the shuttle system.

The Hidden Lake Overlook trail is 2.8 miles and begins at Logan Pass Visitor Center.

The wooden boardwalks, put in in 1970, are to protect the ecosystem and to contain the many hikers, and allow for drainage. The boards are untreated and replacements are made when needed.

Everyone needs to show that they visit where they say they have been. This is us!

This guy was one of many that we saw on the trail. He was quite the model!

 It’s a new day and Whitefish Sunday! We headed 40 minutes away to Whitefish to play. Mariah, Mila, the kiddos and I go into town to check it out, John and Heath go bike riding and Ian takes the older girls rock climbing. After a couple of hours everyone is home and after lunch it’s beach time on the Whitefish Lake. We have it to ourselves, drink beer, enjoy the water and play. Oh and we help save the day for some boaters that don’t know what to do when the wind comes up. Dinner is BBQ hamburgers, corn and dessert and loving company. Our next meetup minus Mariah and kiddos is the Highline Trail in the morning.

Pop might be giving Ian advice on cooking but I highly doubt it!

Monday the Highline trial/trail !  Seven of us met at the Apgar Village shuttle stop and took it to Logan Pass. The first part ( small section) was holding on to the cable attached tight to the rock wall, then after that it was mostly easy, until the last four miles in which my new socks failed me. An almost twelve mile hike  (13 on my Apple watch), the views are unbeatable, temperature was perfect, and the company awesome (9-72).  Mostly iPhone pictures for some odd reason even though I had my Canon. Lots of people at the beginning and middle where people turn around. We started at 10:30 am and finished at 6:30 pm just in time to catch the 7:00 shuttle at the Loop. Animals seen were deer, marmot, big horn sheep. Lunch was on the saddle that separates Haystack Butte from Mt. Gould, and dinner was leftover spaghetti in camp.  It was world class hiking for sure. I do question why I wore the socks that I did.

Looking back towards Logan Pass, with the hand-clutching, wide-eyed cable behind me.

The Bear Grass was spectacular! And the views were never ending.

Lunch with the group and million dollar views!

One of my favorite pics! 40 years with this guy!!

This Big Horn sheep owned the trail and made us back up before he finally passed below us.

The Granite Peak Chalet was a show stopper – and people actually hike to this and stay. It’s the only bathroom on the trail and 8 miles from Logan Pass and 4 miles up from the Loop.

Heading towards the Loop there is definite evidence of fire. This area of the trail heading from the chalet is semi-steep, dry and hot, yet the views are noteworthy.

The bridge made me so happy! I knew we were close to the end of the trail, and hopefully a shuttle would be there soon! I needed to change into flip flops and have a beer!

Waking up Tuesday and only having to drive was pleasurable as I am pretty sure my toes are in need of a vacation from my feet! We drove to the east side and got a one night spot at East Glacier KOA. The dryness on the east side is apparent and the one road we took by Two Medicine Lake was at times dicey but we managed. We did laundry and cleaned up the trailer. Met some Oregon airstreamers chatted with them, ate and slept.  

The St. Mary East Glacier KOA is super close to the park entrance. A lot of campers use it as a base camp to explore the park.