Glacier National Park
Derrick and I seem to have a problem with trying to fit too much into too little time, but you can't fault us for wanting to see all of the pretty things we can see. We stayed a whole three days in Glacier, however, and the views make it pretty understandable why.
We are on a roll with mountains and lakes, and seeing as how the former is my hometown and the latter is my new town, it was incredibly serene walking up to the calm, clear water that was lined with a multitude of multicolored rocks. The mountains were shy when we first arrived, but they eventually came out to play when they realized Derrick and I were hiking closer and closer to try to get a better view of them.
After a five-star breakfast of instant oatmeal and instant coffee (actually not the worst thing in the world if you get the Starbucks kind, especially after two mornings of the weakest coffee we had ever had in Canada), we hit the trail around the Northern side of Lake McDonald (the beauty above, which is actually the largest lake in all of Glacier). It was about 8 miles to this amazing sandy beach that became our lunch pavilion, but before we got there, we had to trudge through a few miles of trail with downed trees and overgrowth everywhere. There was a large fire here in 2003, and the forest is just starting to bounce back. This new growth makes it hard for the old burned trees to stay upright, so between the soil changes and the big winds that are tangential to the spring storms, the fallen trees certainly made for an obstacle course. We decided to do the hike there and back in one day, instead of backpacking our tent and everything out to the beach. We had a quaint little campsite and decided we could do a 15 mile round trip hike in a day, and that we did (this time without any near-death experiences).
Somehow the way back took much less time than the way there (or so it seemed, as these things always do. The tributary rivers that feed the lake were just as blue and clear and cold, glacier run-off sounds as refreshing as it actually is.
Both nights spent in our awesome tent were accompanied by a nice monsoon that thankfully was not accompanied with too much wind. There is something extremely cleansing about reading all night by the light of a small headlamp, completely enveloped by rain endlessly roaring on the tent fly. After a cold morning was FINALLY warmed by a fire (for some reason the firewood we bought was the most stubborn wood in the universe, and it greatly tested our patience and innovation to start the thing three days in a row), more oatmeal and coffee, we hopped in Kelly again and drove off to Bozeman, Montana, awaiting our next stop in the Grand Tetons. Stay tuned for more!