Published: June 22nd 2012June 22nd 2012
Weird little creatures-barely knew we were there.
Glacier Lodge is fabulous! We were picked up at the airport by a shuttle service and dropped at the doorstep of Glacier Lodge. It sets just off the road in West Glacier and surrounded by forest and managed by Josh. Josh will have you in love with Montana within the hour while at the same time make you feel like part of his family. No phones - sweet!
After a great?? night sleep accompanied by a bedtime book provided by Josh on the subject of bear attacks (thanks for the nightmares! Josh) - we were ready to get moving.
Our first stop before heading into the backwoods was a 2 mile hike up to Avalanche Lake and back. Took us 4 hours! I took a few pictures along the way. (hehe)
The air is so clear and fresh that it feels light as you breathe it in. Very unlike the humidity ladden summer Tennessee air. It became a joke throughout the week - "I sleep better ... it's the low humidity", "the food really tastes good - it's the low humidity", "my contacts are clearer - it's the low humidity"!
This is on the opposite side of the valley, where the force of the wind and air pressure from an avalanche tipped these trees nearly all the way over!
I saw a marmot for the first time! He/she looked like a cross between a beaver/and a giant gerble. Cuddly!
Our day became rainy on us, and colder, and I am thinking if I have to sleep in a tent wet and cold for 6 days, this could really be a bad trip!
The next morning we woke to rain again and were taken to the Glacier Guide Montana Raft Co headquarters where several others were all gathered under a carport like area full of picnic tables and backpacks.
We met our guide, Corey, FABULOUS guide by the way, and the other member of our backpacking party, Andrew Gomes. A wonderful addition to the group we soon figure out! We were each given a backpack that already had our tent, sleeping bag, sleeping bag pad, and were told to put what we had of our own in with those items. As a consolation prize from spending a week walking in the woods, we each got an insulated mug, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and a roll of TP. That will prove to be VERY valuable along the way! We did
a dry run adjustment on the fit of our backpacks (40 - 50 pounds each) and then went to watch two videos.
One on bears, the other on keeping the park as pristine as we could. I am so impressed with the guide service in their diligence to go the extra mile to keep the park as human free as possible. "Leave no Trace" is the theme of the day and they take it very very seriously.
Since there was 15 inches of snow a week or so back, our route was altered from what we were expecting. We got in a van and headed to the Canadian border. A couple of hours later, after passing through the Blackfeet Indian reservation we found ourselves in a parking lot within a football fields length of Canada. No pictures please! The border patrol frowns on any digital images of their border.
Here we go, the hour of truth. Do we go through with it? 6 days is a long time to be in the bush! Or Mountains as it were. They had a cooler packed for our lunch before we headed into the
Shasta and Corey
After a break ... we could take in the view.
park - oh my goodness! wouldn't you know ... a Mt. Dew send off! I drank one, and took the other one with me. YES it weighs and I was going to have to carry it ... but I decided it was worth it - so in my backpack it went!
As we started into the park the trail was so muddy that there were several places where we just slid down the path instead of walked. But the rain had stopped and we were soon surrounded by forest with no other sounds in sight except Corey's bear warning call, "Whooo hoo!" I half way expected to see Opie coming around the corner as it sounded just like Aunt Bee when dinner was ready.
On the first day in we had two guide trainees, so there were 6 of us. Not a quiet moment, chatter all the way. Soon the forest opened into fields, and the Mts came into view! WOW! I mean seriously, this is huge. The sky was still overcast, but the image is still majestic. The Mountains just jump right out of the fields into the sky.
is were I wax poetic about the value of looking up and seeing what is out there rather than keeping your eyes on the ground, but as I say this the backpack is so heavy and the ground is so slippery that the first couple of times I did manage a look up while walking I ended up in the bushes off balance and dizzy. Guess I will look up when I stop for air (it must be the humidity).
After 6 miles or so, a few stops along the way, we make camp, set up our tents and get ready for dinner. The guides do all the cooking, the guests, do all the cleaning. :)
I know you are wondering, so let's get it out of the way first thing. Yes, we might have to make the forest our bathroom buddy along the way. There are rules, but thankfully at each camp site there are pit toilets, with a seat, a door, some graffiti, and of course you BYOTP. (Bring your own toilet paper). Just like at Granny Akins house when I was growing up! Seriously I remember it vividly.
The Permanent Ranger Station was just outside our campsite for this first night. Someone stays there permanently during the open park months. How about waking up to that view every morning?
The campsites are set up so that you sleep in one area, Pit Toilet in another and all food preparation and storage is in a separate place, just in case the bears do decide to visit, they will go where the smells are. The food and toiletries have to either be stored in bear safe metal boxes, or hung in the trees. Both are provided by the park in the camp site food areas.
Dinner was cheese quesidilla's, and spanish rice and for desert cheese cake! Honestly, the food on this trip was really really good for being outdoors! HEAVY CARB Loads though that was for sure.
After dinner ... bed time ... course it was hard to go to sleep with the sun was still up at 11PM ... still we managed to sqeeze into the tent, sleeping bags, fully clothed for warmth, complete with headgear and gloves. Anthony has never slept this warm before!
With flashlight at my fingertips, just in case we have to go outside these walls of safty (nylon can really be strong if you will it to be), hat down tight on my ears, we
slowly drifted off to sleep, or was it just my imagination that I slept?
There are more photos below