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Published: July 27th 2016
It has been three years since my last real backpacking trip. I badly needed to disconnect, and after a year or two of delay, I finally fulfilled a longtime wish of visiting Glacier National Park.
For us city-folk, Glacier was hard to access. Two flights and a 4-hour-drive brought us into the heart of the park. But difficult access usually means handsome reward. Driving down Going to the Sun Road, we were treated with awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping vistas, and schooled once again in the phrase “God’s Country”. Waterfalls, lakes, glaciers and jagged cliffs abound, bringing much needed refreshment to the soul.
I was traveling with four others, all first-timers that were dear friends and close brothers.
Our first day was spent day hiking The Loop trail (8-10 miles round trip with about 2-3k feet of elevation gain/loss). Toward the end of the trip, I fulfilled another longtime wish of seeing a grizzly bear on the trail. After a recent mauling in the area, there was much talk of grizzlies leading up to the trip.
I was taking a photo when about 15-20 feet out I hear a rustling and see brown fur. Immediately recognizing bear, I quietly stowed
my camera and pulled out my bear spray, backing away slowly. It looked to be about a teenager, a tad bigger than a cub. By the time it spotted me, I was already 20-30 yards back, and we enjoyed watching it go about its business eating grass. Eventually we decided to head down the path to go home. I rounded a corner and got as near as about 10 feet from it, but it made clear it was simply interested in eating!
The next day we hit the trail for what ended up being a 3 night 4 day 35 mile excursion. Ahh to be disconnected from the world, off the grid, rid of Facebook, the news, and politics! We hiked and camped along beautiful glacial lakes of azure blue - ice-cold and refreshing.
Our guys worked as a team and held up well, though we were all tested in our own way. We had plenty of food, took our time, and came out relatively unscathed.
I spent a fair amount of time fishing with little luck (caught a little one on the last day), but those quiet moments were precious nonetheless. Nothing quite brings the combination
of solitude, serenity, and focus like fishing in the backcountry.
We doubled-timed it home on the last day, ahh the ice-cold beer and real food
We capped off the trip with some rafting and fine-dining.
Of all our adventures, our times of sharing and bonding stand out as the most enduring. I hope we have returned ready to face the challenges to come– until next time!
Tot: 2.135s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 16; qc: 63; dbt: 0.0281s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb