Day 19-20

By the time we had packed up and were on our way out of Yellowstone, I was in full-on “F**k this shit” mode.  I was cold.  I was damp.  I was COLD!  And I was done.  If it weren’t for plans and the promise from my weather app that Glacier would actually be warmer, I’d have just headed south already.

I’m so glad we didn’t.

After a long but beautiful drive, we arrived in Glacier National Park.  It took us two days to get there, because we had to find a cellular store and replace my phone (which had also said “f**k this shit” to the cold, developed a case of internal condensation from the temperature changes, and died). When we arrived there were no in-park campsites available, and we ended up at a KOA just outside the park’s St. Mary entrance.  In the long run, hot showers, cell signal, and other convenient services, we were better off.

Day 21-23

It seems we hit the park about 2 weeks too early to actually be able to access the glaciers.  When inquiring about hiking trails, the ranger told us we could only go about 3 miles up the trail before it was roped off.  “After that, it’s icy and you die,” he told us in no uncertain terms.  The Going-to-the-Sun road was also blocked off about 12 miles up the pass, for the same icy reasons, so we were limited to lower altitudes.

It didn’t even matter.  Glacier was breathtaking. We spent the vast majority of the day(s) just walking, eyes and mouths wide open at the beauty of the land; the shocking, blue clarity of the water; the animals with no fear of humans; the colors of the rock; the vivid masses flowers everywhere; and the peace.

We took it easy, given my intermittent (minor, don’t worry) altitude-related nose bleeds and the fact that Hippie took a nasty tumble on a wet trail early on and twisted his ankle, but we still averaged 4+ miles of mountain hiking a day.

The nights were cooler than either of us really wanted, but warm, sunny days made the chill evenings bearable.  So did the masses of tiny, sweet, wild strawberries growing everywhere, and tons of wildlife.

Oh, and BEARS!!!!  We saw at least 7 in the 4 days were were in Glacier.  Two grizzlies, a pair of fussy black bears, and a mama black with three wee, fuzzy cubs.  I wanted to squeeze them all… but I also like living and kept my distance!

 

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