Glacier National Park

April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance” -LeAnn Womack “I Hope You Dance”

My family has always taken roadtrips. There is something great about not having definite plans. Just the general time we want to be at our ultimate destination. But the freedom of the road brings the opportunity for a scenic drive or a little extra time in some nice location along the way. The year before I went to college, my family took the roadtrip idea to an extreme.

View from a Glacier. Halfway through the 12 mile hike.

Camper attached to the truck. Loaded with our stuff. 5 people in the truck that only sat 5 people. Cozy. We planned for about 2 weeks on the road. First destination: Glacier National Park. The park is situated on the Montana border of US and Canada. Starting from South Texas, meant this was quite the drive. One road through the park is “Going to the Sun Road.” Our truck was almost too long to make the switchbacks. But the views were amazing. The park wasn’t over-crowded. There were great hikes, both long and short. And the wildlife viewing was excellent. There is a natural salt lick that draws mountain goats and bighorn sheep. As much time as my family had spent going to the mountains while I was growing up, I’d never seen either of these two animals.

Waterfall along Going to the Sun Road

The snow run off meant that along with summer came lots of waterfalls. Have I mentioned that I love waterfalls?

Bighorn Sheep we saw on a hike

For further “entertainment” (read: often our only entertainment), my brother would try to annoy my sister and I but just talking and making noises incessantly. So my sister and I decided to hit him the second he made a noise. Which he thought was funny. So he kept trying to annoy us. Road trips are fun right?? Right?

Young Mountain Goat

My mom, in all of her hiking glory, drug us on a 12 mile hike. The altitude changed so much on the hike that we were wearing short and t-shirts when we started (and we were still hot), and we ended up at a glacier. So, it was a steep 6 miles up. And we got a late start, so we had to walk pretty quickly to finish before dark. And when I say “walk pretty fast” I mean walk faster than my mom’s average. She power walks everyday. Her walk is so fast I often have to job to keep up. At the end of this one, people were stopping me to tell my my feet were bleeding. Yeah, I noticed. Thanks, mom.

Also, there had just been a brown bear sighted in the area, so my sister was freaking out a little and kept singing loudly to scare away the bear. Pleasant trip, huh?

Glacier we were hiking to in the distance

The great thing about the camper was that we could just park in a Wal-Mart parking lot along the way, wake up the next morning, and get driving again if we needed to. Despite a few tire blow outs, resulting in road side “picnics” and excessive family time, and impromptu adventures. After leaving Glacier, we headed north to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada.

There is nothing like the Canadian Rockies

We took this truck onto a glacier in Canada. (I was going through a flip flop phase.)

And we made a little trip to Lake Louise. Which was beautiful. People were out kayaking in the lake. We didn’t get to stay long, but I’d like to go back and take it in for a little longer. Really, I wouldn’t mind another trip to the Canadian Rockies altogether. Its cliche, but they really are majestic, awe-inspiring.

Mom and kids at Lake Louise

Some elk on the way to Canada

And, true to form, my mom made us go through Yellowstone on our way home. We were too close for her to avoid begging my dad to stop. So, we swung through the park for a little hike to Lonestar Geyser, a stop of at Old Faithful, lunch at Old Faithful Inn, and a stop off at both the Gas Station my Grandpa once worked at and the grocery store where my mom worked.

And finally, a little stop in Cody, Wyoming and the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum before we made the trip back to Texas.

Grizzly and her cub.

Buffalo cow and calf.

I think road trips like this are what made my family as close as we are. We were not only forced to spend time together, but whether we had fun was up to us and how well we got along with each other. For 2 weeks, we had to be each other’s best friends. Its really no wonder that it continued when we got home.

**Excuse the awkward pics. I was 18. And even more awkward than I am now…if that’s possible. But, I had to go back a few years for my first Travel Tuesday post!


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