Glacier National Park - West side
We left Mt Rainier National Park and spent a night in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, on our way. The lake and river seem nice enough but we were just passing through. And the RV park was a bunch of close packed rigs, only good if you want to enjoy the river that was right there.
We arrived at the west side of Glacier National Park, and went to the visitor center. We inquired about shorter hikes and got lots of great information from the ranger to keep us occupied for the next 4 days. We had time to go to Avalance Lake area and walk the Trail of the Cedars, a level path through, well, a cedar forest (with a few other trees, of course). We stopped by Lake McDonald Lodge and agreed that if we weren't in our trailer and wanted to stay in a lodge, this would be it. Lake McDonald is a very large ice carved lake, like several others in the park.
We decided we wanted to go up the Going To The Sun Highway to Logan Pass, and were told that the parking lot was full by 8:50 am, so we decided to get up early and get on the road by 7 am so that we would be there close to 8 am. So we did, and there was plenty of room in the parking lot. We took a hike to Hidden Lake Overlook and had a nice view of the lake about 800 feet below us, after climbing 400 feet from the Visitor Center which wasn't open yet. The trail was crowded for so early. I can only imagine how it was later in the day. When we returned to the Visitor Center, the parking lot was full, so it filled some time between 8 and 11 am. There were many snow fields, some that came right to the trail but none over the trail. What can you expect for July 30?
We saw Colombian Ground Squirrels around the visitor center, and they reminded me of prairie dogs. They chirp really loudly! We also saw mountain goats and a ptarmigan with babies. The mountain goat had a radio collar. They are doing a study this year of their movements, and at the end of the summer, the collar will drop off automatically. This mountain goat had a kid following her but the kid didn't seem interested in getting photographed.
Since we headed straight up to Logan Pass without stopping, we decided to stop wherever we could and the spirit moved us on the way down. We did see Triple Arches which you can only see easily while going up. Coming down, we stopped at Big Bend to see the mountains and valleys and snow fields. We also saw the Weeping Wall but it wasn't "weeping" so much that we needed to close the car windows as we passed, which was good since it was in the high 70s.
We stopped to see Bird Woman Falls which cascades 492 feet according to the park brochure, and we believe it.
We wanted to stop at the Loop and at Oberlin Bend but the parking was full so we went on down. That took us back to Avalanche Creek where we hiked yesterday so we decided to take the hike to Rocky Point on Lake McDonald. The temperature was about 90 degrees but we went anyway. We were glad we picked a shorter hike as it was HOT.
After all that, it was time for ice cream and beer.
We stayed on the west side at Glacier Campground in West Glacier, which we really like. It was not fancy or had large sites and could only take smaller rigs like ours as well as many tents and tent trailers. The sites are larger than usual in an RV park with trees and we were in the woods, like many national and state park campgrounds. We had only electric and water hookups, which was fine. We especially appreciated the electric as I sit typing in our air conditioned trailer as we wait for it to cool off enough to be more comfortable outside. We have good Verizon 4G coverage and they say they have WiFi at the park office. Maybe I will try it tonight.
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Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.