Saturday, September 5, 2015

Glacier 2015

I love Glacier.  It has become one of my happy places.  We live 2.5 hours from East Glacier.  Summer was passing us by without a visit to Glacier so during Matt's week off in August, we loaded up the car and went camping in Glacier National Park.

We knew there were a few fires in Glacier, but we decided to go for it and hope for the best.  Our first choice campground (Two Medicine) was full by the time we arrived around 11 am.  So we headed to our second choice - Cut Bank.  There were a couple spots left.  It was smoky, but we decided to stay.  The air cleared a little shortly after we set up camp. 

Cut Bank is a great campground.  It's shady, quiet, small, a little stream runs next to it, and there aren't any facilities.  Florida single me hated camping so it's funny to write that I prefer a campsite without facilities - i.e. no running water, no electricity, no showers, pit toilets - because that keeps out the RVs and the loud campers.  We were the loudest people there.  I seem to write that a lot.  My family is at a very loud stage.  Our kids are 6, 4, and 2.  Sometimes I wonder when they will find their "quiet voices."  But in the meantime, their little (loud) voices keep the bears away.

When the air cleared we took a hike starting at the Cut Bank trailhead.  I think we hiked about a mile.  Even with the smoke, it was another gorgeous part of Glacier...

Willa and I found a wildflower and a leaf for every color of the rainbow.

We hung out at our campsite the rest of the evening.  We ate tinfoil dinners and s'mores.  I love tinfoil dinners.  So good!  Willa is in a stage that if it looks gross, it tastes gross.  She could barely eat her dinner.  The potatoes and meatballs and carrots and whatever else we put in them were too mixed up for her liking.  Everyone else gobbled theirs down.
Sometime in the middle of the night, Matt and I became very aware of the smell of smoke.  I remember being too tired to look out the tent to see if something was on fire.  I figured the winds had changed and the smoke was blowing in our direction again.  When we finally emerged from our tent when the sun came up, we discovered the winds had definitely shifted.  It was super smoky and there was ash on everything.
We left our campground to escape the smoke and spent the day in the Two Medicine part of the park.  We were rewarded with clear, blue skies.  Matt did a little fishing.  The kids and I hung out by Two Medicine Lake.

I loved it there.  I loved the water.  The rugged peaks.  The smell of pine trees.

My kids were the only people wearing bathing suits and playing in the water.  The air was warm - maybe 80 degrees.  But the lake was cold, cold, COLD.  My kids have become Montana kids.  Heat bothers them way more than cold does now.

After a few hours, the winds must have shifted again and we could see smoke starting to roll over the mountains.  It was actually kind of pretty.  We couldn't smell it.  It made for some interesting pictures.  We could tell it was coming from the direction of our campground, but we still took our time getting back.

We stopped to watch a herd of bighorn sheep...

And we did a little half mile hike to Running Eagle Falls.

As we were driving back to the campground, we drove a little ways out of the park and got some cell service.  We learned a new fire had started during the night.  We started to worry our campground would be closed.  Again though, it sure made for some cool pictures.  It was a strange feeling driving right into the smoke. 

Our campground wasn't closed, but it was SMOKY!  Here are some pictures taken around 3pm at our campground...

We decided to stay another night - right in the smoke - so we took naps and went about our day.  A ranger showed up around 5 or 6 and told us they were closing the campground.  Boo!  We understood why, but why did they wait until evening?  It was smoky all day.  It was too late to find another campsite so we just headed home.  It was still a great trip.  Glacier is just gorgeous!

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