Purple Mountains Majesty and Soggy Shoes

Trip Start Jun 25, 2010
Trip End Jul 25, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Today, we are en route from West Glacier, Montana to Olympia, Washington, a distance of about 600 miles - a major "Go Day".  Montana is a VERY big and beautiful state. The scenery at Glacier National Park is different from anywhere else.  It is so beautiful!  This is Chuck's favorite park.   The mountains are very rugged and carved out by the glacial activity.  You really do feel like you're in Middle Earth with the hobbits (Lord of the Rings) - very small.  There are lots of waterfalls from the snow melt.  They get up to 60 feet of snow each year!  It is truly breathtaking.

We saw a lot of wildlife here:  mountain goats, coyote, a black bear, bighorn sheep, and white-tail deer.

 Our trip from Yellowstone to Glacier wasn't too bad, about 8-9 hours.  We arrived in time to do some laundry (my first time in a laundromat) and sit down to a chicken dinner we'd been cooking in the crockpot and smelling as we drove for 8 hours (Sunday Roast Chicken from "Fix It and Forget It").  The sun doesn't set until about 10:30 pm, which was strange to get used to, but it worked in our favor.

We took a hike on the Fourth of July in Glacier National Park.  It was cold and rainy, hence the "soggy shoes" in the title of this blog entry.  However, it was very beautiful.  Our trail was called, "Avalanche Trail" and it also coincided with the "Trail of the Cedars", a handicapped accessible trail, for a while.  We walked past a beautiful rushing river.  The water here is crystal clear up close and a pretty turquoise green from a distance.  The rocks along the shore are a beautiful mix of green, pink and light yellow. You feel a little like you're in Oz except that the remainder of the trail is very muddy, so I began to feel more like I was with Frodo, Sam and Aragorn on their long trek in Middle Earth.  The scent of the pine trees is just heavenly.  It reminds me so much of the little air freshener pillow I have in my car from Acadia National Park in Maine.

After our hike, Jeff and his family cleaned up and went out to the little town of Whitefish, MT to see fireworks but Chuck, Sue and the kids and I were very tired (and, truthfully, I was cranky from the mud and cold rain) so we went to bed after hot showers and hotdogs (not gourmet, but very American for the 4th).

 The next day was mostly cloudy and still rather cold.  Since it wasn't raining, however, I decided to join the group for a horseback ride through the park.  I've only ridden a horse a few times.  The first time, I was in elementary school with my friend, Mary.  She was more experienced and wanted a horse with some pep.  I wanted a very calm old nag since I was very unsure of these big creatures.  Well, we looked a lot alike and, do I need to continue?  Yes, they got us mixed up.  So I got the bigger, peppy horse and she got the old nag.  But I was too scared to get off.  I survived, though.  My next episode with a horse was when Chuck and I went away for a weekend in Western Maryland.  I think we rode for an hour and my bottom was sore for a week.

 Well, we started off with the horses.  Mine was named Buck.  Not sure how I felt about that name, but I was happy to be placed between Chuck and Jeff with a wrangler behind to be sure no one got off course or fell off.  The trail was really muddy.  I kept apologizing to Buck for making him get his hooves dirty in all the mud.  I whined about it the day before, so surely he wasn't too happy about it.  But I thought I'd talk nicely to him anyway to keep him in a happy mood.  All was going well...and then the sky started to drip.  I said I'd go horseback riding as long as it didn't rain.  Okay, a little drip isn't too bad, keep a good attitude, Patty.  After a little while though, the heavens opened up and it thundered a little and absolutely poured. Soggy shoes again. 

It was still fun, though, and we got to see some deer at close range and a coyote very close to the trail eating something dead.  That doesn't seem too appetizing, but it was really cool.  They are beautiful animals.

 We ate out that night in the little town of Columbia Falls, MT at Three Forks Grille.  Slow service, but the food was just delicious.  Their gnocci was fabulous and my steak was really good.  Rebecca's tiramisu was tremendous.

 Yesterday was our last day at Glacier and the best weather day of all.  We drove on the Going to the Sun road from West Glacier to St. Mary's Lake in East Glacier, taking photos and holding our breath (well, I was) the entire time.  They are currently doing construction on the roadway, which is very precarious (both the roadway and the construction, actually).  It is Glacier's 100th birthday as a national park so I guess they're sprucing it up.

 We kayaked on St. Mary's Lake, but the wind was very strong at that point in the day and still cold.  So, we spent a little time on the lake but not as much as we would have liked.  Soggy shoes again, but that comes with the territory with kayaking.  Again, the water is so clear and blue-green.  It is so lovely.

A humble, quick dinner of sloppy joes last night and a program by a wildlife photographer at the campground before bed ended our Glacier stay with a smile.

Grace and Peace,

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cathy on

Thanks for the chuckle, Patty, from the horse story. It sounds like you all did some fun fun stuff.... what wonderful memories you made!

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