We finally arrived at Glacier National Park in the middle of a storm. Barely making it before sunset, we happily enjoyed intensely beautiful heat lightning as the park’s mountains and glaciers came into view. Most of David’s paternal side of the family would also arrive at our two rental houses on Duck Lake, 20 minutes northeast of the park, over the next few days. Since we traveled with 16 others, two rental homes were the perfect home away from home. Much cozier than a hotel and much cheaper.
Our first morning, we woke to a full rainbow stretching across the park. Taking that as our cue, we set out early to find the treasure that awaited.
It didn’t take long to figure out that the entire park is a gorgeous treasure. Waterfalls hide around every corner, majestic lakes and rivers flow between towering mountains, thousands of species of wildflowers stretch toward the sun, and a bevy of unique creatures call this amazing place their home. Each day revealed another breathtaking natural discovery. We could have stayed for weeks, months, years without seeing everything. Looks like we’ll have to return to keep exploring. I don’t think David will take much convincing. I mean, c’mon. Just look at these pictures.
On our first day, we chose to take the iconic Going to the Sun Road through the center of the park. The winding road lead us up, down, through tunnels, over bridges, and around tight corners on skinny roads that no crash victim would survive. Straight to the top, we started the day at Logan Pass where, for the first time, I stood in a July snowstorm. As the clouds rolled over the mountains, I squinted through snow-covered glasses to see the far reaches of the glaciers as cold winds whipped through the mountains burning my nose and ears. Definitely not what I was expecting but brilliant nonetheless.
Stopping at each pullover spot to see as much as we could, we took in every beautiful nook and cranny of the narrow road. Here is a shot of just how curvy it is. Make sure you bring a trusty driver and a decent car to this park.
During this day in the park, we explored the Weeping Wall, Trail of the Cedars, Avalanche Creek, McDonald Falls, and Lake McDonald Lodge with David’s aunt and uncle.
After a great day of hiking and exploring, we enjoyed cups of hot cocoa on the porch of the Lake McDonald Lodge. Sinking into a big comfy rocking chair was the best way to end the cold, cloudy day.
The next morning, we decided to explore the park on the other side of the order border. So we set out early for the Port of Entry and, eventually, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. As expected the mountains are just as gorgeous from the other side.
Our trip through the Canadian mountains first brought us to the famous Prince Wales Hotel overlooking Waterton Lake. When we arrived we were greeted by wind that could knock over a 400 lb man. I’m not sure if that is typical weather or not so plan accordingly if you’re making a longer trip to this part of the country.
Due to the weather, we chose to piddle around the quaint town of Waterton for the afternoon rather than hitting the trails. I would have preferred to hike but the news reported beautiful weather for the next 2 days so we decided this would be a nice chance to rest our legs a bit. Happy to take it slow, we wandered through the town window shopping and gazing at the fantastic views before hitting the road back to the good ‘ole U.S. of A.