Saturday, September 7, 2013

Glacier National Park Trip, Days 1 & 2

Earlier this year, someone in my family came up with an interesting idea for a vacation. My parents and my brother and his wife would drive from their homes on the East Coast to meet us at Glacier National Park in Montana and we would spend time exploring the park together. None of us had ever been to Glacier and we all loved the idea. Planning and preparations began, and at the end of July... off we went!

Days one and two of our trip were our traveling days. We planned to go and visit some friends on the west side of Glacier and stay the night with them, then drive through the Park the next day and meet up with our family at the house we had rented for the week on the east side.

Packing the car the night before saved us a lot of time (and energy) in the morning. We were all up before the sun, and everyone was in good spirits as we loaded the last-minute things into the car. Cereal in baggies and cups of milk for breakfast on the go and we were off! Seeing the sun rise over the Wyoming desert is a special treat for those who get up early. :)

Soon we were in Montana. Our route took us through a large section of that state that I had never seen before. We went from desert to grassland to pine forests and snow-capped mountains. The changing scenery kept things interesting, and it was all so beautiful that the hours passed quickly. We made much better time than we expected to, and had to stop a lot less often than I thought we would. The kids were great travelers.

 More wildflowers!  This is Harebell.

Common Yarrow

We made it up to our friend's place by late afternoon, which was nice because we had more time to visit with them. We hadn't seen them for over three years but it seemed like we picked up right where we left off. Our kids are all pretty close to the same age, and they just hit it off right away which was great. Mountain Girl didn't exactly hit it off with their cat, but at least there were no claws involved. :) After supper we went out to a frozen yogurt place for a treat before bedtime. (Yum!) We also enjoyed the amazing view from the back porch before turning in for the night...

The next day was Sunday. Originally we had planned to say goodbye to our friends before they left for church so that we could go do our grocery shopping for the week before heading over to meet our fellow vacationers. We changed our plans a bit when our friends very generously offered to take our kids to church with them so that we could do the shopping... alone. (Which as every parent knows is. pure. bliss.) The kids had a great time at children's church with their new friends and we met up for lunch afterward before saying goodbye and driving off into the mountains.  (Thanks for the great time, J's! Hopefully it's not another three years until we see each other again!)

We elected to drive through Glacier rather than going around. Our GPS thought we were nuts. It kept trying to turn us around and get us to our destination by taking us on the much shorter southern route and bypassing the Park. We finally had to turn it off. Not like we needed it in the Park anyway, as there is only one road that goes the whole way through and that is Going-to-the-Sun Road. Glacier is simply beautiful. We stopped briefly a couple of times to snap some pictures, but mostly we just kept moving through. All of us – especially the kids – were anxious to see our family, and we knew we'd be back later in the week to check things out a little more closely.

Lake McDonald on the west side of the Park.

Glacier-fed stream.  The color of the water is simply amazing (and apparently hard for my camera to totally capture). 

Heading up Going-to-the-Sun Road. The views were beautiful. (More on what I thought of the road itself later...)

We arrived at the rental house just a short time before the rest of the family. It was so great to finally see everyone again! We spent the evening settling in and getting reacquainted before turning in for the night.  We'll see what tomorrow brings!

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