Travel | Glacier National Park

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Thanks for following along on our trip and hopefully we will not bore you too much with our “vacation photos” but rather inspiration for what incredible beauty lies beyond the computer screen. I cannot say it enough, but seriously this place was beautiful.  I will share a few excerpts from our travel journal authored by Ryan:

“After sleeping well in our new camp spot at Spague Creek, we awoke, grabbed a quick yogurt and started the drive from West Glacier to East Glacier along a road called “Going-to-the-Sun”. A single two-lane road snakes through Glacier NP and the scenery is breathtaking….There are no developments, no houses, only the one road.” 

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Ryan continues, “Rather quickly you come to understand the name  ‘Going-to-the-Sun’. The road contains a 180-degree hairpin turn which is carved out of the mountain rock and lifts you above the tall trees and exposes the valley’s vast beauty and tall peaks. There are ‘turn-outs’ every 1/2 mile or so and we used basically ALL of them to take pictures of the views – they were remarkable! We had a tough time getting to proper exposure because the peaks would cast large shadows across the valley, a stark contrast to the bright morning sky – we hope we got some good pictures.”
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The road had it all, many waterfalls, very tall peaks and even snow that hung on from the last winter. Our destination was Many Glacier lake which required that you leave the park and go north about 30 minutes to re-enter the national park. The road follows yet another lake and stream, along which we were fortunate enough to spot the first BEARS of the trip!

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A mother black bear and her two cubs were feeding on huckleberries on the opposite side of quickly moving 20ft wide river. The river gave a false sense of security, as we continued to snap away taking pictures. Ryan was soooo excited after seeing these guys and was continually on the look out for more of them, unlike me who was perfectly content admiring these creatures from a more protected position such as inside the car! I struggle because I love seeing all of the animals, such as bears, and could watch them for hours but I am SUCH a chicken and try to pretend to be brave despite my pounding heart and clenched hands. When all is said and done and I have returned back to the comfort of my bed, I am so happy about the adventures we did and animals we saw, but gosh it still doesn’t help calm my nerves!

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The east side of the park was more arid than the west and much more windy. We parked at the Many Glacier lodge and decided to begin the Swiftcurrent Lake Loop hike as the popular Iceburg Lake trail was closed due to bear activity.   Though it was a well traveled path with several other hikers, we were happy to have our bear spray and bear bell.

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Along the hike we saw this pristine lake and refreshing waterfall. I was thankful I had my polarizer filter for the camera and was able to slow my shutter speed just enough, despite the midday sun, to get the water to blur. I am no nature photographer, but I was pretty proud of this one!

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Um, seriously this place was filled with so many colors and textures. I imagine this is how the settlers saw it over 100 years ago and it awed them just as much as it has awed us.

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Can you see the road???? Yes, that horizontal line (on a slight upward diagonal) is the “Going-to-the-Sun” road. The road exists like this for about 25 minutes as you snake your way through the other side. This road makes the “scary” part of Highway 50 Tahoe seem like peanuts!

After a day out exploring the park, we returned back to camp and enjoyed one last sunset over the lake – this time opting out of the night time photo session. Photobucket

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This is how we ended our day, snuggled together admiring this beautiful site together excited for the new adventures that tomorrow would bring!

xoxo

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 37

Something I was really hoping to do while spending our time at Glacier National Park was to get a night time picture of one of the lakes. One evening, after cleaning up dinner, we headed down to the lake armed with a tripod, bear bell, flashlight, bear spray, and a remote for the camera. Since, we were deep in bear country we could never be to prepared and the bear bell and bear spray became part of the daily packing routine {yes, I am a HUGE chicken and would not let us go anywhere with out even though this may have been a bit over the top being that we were not back country camping or anything crazy like that}.

The shore line of the lake was pitch black, so Ryan was on bear watch while I fiddle with the camera and tripod. We took turns alternating between playing photographer and attending to the bear watch.  We spent about fifteen minutes down at the shore before deciding, we got what we needed now lets book it outta here and back to safety. {Safety for me consisted of our nylon, totally bear proof, impenetrable tent! HA!  Whatever, somehow it eased my mind. If I can’t see you, you can’t see me mentality}.

I love the reflection of the moon over the water and am so happy that I was able to “sack up” enough to get this picture and thankfully, no bears were seen this night!

xoxo

Lake MacDonald | Glacier National Park

After endless gas station stops, 22 hours in the car, stopping to help a rolled over Subaru, countless lane changes, and two McD’s meals, we had arrived Glacier National Park in Montana. We were so excited to see everything the park had to offer, the lakes, the mountains, the trees, the smell of fresh air, and the wildlife. 

We secured our campsite for the evening at Avalanche campground set up the tent and precede to smoke Ryan out with the fire! {j/k – but that picture does crack me up…i guess he learned a thing or two from ANTM and has been trained to hold his pose despite the heavy dose of smoke pluming his way}

We decided to explore Lake MacDonald via boat. Originally we planned to rent a canoe and enjoy a lunch picnic on the lake. Knowing that I would poop out after 15 minutes of rowing and exclaim that rowing is the dumbest thing ever thus subsequently relying on Ryan to row the remainder of the lake, I was secretly wishing for a canoe with a trolling motor.  I thought, gosh, they really need to invent such a thing as it would be the best of both worlds, we could enjoy the lake and I would not have to kill my arms for the next 120 minutes. Turns out they sort of make it in the form of a “Huck-Fin boat” as I call it.  My Dad has instructed me that it is called an outboard motor boat, or something like that, but I prefer “Huck-Fin boat”. Our Huck Fin boat had three things: a metal frame, a place to sit, and a motor. Hearing it had a motor was music to my ears and I was about to be one happy girl!

Yep, told you I was one happy girl! Now this is how you enjoy the lake!! Forget that sweaty rowing business! We left the dock and headed straight for the middle of the lake and set up our picnic while enjoying the completely glassy water.

One thing Ry and I like to do when on trips is keep a journal. This way we can document the little things such as grub & grog, campsite names, but also include the way we felt when first seeing such beautiful things such as Lake MacDonald or how it feels to listen to my version of Alabama’s “Roll On 18 Wheeler” fifteen times or my favorite new-to-me-song, DJ Khaled “All I Do Is Win”.

While Ryan spends the hours before dinner skipping rocks,

 I prefer to see the world upside down in the form of a handstand. After all, this is how my body was most comfortable for over half of my childhood!