It’s hard to imagine that somewhere 1500 miles away feels like home to us, but Glacier is one of those places. After finishing a portion of 1, 2, or 3 nighters all across the Northwest (and one very hot night in the Kalispell Walmart parking lot), setting up camp in West Glacier was a welcome treat. The familiarity is so comforting to us. While in Kalispell, we made a quick trip into Costco to restock before hitting the park for the next week and a half. I had always wanted a stand up paddle board, and being on all the lakes of Glacier seemed like the perfect time to get it. We hurried over to our new site at Fish Creek Campground and headed up to one of our favorite spots, Bowman Lake. We had made a mental note to return with boats next time, and did just that. The double kayak and paddle board opened up so many new opportunities and we all had a blast!
The drive back to Fish Creek is tough with the one lane dirt road, but we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset.
Back at camp, the new paddle board box provided days worth of entertainment of course.
Lake McDonald is another great spot to paddle, and we were fortunate that our campground was right on the water for easy access.
We wasted no time getting out on the trails, and our second day was spent hiking the Highline with the whole Hoffpack for the first time ever. I couldn’t wait for the girls and Chuck to experience one of my all-time favorite trails.
The sky was clear and everyone was moving along so quickly that we couldn’t resist going up the Grinnell Glacier Overlook Trail. Tackling that extends this trail to a full 16 mile day! It was pretty impressive… even though the trail is very steep, the kids seemed to fly by other hikers like goats to their dismay (with only a couple stops for water). It was safe to say we reached a new level!
On one of our stops, we were lucky enough to get some one on one time with this baby grouse.
The top was as clear as I’d ever seen it, and I think they were even more impressed than I was. Here’s a great shot of Braden and Laney sharing a moment on top, looking out over the top of the world. How your children see the world depends on what you show them.
We loved that they got up here and didn’t want to come back down. The kids got lots of compliments from fellow hikers, which made it all that much more fun.
When we finally did head down, we ran into some big horn sheep grazing below.
The Granite Peak Chalet is one of those magical places in the middle of nowhere, and I have always vowed to stay here. For now, we were able to make a quick lunch stop. It’s so important to act out those dreams before they become an impossibility… the Sperry Chalet burnt down shortly after we left the park this summer sadly 🙁
The way down from the chalet is pretty spectacular,
but as you head down the loop trail, it gets hotter and hotter, and much of the forest is covered in mule poop and burnt down trees. Despite how scenic some of these pictures may look, our feet were sore, and our legs were covered in dusty dirt and poop at this point, and we continued on as quickly as we could.
The kids couldn’t resist making a huckleberry picking stop of course.
Finally, we made it to the bridge signaling the end of the trail.
We had to wait for 3 buses to get down from the loop trailhead to Avalanche Lake. All of the buses from Logan Pass down to Avalanche Lake are the shorter variety due to the length restrictions, limiting passengers.
By the time we made it on to a shuttle to Apgar, the kids had been rejuvenated… unlike us 😉
We spent the rest of the day getting an oil change and Domino’s for dinner. They were pretty excited about getting their pizza, can you tell?
Three nights in Fish Creek was all we had time for this summer, so our last day was spent heading to Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake. That trail just gets more and more popular, and it felt like a super highway at times.
It never fails, there are always Chinese tourists who are magnetized to our girls, and this year was no exception.
The kids loved exploring a little corner of the lake where water bugs were playing amongst the drift wood below.
Of course we had to make a stop at Lake McDonald Lodge to play in the lake.
Chuck took the boys for a run down from Avalanche. Boy, that was a toasty run! We found out later that rangers had to rescue nearly a dozen people on the Highline Trail the week we were there due to heat exhaustion. Thankfully, we had enough water to keep us going.
Despite how cold this glacial water is, the kids seem to think nothing of it, and love playing in the lake. Once again, we can’t wait to return soon! (travel dates 7/24-7/27/17)