About three years ago my family got together and decided we were going to make an effort to take a few days every summer and rendezvous at a location chosen by one of the five core members of our family. My mother chose the first year and we went to Montana, Flathead Lake to be exact. This summer, it was my dad’s turn, he chose Montana, Glacier National Park in particular. Creative, I know, but there’s nothing like Montana. We spent many a childhood summer nights at Glacier, mostly in Apgar or Fish Creek campgrounds, climbing through trails and trekking up the Going to the Sun highway. This time around we forged a new path and went to the east side of the park to East Glacier. My dad found a great lodge that we stayed in, close to the entrance of the park and easy access to the trails.
Our first hike was an ambitious path up Ptarmigan Tunnel. We went up over 5 miles and through the tunnel, then over to the other side checking out Elizabeth Lake and sky-scraping mountains. It was almost 12 miles round trip! The most exciting part came in the first 1/2 mile. Bear spray in tow, we started out on the trail and ran into a group abruptly stopped, they were spying on a small black bear rummaging through the bushes for food. It was no more than 20-30 feet off the trail and didn’t notice us. We kept our eye out for a mother bear the entire time but luckily didn’t encounter any other bears. After a few pictures we kept on trucking up the mountain, towards the tunnel.
The huckleberry ice cream sure tasted good at the bottom! Huckleberries are an amazing summertime treat in Montana, we even managed to find a patch on our drive home, between four of us we picked over 7 cups in less than 30 minutes, jackpot! We also ran into a traffic jam on our way out of the park, people were gathered on both sides of the road with binoculars and cameras out taking pictures of a giant grizzly bear on the mountain side. It was far away enough not to be threatening, but close enough to see how giant the bear would have been up close. Two bears in two days, Glacier treated us well!
Next summer, it’s my brother’s turn to choose… we’re going to Montana.