Glacier National Park
Aug 31, 2011
|The weather forecast called for sunshine so what better way to spend three days than in Glacier National Park for my first view of the Rockies and the Continental Divide?!
Glacier encompasses a huge area with multiple entrances and thick guide books devoted just to the park, so at first I felt a little overwhelmed trying to plan my stay. It didn't take me long, though, to remember how much I love being in the mountains and, in particular, how much I love hiking in the mountains. So in the end, hiking is what I did.
The park is bisected by the Going to the Sun Road which runs for 52 miles west to east and climbs up and over the Continental Divide. As you can imagine the scenery is rather spectacular but I didn't want to see it from the car so I didn't even drive the entire length of the road until my third day.
On Monday I did an all day hike and on Tuesday I did a half day hike in the afternoon (my legs were a little rubbery Tuesday morning). The weather cooperated and I saw both a big horn sheep and a mountain goat. I have to say that a mountain goat is a lot bigger in real life than I imagined. I wish I could have gotten better pictures of both but wildlife doesn't always want to cooperate. It makes you wonder how much footage ends up on the editing floor of a National Geographic special.
I had talked about doing some back country hiking but I decided to stick to marked trails since I was by myself and was a little concerned about bears--particularly since it's turning into fall and they are foraging more for their winter bulk. In fact several trails were closed to hiking because of bear activity and I did see bear sign on one trail.
I still had quiet time on the trails but at least I would regularly encounter other hikers which made me feel a little safer while still not feeling like I was in some bad tourist trap.
Winter is fast approaching in the mountains. It was supposed to get in the 30's tonight and the last two nights it was in the 40's. The park runs a shuttle along Going to the Sun Road but that shuts down for the season this Friday and the road will be closed by October. Considering that it didn't open until June 17th this year, it makes for an awful short summer in this part of the world.
In recent postings I haven't had anything unusual to report. This time I do.
Most unusual experience in Glacier---one night some medium-sized creature, probably a raccoon, brushed up alongside the entire length of my tent while I was sleeping and brushed against me much like a dog while I was lying there. Those of you who know my feeling on close encounters with opossum, etc. (Ron, Kurt F.) know that normally such a thing would totally creep me out but for some reason this time I was just annoyed. Probably because it woke me up I wasn't really scared but just started griping at it to leave me alone. At least it wasn't a bear!
I don't seem to have much luck in tents, do I ?