A few weeks ago, we rounded up some friends from Montana and across the country and made our way to Glacier National Park. The group was a tad nervous, as the skies and forecast really seemed to want to put a damper on our fun time. But we were a stalwart bunch and couldn’t be deterred.
We grabbed our beanies, down jackets, rain gear and headed northeast to the community of East Glacier. Having grown up just two hours south of East Glacier, I spent quite a bit of time there during the summers when I was just a little blond bundle.
While I looked forward to staying at Glacier Park Lodge when I was younger, I think I look forward to it even more today. It reminds me of a simpler time…when my hair was always messy, my gap was even bigger (I managed to knock out my front teeth when I was younger) and summer vacation was greeted with open arms, excited anticipation and big plans.
Today, going to the lodge is much the same. I look forward to each visit with a touch of giddiness that remains with me, even as the years pass by.
During this visit, we were able to take a red bus tour with perhaps the cutest jammer driver of all time: Jammer Joe.
He chauffeured our group to St. Mary, Jackson Glacier Overlook and Two Medicine, regaling us with history of the park, tales of the past and his sweet voice as it crooned a few country songs.
After two days in East Glacier, we headed to our next destination on the west side of the park, the appropriately named community of West Glacier. We met up with a friend of mine, Ryan, at Glacier Outdoor Center and were given fly-fishing lessons for the next few hours. Two of the folks in my group landed fish…and while I didn’t catch a fish, I did land a tree.
After an evening in West Glacier and a morning hike with Glacier Guides, we rafted the Middle Fork of the Flathead River with Great Northern Whitewater Raft & Resort on waters that are best described as epic, fun and offering a kick-in-the-pants good time.
From there, we drove the short 30 minutes to Whitefish where we checked into The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. The next morning we headed up to Whitefish Mountain Resort for the 6-zip line tour. For our first zip, we were greeted with rain. And while it kept us company for the remainder of the morning, the zip line tour was an absolute delight!
Fog covered the mountain on a few of the lines…the longest coming in at 1,900′ and as zippers, you couldn’t see the landing platform until you were almost upon it after coming out of the fog. And to be honest, we didn’t mind the fog. It added to the excitement of each line and our determination to beat our zipping partner to the platform.
We ended back at the base lodge, where we dried off and relaxed after our adrenaline, giggle, race-filled morning.
After zipping, we headed back to town where we split up, with some biking The Whitefish Trail and others taking advantage of a break in the clouds by paddling a canoe on Whitefish Lake. As this was the last day of our journey together, we headed to McGarry’s Roadhouse for a delicious dinner, followed by several helpings of dessert.
To my traveling partners, you were such a delight! If ever I have to spend five days in the pouring rain, complete with gray skies, I hope once again that trip will be taken with you.
Hope to see you in Montana again, soon. Until then, happy trails.
July 1, 2011