My favorite place in the world is Glacier National Park. I haven’t found anywhere like it in all of my world wide travels. The scenery, the history, the geology, the people, the wildlife – it is all my idea of perfection. There is a stillness that exists, especially in East Glacier where you can truly experience some of the best that Mother Nature has to offer.
Some basics for Glacier (GNP): Glacier is mostly in Montana but does have a portion of the park over the Canadian border. Bring your passports! GNP can be broken into West and East Glacier – the dividing line is Logan Pass and the main road that connects East and West is the Going to the Sun Road. Definitely spend a day traveling the road, discover all of the history and geology at the Logan Pass Visitors Center and then get off the beaten path to hike, fish, relax, boat around the lakes or take in one of the many side adventures that the park has to offer. My favorite when I am not pregnant and in shape is the hike to Iceberg Lake. Note that dogs aren’t allowed off the main roads so plan accordingly! I was 6 months pregnant this trip, so we didn’t get to do a lot of hiking. However, I really wanted to show my husband my favorite place so we traded our hiking poles for our camera and planned a more sedate trip.
We really only scratched the surface. There is SO MUCH to do and see here, but we also wanted to appreciate the time in the park and not rush from place to place, so we chose to focus on East Glacier and camped at St. Mary campground the first week of July.
Yeah – its really that pretty. No Photoshop needed. Here are some more:
It was fantastic – no cell service. No internet service. Just the three of us (myself, my
husband and our pup). The park is really well managed and very clean. Bear and other aggressive animal precautions are no joke here – so if you go, be bear aware. The East side of Glacier is a lot more sparse than the West side – but there was still at least a week’s worth of exploration. Just look at all of the cool stuff on the map! St. Mary Campground was fantastic – for a big busy tourist destination, it has relatively private sites, clean showers and is very well maintained. Located just inside the park gates, it was a perfect spot for us. It was pretty miraculous – we decided on this trip pretty last minute and ended up taking the only site that was left. We got really lucky – it was a fantastic spot!
We stopped at the boat dock on St. Mary Lake and had the good fortune to be the only ones on the boat tour that afternoon. The weather was pretty crappy (crazy amounts of wind and overcast), but we wanted to tour the lake anyway. The guide was amazing and gave us all of the inside scoop on the park politics, history of lake activities and his personal experiences running the boat tours. We highly recommend the Glacier Park Boat Company tours – especially the one at St. Mary – well worth the money!
Another big tip – plan to get up early. For one, you will beat the crowds on Going to the Sun Road and you will catch some of the most fantastic sunrises. One morning we made it to the top of Logans Pass just after sunrise. As we pulled into the parking lot, we were greeted by half a dozen big horned sheep. They kept a close eye on us as they went about their morning.
Lets talk food. This trip we celebrated Matt’s birthday. Instead of traditional cake, we decided to roast cake in oranges over the fire. All I can say is daaaaammmmnnnn – these were good. It was a nice dense cake that took on a delicious hint of orange. We used a cinnamon swirl cake box mix which was perfect.
What you need:
- Oranges (you can get 2x out of each orange, but the second time is less orangy)
- Prepared cake mix – we liked the cinnamon swirl flavor
- Tin Foil
- Stick to get orange in and out of fire
- Cut the orange in half and hollow out the fruit with a spoon. Retain shell, eat orange sections!
- Spoon cake into 1/2 of the orange and place the other half of the orange on top
- Wrap the orange in tin foil
- Put orange in fire (preferably on a nice set of coals) for about 10-15 minutes, rolling the orange about 2/3 of the way through.
- Carefully remove orange from fire, let cool and peel the aluminum foil back
- Enjoy delicious orangy cake!
This trip was the maiden voyage of Matt’s Pod Mod: the solar panel. I couldn’t believe the number of people who stopped by to check out our solar set-up. Matt will be posting his Pod Mod notes eventually. We were impressed by the solar panel and highly recommend investing in the solar equipment.
Now that we have our daughter (yay), I am no longer pregnant (double yay) and we are exiting the major sleep deprivation phase of infancy (knock on wood) we are starting to plan another trip. West Glacier is in our sights. My heart is always truly happy whenever I am in Glacier and I was so excited to share it with my husband for our last big trip before our family grew. More Glacier trips are in our future for sure – we can’t wait to share it with our daughter.
I am trying to get to Glacier within the next two weeks and this post has made me SO excited. Thanks for the tips and the beautiful photos!
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Thanks so much for the comment. I’m jealous that you get to go! Enjoy every minute!