Experiencing driving through Glacier National Park in the early morning is a peaceful and gratifying feeling. The drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is an experience of its own. With a clear sky (finally), I can see the endless beauty for miles and miles and I hear myself mumbling, 'Oh my God, this is amazing! Oh my God, this is so beautiful!' If you ask me to describe Glacier National Park in a few words, I would say it is a place where you can experience nature on steroids.
By seven-thirty, I arrive at the Avalanche Lake parking lot. I park and relax while making my breakfast and a sandwich for lunch. The hike to Avalanche Lake is a lovely path in the woods until you reach the lake, when my view is wide open to Avalanche Lake and its surrounding mountains. I wish I knew one crucial detail about this lake - you want to visit before the sun shines its light on the mountain where the two giant waterfalls call home. The bright light from the sun makes it hard to get a clear view of this side of the lake, but all you need to do is close your eyes and listen to their humming sounds to realize how big they are. I continued my hike to try and get closer to them, but the trail ended at the other end of the lake. I am so glad I kept going. Seeing the lake from underneath the waterfall; not only hearing their sounds louder, but the lake from that angle is stunning.
I am heading back to the park's east side to Logan Pass Visitor Center. With much patience, I am finally able to get a parking spot. I am hiking to Hidden Lake. Here is another time in my life that I want to capture forever! The hike to Hidden Lake is beyond stunning. I even found the perfect spot to build my little cabin if the national park would let me. :)
Most people stop at the viewpoint, but I continue further down the path to get the silence I love in nature. I sit on a rock to take it all in in slow motion when I spot a Mountain Goat climbing the sheer rock above me.
Well, it is obvious I still need to learn how to slow down. Between the two hikes, I already have twelve miles under my feet. Anyway, it is time to return to the campground and take care of everyday chores, such as laundry and adding more ice to my cooler.
I love my early starts to the day! Today, I plan only half a day in Glacier. I am heading back to Canada for an overnight. Hurray!
Remember the magical time I had in Joshua Tree National Park with Sandra, Susan, Carrie, and Lori? Well, it turns out Carrie and I missed each other on Monday when I left Canada and she entered. Her first stop is Waterton Lake NP. Since I travel small and don't have a dog to cross a border, it makes sense for me to get to her. We are camping at the first campground right after the border crossing at Belly River campground.
For now, it is time to get breakfast going. I park at the Sun Point parking lot, where to my wonderful surprise, there are picnic tables around. My campground is very basic, which is okay, but it is missing the feel of nature that I love so much when I camp. Having breakfast as the day breaks and being a witness to the play of the clouds, the sun's ray and the glacier high at the peak of the mountain is a pristine gift.
My hike starts from the parking lot. I am hiking to Baring, St. Mary, and Virginia Falls via Piegan Pass Trail. The first is Baring Falls, a medium-sized waterfall falling into a tiny pool and quickly becoming a stream. Even though it is still early morning, the day is already too hot for me, but Baring Falls provides a wonderful chill to the air.
I love the surprises nature gives me. As I approach St. Mary Falls, I only see one small part of it; with one more step forward, I get the whole view of the double waterfall and love its beauty.
The hike from St. Mary Falls to Virginia Falls is along Virginia Creek. I love hiking along the water flowing beside me. The path now is under the trees providing welcome cover from the blasting sun.
My goodness, Virginia Falls is exquisite. There are three levels of views. Of course, I go for all three, and each one provides a different feel and look. I love it when I get to the highest point, getting a close wet feel for its glory. It's like one main drop expanding to many veins along the wall, like a mother feeds her children. Truly an incredible waterfall.
On my way back, I stopped again at St. Mary Falls to take a break. I open a protein bar, and a chipmunk quickly circles around me. "Sorry, dude, I am not going to feed you. That's not good for you. I care for you too much." He ignored our conversation and climbed on my pants right up my thigh, looking directly into my eyes. I wish I had my camera out! That was a funny moment.
Hi Canada, I am back! It is so good to see Carrie and Taj. We have so much catching up to do. I hope to cross paths with Carrie again as we travel and live our nomadic lives.