I’m back from Montana!!! Lots of exciting things to tell you so let’s get started. I thought I’d write this post as a Q&A session, with me asking the burning questions you want the answers to (and some you don’t). If you have other questions, feel free to ask in the comments.
Did you complete the 10 mile hike?
In a word, yes and no. We did not complete the 10-mile hike to Iceberg Lake that we intended to do. We got turned around about a mile away from Iceberg Lake. What turned us around you ask? A grizzly sow with her cubs ambling down the trail toward us!!!! Here is a very blurry photo that I managed to snap before turning and departing in quite a hurry.
Let me tell you, it was an amazing and wondrous sight!!! I saw her and her cubs quite clearly but didn’t have time to take a good photo as my brother had us booking out of there.
We ended up going to another section of the park and did more hiking up a rather steep snow hill. In the end, my brother estimated that we did about 10 miles of hiking on that day … just not the 10-mile route to Iceberg Lake we had planned.
(For the record, I was totally OK and could have done the whole hike with no problem. Boo-yah!)
Wow! Scary but amazing! Did you see any other wildlife while you were there?
Why yes we did! Here are some photos of what we saw.
On walks around town, we saw an owl, pelicans and a snake. On the drive up to Glacier, we saw some sandhill cranes. (No photos though.)
Can you show us some photos of Glacier? It looks like a beautiful place.
Glacier is stunningly beautiful. I encourage everyone to visit at one point in their lives. Even with my cheap point-and-shoot camera, I managed to snap photos like this.
Did you get Indian names while you were there?
Why yes! The Little One earned the name “Bear Kills Bladder.” This name came about when he managed to pee no less than 14 times on the first part of the hike. (Turns out he had emptied his .5 liter Camelbak in about 1.5 miles but still … it was NUTS!) Then we saw the grizzly bear on the trail and he was able to hike for 1.5 hours without a single pee stop. Amazing what a little motivation like “possible bear mauling” can do to kill your bladder!!!
The Little One’s other Indian name is “Eyes Like Stone” due to his inability to see almost all wildlife unless it was right in front of him. He missed the first set of grizzlies and the big horn sheep (which seems believable until you hear that they started running down the snow right in front of us as we drove out of the parking lot). He also missed the owl. However, he did manage to see the deer that was 5 feet from us and the grizzly cub that was right next to the car.
My Indian name was “Makes Many Glacier” due to my cranking up the air conditioning in the second hotel room and making it very very cold. (So cold that my brother slept in his -30 degree sleeping bag.) In my defense, it was 94 degrees while we were in Glacier and we didn’t have ANY air conditioning in the first hotel so I had to compensate.
Did you get a sense of closure with your Dad’s death?
Although we didn’t make it to Iceberg Lake, just being in Glacier and seeing the place that my dad loved more than any other place on earth was comforting. I felt that he truly died doing what he loved and in a place that does feel like heaven on earth.
An added bonus was being able to read the letters that my mom wrote to my dad when she was a Navy wife stationed in Japan. (My brother found them tucked away in the basement.) It was amazing to gain insight into my parent’s early marriage, hear about her life with me as a toddler, and learn about the deep sense of love between my parents. Getting to know my mom in this way gave me a feeling of closeness to her that I’ve needed since her death in December.
All in all, it was a very healing visit, although staying in their house (which is now my brother’s house) did make me feel their loss all the more. It didn’t quite feel right that they were not there … although I sensed their presence everywhere.