Montana Dreaming

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So Shayne and I just spent a wonderful week in Glacier National Park with my family (sidenote: I LOVE VACATION). We drove out on a Saturday, and came back the following Sunday. The days in between were jam-packed with hiking, soaking up the sun, thrifting, drinking, and laughter. The weather was incredible, and my cousins had really done their homework, so we went on some absolutely beautiful hikes. I 100% recommend that you visit Glacier sometime in the next 10 years before the glaciers disappear. And then I recommend that you hike the Highline Trail up to Granite Park Chalet, then down the Loop Trail (about 12 miles total). It was singlehandedly the most incredible hike I have ever done in my life.

You start out basically scaling a cliff (don’t worry, there’s a wire you can white-knuckle grip). You ford a bunch of cliffside waterfalls. You see marmots, everywhere, and beautiful wildflowers, and bighorn sheep. You have these amazing, amazing views the whole time, all  miles up to the historic chalet, which proved to be a beautiful spot to eat lunch. I have never seen such incredible views. Shayne and I did this with my two cousins, my dad, my uncle, and my outdoorsy aunt (the moms stayed home), and we all had a fantastic time, and were so proud of ourselves for finishing. The “kids” took the shuttle from the end of the trail down to the lake, bought a six-pack of Big Sky Summer Honey ale, and waded in glacial waters while waiting for our family to come pick us up. It was a fantastic day, and we all slept like babies afterwards.

This hike made me remember how much I love nature. I have a tendency to whine and complain when I start sweating (I know, I know, this makes me sound like a complete ass), but honestly, this trail was such a natural high that nothing could have gotten me down (though the second half of the hike was through a burned out forest and was a tad less picturesque).  The whole trip rekindled my love of the National Park system, places I’ve been visiting my entire life but probably started taking for granted in my cranky teenage years. I’ve vowed to get more hiking in locally while the weather remains decent, because there’s a bunch of hikes near the Portland metro area that I’ve been too lazy to get to. Plus it’s a damn good workout. My cousin was tracking our hikes with an iPhone app, and kept updating us with estimates of calorie burns. Shayne and I are both happy to be out in nature, so why haven’t we been doing it more often?

We spent the last night of our trip camping in the Apgar Campground near Lake McDonald, staring at the millions of stars through the roof of our tent. It wasn’t backcountry camping by any means, but it was amazing. I hope to do it again soon.

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