This is a photograph of me taken in Glacier National Park about 22 years ago. I am holding a backpack containing my beloved crocheted stuffed Easter egg named George. George! The love of my life. Around the time this photo was taken, I went through a phase in which I would ostentatiously shove George to the opposite side of the bed each night, so that in case a burglar came into my room, he wouldn’t know how much I loved George, and would therefore not steal him. (Burglars are cold as ice.) Before I left on this trip, I really debated if it was better to let George sit in my storage unit or to risk losing him if my car was stolen along the way. I decided it was less dangerous to put him in storage. With me and George, it has always been safety first, affection second. But he knows I love him.
ANYWAY. A few days ago, I returned to these very stairs.
See, there they are! This boardwalk is located at Logan’s Pass in Glacier National Park, in the northwest corner of Montana. Logan’s Pass is essentially in the middle of the only road running through the whole park, the awesomely named Going to the Sun Road. A 20-mile stretch of that road closed for repairs just two days before my arrival, alas. So I drove about 17 miles in from the west side on one day, then drove back out and circumnavigated the whole park to enter from the east side the next day.
What a pain! But that’s just the peril of going to a national park on the off-season, I suppose. And, really, it just meant more driving time with view of beautiful scenery, so who can complain? The park still charged full price ($25 per car), and also a bunch of bathrooms were closed, and also part of the Trail of the Cedars was closed off due to unspecified “safety concerns,” and I got pulled over by a park ranger who was being hyper-vigilant because someone hit a bear with their car the day before I arrived. BUT OH WELL. It was still one of the highlights of my trip so far.
On the west side of the park, I did a 4-ish mile round-trip hike out to Avalanche Lake. There’s a bit of an elevation climb on the hike out to the lake, but in the scheme of things it was a fairly easy walk. The first stretch of it winds along Avalanche Gorge, which is gorge-ous (HAHAHA.) Then it breaks away and winds up through some supposedly bear-infested woods, until you reach Avalanche Lake, surrounded by tall mountains. I’m still not sick of tall mountains.
I stayed the night at a motel in East Glacier, where some extremely rowdy Montana teens on the street kept me awake between 1 and 3 AM. They yelled and screamed and whooped, and I felt really old because try as I might, I could not figure out if they were happy or angry. The important thing is, they didn’t break into my car, which I had foolishly parked in the street instead of the motel’s parking lot.
The next day, I drove up the west side of Going to the Sun, all the way to Logan’s Pass, where for the second time in my life, I went on the very popular hike to a spot overlooking Hidden Lake.
And Hidden Lake, too, was gorgeous. Along the way, I saw two bighorn sheep. I couldn’t help but overhear the man next to me shout to his tour group that PERHAPS ONLY 1 IN 30 ELDERHOSTEL TRIPS ARE PRIVY TO SUCH SPECTACULAR VIEWS OF BIGHORN SHEEP. Listen, I didn’t say the hike was difficult, ok?
And that was that. I left Glacier and drove to Conrad, MT, for the night. My one regret is that I didn’t say hello to the hipster couple with the New York license plate at Glacier, because I bet they were totally from Brooklyn! Ah, well, I’ll always have the sheep.
Oh, and I almost forgot! Here is a cute picture of my little sister, Alyce, on the same steps at Logan’s Pass. She is accompanied by Fluffy, a polar bear who is George’s best friend.