Sunday, September 16, 2018

Glacier Day 2

Mom really wants to live at Glacier. 
We woke up at six and peeked out the window. There was a beautiful golden sunset over the lake. About an hour later during breakfast, Mark spotted an otter swimming just out the window. We all rushed out and snapped a few pictures as it glided past on the water. 
The otter was swimming too fast for a great picture.
We had a long hike this morning, and we got started by about 7:45. We walked through the thick cedar forest and up to a lake called Avalanche Lake. The hike was long and fairly steep, but the boys told each other stories and we hardly even noticed the distance. 
This tree had tipped over and we thought the roots looked like spider webs.
The waterfalls here are extra beautiful with the blue glacier water.
Dax loves this pose! 
We actually got two family pictures on this hike!  
I think of all the hikes these boys have done, and I am amazed at them.
Seth loved walking along the river for the first half of this hike.
We watched this little chipmunk for a few minutes.
Mark is always our trail leader pushing us along.
When we arrived at the lake, it was in a massive bowl. There were dozens of small waterfalls flowing out of the glaciers into it. The water was an amazing bright green. We took off our shoes and dipped our toes in. It was like stepping in liquid ice, and our feet ached after only a few seconds in the water. On the way back to Apgar, we saw three beautiful bucks. Mark would also want it mentioned that we saw a varied thrush and a fox sparrow. We also saw a lot of chipmunks.
Avalanche Lake is spectacular. 
We were lucky enough to get another family picture. 
The boys froze their feet off in this lake. 
They couldn't stay in the water for more than a few seconds.
Mark is always excited when we spot new birds.
These are the moments that we will always treasure.
There were 3 beautiful bucks along the side of the road. 
Once we got to the Apgar area, we stopped in at the nature center. We listened to the ranger program so the boys could finish their junior rangers. They were thrilled because it was all about wolverines. That is the one animal they really wanted to to see while we were in Glacier. After the program, we had lunch in our room and the boys waded and threw rocks in the lake for a little while before we headed out on a new adventure.
We have the best Junior Rangers, but we still didn't spot a wolverine.
Mark is at home in the wilderness. He loved this lake and skipping rocks.
The boys couldn't be happier.
The idea was to go to Polebridge up the west side of the park and try out some huckleberry donuts. The road was rocky, but not really bad. Still, after about 20 of the 25 miles, Mom said, “What’s that noise?” just as Dad noticed the tire pressure light. Sure enough we had a flat tire. There was no place to pull off, so we said a quick prayer that all the tools would work, the spare would be fine, and we could get the van back to a town before 5 pm when all the tire shops closed up Saturday night. As luck (or prayer) would have it, we got the tire replaced in Kalispell for only $17 and made it back to the hotel for dinner by 5:30. We ate leftover tacos and because we’d missed out on our donuts, we got huckleberry ice cream cones.
We ventured into this meadow at one of the rest stops.
We saw a beautiful swallowtail.
At least the spare went on easily.
The boys were good sports and hung out in the shade while Dad changed the tire. 
While we waited for the tire to get fixed, we walked through the pet store. 
We also walked through Cabelas.
This was not an adventure we had planned, but we tried to stay positive and make the best of it.
Ice cream makes everyone happy!
The huckleberry ice cream was delicious.
Mom was glad she could enjoy her ice cream in such a beautiful place.
Finally, we started our last adventure, a hike to Rocky Point on the other side of Lake McDonald. It was a really nice, mosquito-infested hike that allowed us to look back across the lake at our cabin. We saw a few tanagers, but not much else. Still, the hike was up and down through the trees and along the lake. It was a really nice day, but it was especially nice to get that flat tire out of the way!
The water was a beautiful blue green while we hiked next to it. 
We spotted this Cedar Waxwing.  
Dad's favorite bird is the Western Tanager. 
We could look across the lake and see our hotel.
These boys are so much fun to travel with. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Glacier Day 1

We left in the early afternoon to get to Idaho Falls. We were so rushed because we’d only been home from Bear Lake for two days, and we had Mark’s birthday, the Fourth of July barbecue, and the Webbs staying at our house. But we pulled it all together and arrived in Idaho Falls at about 6 pm. Stephanie spoiled our kids (and us) with an Idaho Falls Chuckers baseball game, and we were a little early, so we stopped by the river. The boys were excited to see a squirrel, an osprey, and especially a massive crawfish. Two of those three were on their Glacier Bingo Sheet. 
The Osprey nest was super cool, AND there were babies!
This crawfish was a great sighting.
The baseball game was really fun, and we made it through eight and a third innings, but it was getting late and the Chuckers were down 7-0. We went to Steph’s house and crashed for a too-short night. Dad had us up at six and on the road by 6:30. Dax insisted on taking a shower because Dad had said, “You can sleep in the van,” and he thought we were spending the night sleeping in our vehicle.
We are always up for a baseball game!
It is especially fun to go with cousins. 
The boys and Abby and Ray got to say ,"Play Ball," to start the game!
The brunette girls at this game. 
It was a really long drive to Glacier, and the only real stop was for lunch at a little place called the Stray Bullet in Ovando. It was a quaint, expensive restaurant that served breakfast or sandwiches. We did arrive at the park around three o’clock, so we’d made pretty good time. 
The restaurant was good, and everything was made to order. 
Dad has been wanting to come to Glacier for a LONG time, so we were so happy to finally be there!
We checked into our room, and it was absolutely gorgeous. We stayed on the south end of Lake McDonald in the Apgar Village Inn. Mom splurged for the expensive room because it has a kitchen, but it also had a front door to the parking lot and a back door to the lake. We could sit on our back porch and see the craggy mountains rising above the crystal blue water. There was even a massive picture window so we had the same view from the bed.
This was definitely the best room we ever stayed in. 
The lake was 10 steps away! 
Dax kept finding beautiful rocks.
Look how clear that water is? It is an amazing place!
We put our kids in yesterday’s shorts because we hadn’t packed swimsuits and walked the 20 feet down to the water’s edge. It was cold, but not numbingly so, and we waded and threw rocks for about an hour. 

Then we decided it was time for a hike. We drove up to the north end of the lake and did Johns Lake Loop. We didn’t seen a lot of animals, but we did manage a mule deer, a yellow-rumped warbler, and a chipmunk along the way. Dad was carrying the bear spray in his pocket just in case. Seth asked, “Hey, Dad, when are we going to put that bear spray on? Won’t it be too late when a bear actually comes?” He must have thought it was like mosquito spray!
Johns Lake was a beautiful little pond with lily pads all over it.
Mom and Dad snuck a picture.
Mom and Dax love hiking together. 
This deer used the bridge to cross the river just like we did!
We hiked along the river that empties into Lake McDonald. 
After the hike, we went back and Mom made tacos for dinner. By then it was getting late, but we drove up the road for awhile hoping to see something. We made it all the way to what they call The Loop, but it seems that the animals are on the east side of the mountains, just like at Yellowstone. 
This is called Heaven's Peak because it reaches toward Heaven. 
The boys loved walking along the rocks back to the car.
Someone offered to take a family photo for us!
We got back to our room late, and after showers, teeth, and scriptures, it was even later. But the lake is beautiful, and the sun was out late, too. Even though it was a lot of driving, we had a nice day.
We seriously LOVE where we stayed.  
The sunset was beautiful as we got ready to go to bed after a long first day in Glacier. 

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