Two years gone. Has it really been that long?
As will probably become clear from these next few posts, in many ways I’m a different person than I was when I took my last blog-worthy road trip a little over two years ago. Although, as I’m frequently reminded, my penchant for hokey sentimentality remains a constant, law school has sucked some of the tolerance for hopeless unbridled optimism and positivity out of me. I’m more inclined now to skip past nonsense and get to the point. I also spend more time doing and less time observing. What does all that mean for a relatively unknown travel blog with new entries coming at roughly the same frequency as new Sherlock episodes? I’m not sure yet. But let’s dive in already.
I come to you from the edge of Glacier National Park, where I’m spending my post-law-school-graduation / post-bar celebratory vacation with my mother and sister. Originally, this trip was going to be Glacier plus Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada, but it quickly became obvious that that wouldn’t work in our one-week window. So Jasper was out. Eventually, the majority opinion was to cut Banff too, but as I’ll discuss later this week, I was able to bring it back to the table. Sort of. The rest of the week is devoted to Glacier.
Today was about finding my footing – figuring out how this park and this trip work. From finding the best way to repack bags from TSA-preferred to actually-useful (fun fact: you can carry a full lighter and matches onto a plane, but not bear spray – which you can’t even check), to figuring out proper attire for a day that would include kayaking, uphill hiking, and temperatures anywhere between 50 and 75, to feeling out how much exertion was possible (or advisable) on the first day at altitude. Both the problem and the solution on all those fronts was Lake McDonald.
At over 10 miles long and, in places, over 500 feet deep, it’s the largest lake in the park. Crystal clear and surrounded by jagged mountain peaks, it played a key role in all of today’s adventures.
(the weather didn’t completely cooperate, but I’ll be trying again for a sunrise there tomorrow)
to a stop at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge and its apparently famous lobby…
Lake McDonald was the star of the show for most of the day. Except for the afternoon detour a bit further up Going-to-the-Sun Road to hike to Avalanche Lake – a tarn surrounded on three sides by the steep walls of a glacial cirque. Ephemeral waterfalls appear to trickle down the headwall, although their force is apparent from their roar, even across the lake.
Because I’m spending more time lately doing, today that means there hasn’t been time for reflection. I’ll save that for a quieter day. Which likely won’t be tomorrow - I have a sunrise to go chase in about 5 hours.