Glacier NTL Park Montage Video

Hello,

Below is our Wednesday video.  Just a short montage video of a few hikes we did in the park this summer.

On another note.  We are so grateful for the kingpin stabilizer as well as our slide out stabilizers! We are currently staying just outside Amarillo and have extended our stay a day to let the wind advisories lapse later this evening.   This morning it is blowing at a steady 30 MPH or greater with gusts over 50 MPH expected… Happening now.  Even with the extra support, our rig is shaking in the 50 MPH wind gusts.  Looks like everyone else at this site has decided to stick it out another day too.  Travel safe!

Two Months, Togetherness and TATTOOS!

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Home Sweet traveling Home.

Two months?  Where does the time go?  We have already been on the road a couple of months and have acclimated to the lifestyle quite well.  It is hard to imagine that our educator friends head back to school this week.  Sean has been retired for a couple of years and doesn’t feel the back to school rush anymore.  This is Sherry’s first year not working, and we know, “boo-hoo”, but she’s feeling a little anxiety about not getting ready for another school year, or any job for that matter.  89c45d5c84a946a757d6f9067d911c8aWe do feel guilty about having a LONG ‘break’ away from the daily grind of work.  But, then we look around and stop feeling guilty and start feeling lucky!  🙂  Truly though, we wish the best to our friends in education starting back on the amazing path of enlightening youth and changing lives!  Good luck to you all this year!  You’ll surely need it!!  🙂

Now, back to the headline…

Ah, togethernesslow res-8469-2We still love it (no kidding – we would say that even if we weren’t writing this post together).  It is funny to wonder about people’s perceptions when we get the question if we are tired of each other, or ones who are aghast at the thought of spending 24/7 with their significant other.  If you truly love someone and he/she is your best friend, why is it hard to think about spending this much time together?  We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, so we do as much as we can today.  Be a human DOING, not a human BEING.  We have not spent more than 15-20 minutes apart at a time for 60 consecutive days.   This has been the greatest part about the trip.  Our goal was to spend more time together, and we’ve definitely achieved that goal so far.  Our toughest times are when we talk about what we do after our year long adventure.  We may actually spend time apart!  Say it isn’t so!  It helps that we collaborate so well together.   For example, Sherry is the primary cook while Sean does the dishes… Most of the time.  We do occasionally switch that up, especially when Sean is baking!  This last week he made biscuits, and Sherry made vegan gravy for a nice country breakfast (the secret is using al dente lentils as the “sausage” bits in the gravy).  We cook vegetarian or vegan most of the time, but we have the occasional fish dinner (Sherry makes a killer fish taco with tequila lime sauce!).  Also out of the oven this week were some delicious blueberry scones – mostly vegan (we use real butter – no margarine or fake butter substitutes).   Despite a small galley, we have been able to coordinate cooking and cleaning.  Sherry often has to improvise while chopping vegetables or preparing food items – counter space is sparse in our little home on wheels.

Hi Res-9112-2Hi Res-8711We have also continued to do our photography business as we travel.  The magnetic signs on the truck help pass along the word.  Sean is usually the one behind the camera while Sherry directs people or edits photos.  We just completed engagement photos for a very happy and absolutely adorable couple who got engaged in Whitefish, MT.  We had so much fun with them and being together as we did that shoot.

 

 

When we aren’t out exploring, we have been playing with the dogs, reading, binge watching TV, and enjoying each other’s company.  What is the point of the first few paragraphs?  If you are going to spend a year (or more) in a 37′ RV, make sure the other person is someone you like being around.  😉  Oh, and don’t forget the other ones you love – like two furballs we call Maggie and Bates.

Maggie finding a freshly made bed and the best ray of sun on a chilly morning.

Maggie finding a freshly made bed and the best ray of sun on a chilly morning.

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Bates loves the dog park in Whitefish!

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Bates fetches (sort of) at the dog park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattoos – One of the bucket list items was to get matching tattoos to commemorate our adventure and life together.  While in MT we found a lovely shop where the owner made us feel very comfortable.  She reminded Sherry of a Shaman she knew in Illinois named Sandy Little Lizard.  She had a very comforting aura.  We knew after an hour talking to her that she would have to be the one that helped us create our little forever piece of body artwork.  Sherry researched a design, and we both discussed the words before we met with the tattoo artist.  The sailboat represents Tadaima, our sailboat where we were married, and the words are from a song we consider ours and that sums up this adventure perfectly…”…and then when we get to the ocean, we’re gonna take a boat to the end of the world…all the way to the end of the world.”  Feel free to let loose a few “Awwww’s” and “How adorable”.

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We have also tried to explore more of the west side of the park while the Going to the Sun road is still closed at Logan Pass.  Several days ago we went into the park to Apgar and ran the bike trail with Bates.  He loved it, but we were saddened to see the signs telling us there was an up to three hour delay just to get to the Pass.  We are still hopeful that the fire will be contained and we will be able to hike the Highline Trail – supposedly one of the best in the park.

Since we couldn’t explore more of Glacier, we decided to look into Hungry Horse Reservoir.  We had seen signs along HWY 2 about the reservoir and dam, but despite staying nearby, we had just overlooked it.  We finally decided it was time to drive back and see what we could see.  One of the main roads, paved, led back to the dam, a 600′ monstrosity holding back a beautiful lake.  The views are incredible and it is only a few miles from where we were staying!  After spending about a half an hour driving, we decided to make a dedicated trip back to the lake.  We had seen some wonderful hiking and swimming areas, and with the weather being so hot and dry, we thought it would be a perfect excursion.

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Not being bird watchers… We think this is a peregrine falcon. Any thoughts?

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The lake wasn’t as cold as others we’d been in but it was very refreshing on a hot day. There were several campers enjoying the water up and down the shore.

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Falcon???

On our return, we drove through the small town of Martin City to see the north end of the lake.  We had noticed several boat ramps and primitive campsites on that side of the lake as well as a few trails.  The road turned to a wide, but rough, dirt road a few miles outside of town.  Traveling along the road, we took the first road to the lake.  That turned out to be a very narrow and even rougher dirt road, but the view at the end was amazing.  We hiked along the lake shore for a mile then sat and enjoyed a quick snack and watched the birds in the area fish.

Sean took several photos of the lake and fishing birds.  He joked that this crazy supermodel kept popping into his shots.  LOL  He was actually frustrated that he hadn’t brought along one of his telephoto lenses to catch the birds fishing.  We saw one dive into the lake, but too far away to see if it caught a fish.

We still have time here in this beautiful part of the country and hope to explore more of the gems hidden here!  We will be heading south soon and have already begun making our plans for stops along the way.  So many of our fellow RV’rs have offered advice and suggestions.  This morning, a neighbor talked to us about several spots in Southern Utah and Arizona.  Since they are along our ‘planned’ course, we will try to add them into our stops.

More later!  Enjoy the last of the summer.

Hiking to Iceberg Lake

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Spectacular views!

While we were on the boat ride touring St. Mary lake, the guide was asked about where the places to hike were in the park.  He mentioned that Iceberg Lake was a must-see in Many Glacier.  We already heard about Iceberg Lake, but that moment confirmed we had to go.  low res-8410We spent the night before the hike packing our backpacks and getting supplies.  The trail is only 5 miles in and the same 5 miles back, but we always try to hike prepared.  We actually had the conversation during the hike about how many people we see with one plastic water bottle and flip-flops walking some of these trails.  Do we over prepare?

The weather here has been unseasonably warm and dry, so hiking without proper hydration and preparation seems unwise to us.  Regardless of what other people bring on their hike, we always have an extra set of clothes, socks, rain jacket, plenty of water, and some food.  Most trails that we’ve done have been well populated and moderately easy, but we’d rather be over-prepared than run into a problem and not have proper supplies.  Especially after seeing how fast the weather can change here in the park.

Perfect example – Sherry carries a first aid tote in her hiking bag.  It has essentials like bandages, Neosporin, pain meds, burn creams, bug bite creams, etc.  While doing the iceberg hike, Sherry’s boot wore a blister on the back of her ankle.  She thinks something was in her sock like a rock or twig and that’s what rubbed the blister.  Nevertheless, she needed the first aid kit.  We got to the lake and she soaked her feet in the ice cold water for a few seconds (any longer and she wouldn’t have been able to feel her toes – hence the name, Iceberg Lake).  Sean helped her wrap a piece of gauze and tape around her ankle so the boot wouldn’t rub any worse (all those years as a soccer coach wrapping sprained ankles was really paying off!).  She also put on her fresh pair of socks from her pack.  If we didn’t carry our backpacks, we would not have been able to take care of a small blister that by the end of the second 5 miles could have been a huge blister.  What does Sean carry?  Well, he had fig newton’s, Gatorade… LOL   Lesson for the day – bring a backpack and be prepared.  We also recommend wristbands.  We wear a band called a Road ID.

It has our names, emergency contacts, and any medical information the paramedics might need if we were unconscious.  For example, Sherry’s says that she’s allergic to penicillin, and both our IDs say that we are full-time RV travelers.  You could add your blood type, allergies, medical conditions, etc.  It is like wearing a medical ID bracelet.  We have noticed that almost every park ranger we have seen has one on.  We would recommend them for anyone who runs, hikes, bikes, etc.  We like the idea that we have emergency information on our wrists in case we have trouble and can’t communicate.  You can also purchase ones that have a link to an online database with all your medical information.  We don’t have that much in either of our medical histories, so it didn’t make sense for us to upgrade to a fancy schmancy wristband.  However, the ones we have do add a little bit of peace of mind while doing outdoor activities.  After our hike we had a chance to talk to some locals about ‘tourists’ and novice hikers not going prepared on these longer ‘Day Hikes’  Consensus was they were taking too many risks not preparing.  We agree. 🙂

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Sherry stopped to take off her hiking boot to see what was causing the irritation on her ankle

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We always hike prepared! Backpack, extra water, food, extra clothes, Road ID, sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.

The park is seeing record numbers of people this year, and we can really notice at smaller locations like Many Glacier.  There are two hotels located within Many Glacier and one campground.  The parking situation is minimal, and we ended up parking off the side of the main road with many other cars (on gravel of course, we are very careful with the dry weather to stay off dry grass with the truck).  We were probably a half mile from the actual trailhead, which is fine since we were there to hike in the first place.  Once we got the trailhead, the first 1/4 to 1/2 mile is straight uphill, a good section of this part of the trail has rough stairs.  It then levels out to a gradual rolling incline, but it wasn’t rigorous climbing.

Alpine Meadow

Alpine Meadow

The trail leading down to Iceberg Lake.

The trail leading down to Iceberg Lake.

There are other places on the trail where the incline increases, but there’s enough flat to balance the occasional upward battle.  The trail is winding and beautiful.  It passes through alpine meadows, forested areas, waterfalls, streams, and sharp drop-offs.  We even got to see a MOOSE!

“Moose and squirrel” say this in a Russian accent and think Bullwinkle. LOL

Sherry has been whining (her words)  about not seeing any moose yet, so this was a real treat!  It was a female grazing in a meadow below a part of the trail that followed a cliff face.  We were able to look down on her and take pictures.Once we got to the lake, it didn’t disappoint!

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Tiny icebergs – straight ahead.

The view is spectacular.  Information about this area says that depending on the temperatures, icebergs may or may not be present.  There were tiny pieces of ice still floating in the water, but we were kicking ourselves for not coming sooner to maybe see bigger icebergs.  Of course, Sean still made the Titanic joke – no matter the size of the icebergs in the lake, they are apparently still “dead ahead”.  Lol.

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Sherry had no shoes on because we had just wrapped her foot to take care of the oncoming blister.

We stayed for about 30 minutes at the lake.  We met a young guy traveling alone from California and talked to him for most of the time that we were there.  People are always curious about our adventure once we tell them that we are traveling for a year around the country.  It is fun to share our experience and talk to people about enjoying life.  We go back to the same saying over and over: experiences, not things.  We are trying to share that motto with as many people we meet.  We admit that we were part of the culture that valued things and having material items.  We even bought into the idea that more things make you happy.  We think there is a societal pull to have more stuff than your neighbor, or that somehow your personal value is calculated by how big, nice, expensive your ‘stuff’ is. After living for almost 2 months now in our 37 foot ‘house’, we don’t miss much ‘stuff’ from our house in St. Louis.  If we had kids, maybe.  BUT, we met a girl at a Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago who is living in an R.V. with her husband and two small kids.  They are having a house built, and they moved into the R.V. temporarily.  She said it is less space to clean, and they don’t mind it at all.  It’s all a matter of perspective we guess.  Maybe more ‘living space’ makes some people happier.  Right now, we are perfectly content in our tiny living space because we actually have a whole country of living space yet to be discovered.  We’ll gladly take that for now.

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The water is SO clear and blue!

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Sherry felt like her face was gritty from sweat, so she stopped at this little water feature for a quick rinse.

As we said in our post about the East Glacier Fire, we started seeing smoke rising up over the mountains as we were hiking back to the trailhead.  What a scary site, even from many miles away.  As of today, we have heard that the fire has burned well over a thousand acres.  Some of the premier firefighting crews in the country have been called in to try and contain the blaze.  Hopefully, the weather will change but for now it isn’t cooperating,  High winds and dry conditions are making for a very dangerous job for those men and women.  Please keep them in your thoughts as they work their very dangerous job!

Here is a link for park information:  http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

For more photos: http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Iceberg-Lake/

East Glacier Fire!

We just did a post this morning, but we are behind on what we’ve been doing lately.  We wanted to share an update about what we saw yesterday.  We went hiking in Many Glacier (a post coming about Iceberg Lake soon), and when we had about 1.5 miles of the hike, we started seeing smoke billowing up over the mountain.  You better believe we started hiking much faster when we saw that!!  We took a bunch of pictures from our perspective at Many Glacier.  As we headed out of the park, Lake Sherburne was on the right and the smoke was coming over the mountain across the lake.  Our first thought was that the area around St. Mary was on fire.  The smoke was horrendous.  We ended up detouring our route back to West Glacier 30 miles farther than we would normally go to stay out of the direct line of smoke.  We ended up taking some beautiful photos of the smoke (if devastating smoke from a devastating fire can be beautiful).  We finally learned that we were correct in that an area near St. Mary was indeed on fire.  800-1000 acres at the last report.  Here is a news report on the incident.

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2015/07/22/fire-burning-east-side-going-sun-road/30488241/

The Going to the Sun road is closed until further notice as well.  We are hoping that it is contained and no damage to life or property happens.

Here are some photos we took of the smoke over the mountains.

Two Medicine and St. Mary Lake

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We heard a lot about Two Medicine, and after driving past Lake St. Mary several times, we decided to make a day of it and visit both areas.

Two Medicine

Two Medicine

Two Medicine was a very pretty area with a few nice trails.  We hit the area early in the morning and took a short leisurely hike along the lake.

low res-8357We couldn’t stay long because we wanted to get to St. Mary Lake in time for one of the boat rides along the lake.

Two Medicine is another easy location to get to by car.  The trails, especially along the lake, are a great, easy hikes.

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Storms a brewin’!

Lake St. Mary has a gorgeous blue color, almost turquoise when the sun hits it right.  We arrived at the boat dock in time for a locally heavy shower.   Getting used to the weather in this area has been fun.  One section of the park can be sunny and warm while another just a few miles away might be much cooler and raining.  We have enjoyed watching clouds swirl around the mountains on many occasions since arriving at the park.  We also learned that the weather usually doesn’t last long.  When we boarded the boat for our tour, the rain had all but stopped, and we could already see the clouds breaking up.

One of the tour boats.  This one is at Two Medicine but is very similar to the rest of the lake boats at Glacier.

One of the tour boats. This one is at Two Medicine but is very similar to the rest of the lake boats at Glacier.

On our boat we lucked out and had a great driver and a Park Ranger along for the ride.  Between them, we learned a lot about the park and the region we were in.  For instance, the blues in the lakes are a result of minerals ground to a fine powder by the glaciers and then brought to the lakes in the runoff.  The powder is very fine and goes into suspension in the lakes, reflecting only blues.  Fun stuff!  We also heard there are currently less than 30 glaciers in the park, and at the current rate of melt, they will be gone within the next 15 years.  So, what makes a glacier?  Technically, they have to be a certain size and depth to be called a true glacier.  There are many areas in the park with year round snow fields, but they don’t meet the technical criteria to be called a glacier.

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A view from the boat of an island in the middle of St. Mary Lake

OK, enough of the science lesson.  🙂  At the end of our ride out, we docked at a trailhead to see some of the falls that feed the Lake.  St. Mary Falls is a short, five minute walk from the dock

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St Mary Falls
St Mary Falls

For more photos of this area:  http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Polebridge-Bowman-Lake-St-Mary/

Polebridge and Lake Bowman

OK, so another spot we found that is a must re-visit before we leave, Polebridge and Lake Bowman.  We had been hearing this area was a must visit, although a little hard to get to, so we saved it for a day when we had enough travel time.

Getting there was an amazing drive around the West side of Glacier.  You can start in Columbia Falls and hit the Outside North Fork Road or drive along Camas Road from Apgar to the Camas Creek Entrance of the park, and then hit the Outside North Fork Road.  That is the route we took as we wanted to see Lake McDonald from a different angle, and we had been told the scenery was remarkable.  It was!  If you look at this route on a map, you may say, ‘What about the Inside North Fork Road?’  It was closed. 🙂

Fire damage and restoration.

Fire damage and restoration.

Much of this section of the park had been devastated by two fires over the last 15 years.  It did, on first glance, look barren and stark, but as we drove, we could see how nature was recovering.  We stopped at several turnouts to take photos, like the one above, and to learn more about the fire damage and the natural recovery of the region.  In fact, the fire played, and plays, an integral part of the life system in much of the area.  Several varieties of pine trees drop cones that are so thick with waxy sap they can’t germinate.  That is, they can’t until the heat from a fire melts the wax and allows the cones to open and start the creation of a new tree.

Information about the decades previous fires.

Information about the decades previous fires.

Much of the route to Polebridge is unpaved and very washboard!  We were happy to have our big four wheel drive truck and also amazed at the smaller cars and sedans along the route.  Polebridge is an ‘off the grid’ community.  What electricity they have is either solar or by generator. None the less, the Polebridge Mercantile is also the world’s best bakery!

The best bakery around!!!

The best bakery around!!!

Sean is seriously considering ways to find land within walking distance so he can continually sample the baked goods.  We did buy a Huckleberry Bear Claw and a sticky bun!  Yum.

YUM!!!
YUM!!!

Leaving Polebridge, it is a short drive to the Park entrance.  For this trip, we knew we wanted to get into Bowman Lake and explore a bit.  Once through the gate it was a 6+ mile trip along a single lane (maybe lane and a half) dirt road.  We found ourselves scraping bushes more than once to allow a car going in the other direction room to pass. 🙂 low res-8337

Once we arrived at the lake, we could see why it was considered one of the park’s better secrets.  Near the trailhead was a primitive campsite and another very helpful park ranger.

Tree trunks at the bottom of the lake.  Wish we had been there for a better angle on the light.

Tree trunks at the bottom of the lake. Wish we had been there for a better angle on the light.

Bowman Lake

Bowman Lake

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A family of ducks we startled while walking the trail.

After standing at the beach and soaking in the view around the lake, we took a short hike up the trail around the lake.  We highly recommend making this trip if you are ever in the area!

In addition to our hiking, we have also been doing what we can to continue making our home on wheels more homelike. On a trip to town Sherry bought a tomato plant.

Sherry gardening.

Sherry gardening.

We figured it would travel with us when we leave and maybe provide some fresh tomatoes.  I think we both miss the large garden we had at home. Funny thing, when the owner of the RV park saw the plant, she brought two more and gave them to us for our new ‘garden’.

Our pups have adapted well to life on the road.  Bates does miss a big fenced-in yard but we try to make it up to him in other ways.  Here he is ‘learning’ how to swim.

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He loved it.

Maggie has been our little greeter.  While Bates lays around waiting for us to come home, Maggie is always at the door when it opens and then into our arms for some puppy snuggle time.

Our baby girl greeting us when we come home.

Our baby girl greeting us when we come home.

We are all adjusting to this new life and enjoying it!

Here is a link to some higher quality photos from the last few weeks.  We do have some from our trip to St. Mary Lake in here as well.  Ignore those until we post about it.  🙂

http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Polebridge-Bowman-Lake-St-Mary/

Hidden Lake — Awesome, Inspiring, Gorgeous….

How many of you have been to Glacier?  Any favorite spots you would recommend as must see areas?

One of our hopes for this extended adventure was to be able to spend time in one area and see as many sites as possible.  Sites that most people on a ‘vacation’ wouldn’t get a chance to see.  The last few weeks in Glacier really have us wondering if we will be able to see and do all we want.  The park is the size of several states and is a true hiker’s paradise.  That is, very few roads and a lot of short (6 to longer mile) hikes to get to something ‘big’.  We’ve joked that we love this area so much we may end up living here, at least that would give us a chance to explore to our heart’s content.  We might also be able to keep up with our Blog posts. 🙂

Right now we are quite a bit behind on our posts.  Over the last few weeks we have visited Two Medicine, Lake Mary, several falls, Polebridge, Whitefish…  We have plans to get into the trails around Bowman Lake and definitely Many Glacier, as well as several other spots in the Park.  Forgive us if we run out of adjectives to describe this area.  Beautiful, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, each is appropriate and will surely be overused by us over the next several posts.

Setting Moon over Mt. Oberlin.

Setting Moon over Mt. Oberlin.

Sean has even begun trying to remember some of the positive adjectives used in his favorite TV show, BBC ‘Top Gear’.    We have often found ourselves at the end of a trail just awestruck by what we are seeing.

Sherry's new favorite photo.

Sherry’s new favorite photo.

On our second trip to Logan’s Pass, we decided to leave much earlier in the hopes of finding a spot in the parking lot or at least in the smaller pull off area about a half mile from the west side of the pass.  We entered the park, from the West Entrance near Apgar at about 8:30 AM.  There was already a fairly long line at the check in station and we were concerned about finding a spot.  Regardless, it was a gorgeous day, a little cooler than the last several and relatively cloud free.  For this trip, we planned pretty well and had our backpacks loaded with some hiking snacks, water and a change of clothes, if needed.  We also planned out two trails we wanted to explore.  The first was the Hidden Lake Trail, the other was the High Line.  Our priority was Hidden Lake, with a thought that we could do a little of the High Line depending on time,  Sean was looking forward to getting some great photos of waterfalls and mountain vistas.  He was bringing along two lenses and a tripod to get really steady photos.  Unfortunately, he forgot the tripod and had to stand very, very still for some shots. : )

Our drive up the Going to the Sun Road was gorgeous.  This time around, we decided to skip the turnoffs and try to make good time to the pass.  We found ourselves in a long line of cars weaving up the road. Many bicyclists made the going rather sporadic and a bit scary as we reached the narrowest parts of the road.  Still, a fun and scenic drive up to the pass.  As we got closer, we realized our chances of finding a parking spot in the lot were going to be very slim, so we did use the lower area and spent some time photographing Bighorn Sheep at the trailhead before hiking to the pass.

Big Horn Sheep near the entrance to Logan Pass

Big Horn Sheep near the entrance to Logan Pass

The park rangers at the Visitors Center were very helpful with all the visitors, answering questions and also giving ranger talks on a variety of topics.  One of the things we both have commented on is how helpful all the rangers have been.  On an earlier hike, we had one walk with us for a stretch, talking about the park, places to see and being very personable.  I wish we had gotten her name so we could have passed on a positive comment to her bosses.  Anyway, the visitors center was very crowded and we only took a short time to look around before hitting the a Hidden Lake Trail.

low res-8289The trail starts behind the visitor center and is another very well traveled trail.  In fact, most of the trail, to the lake overlook, is a wooden board walk.

low res-8282From what we gathered, this helped to protect the delicate ecosystem at the pass from tramping feet.  Periodic signs along the trail asking visitors to stay on the path helped reinforce our thought. : ).  The start of the hike we were greeted with tremendous views of ‘Alpine Flowers’, and wildlife from Marmots to Prarie Dogs and Sherry’s other favorite, Mountain Goats!

Marmot under part of the boardwalk.

Marmot under part of the boardwalk.

We first saw several goats standing on a snow field along the side of the Mountain.

Big Horn on the snow field on Mt. Oberlin.

Big Horn on the snow field on Mt. Oberlin.

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This little one started bleating for mommy just a few seconds after we took the photo.

It was amazing to see them walk along the steep rocky face!  It was even more amazing when we rounded a bend to see one munching on some food just a few feet away.  Fortunately, there was a family between where we were standing and the goat.  They were trying to get their children in close for a great photo opportunity.  OK, yes, that was sarcasm. : ).  It was this hike that gave us some great examples for our future ‘snarky’ post about some of our fellow tourists.  But, later for that.  This hike was just too beautiful.

As I said, most of the trail was a boardwalk.  There were several places where we walked over stoney ground and even some snow!  Crazy, snow on the ground in the middle of July!  Beautiful little ponds created from snow runoff, waterfalls and tremendous views.  low res--14

Small waterfall and snow field along the hike to Hidden Lake.

Small waterfall and snow field along the hike to Hidden Lake.

When we arrived at the lake overlook we learned the rest of the trail was closed.   The Grizzlies were feeding near the lake and doing other bear stuff that made it dangerous to hike near them.  So, we stopped at the overlook for some photos of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake

It was well worth the hike.  Our hope is that the Bears settle down enough for us to do the complete hike before we have to leave the area.

Gunsight MTN and Sperry Glacier in the distance.

Gunsight MTN and Sperry Glacier in the distance.

After lingering for a while, and eating a light snack, we headed back for the Visitors station.  Along the way, we decided to check out the first mile or two of the High Line Trail.

Another angle on Hidden Lake

Another angle on Hidden Lake

We didn’t go far this trip.  Just far enough to know we needed to come back prepared for a long day on the 6 mile, one way, hike.  Another must do hike for us.

For more photos from this post, go to the following link:

http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Hidden-Lake-and-Logan-Pass/

At the Trailhead for the Highline Trail.

At the Trailhead for the Highline Trail.

Avalanche Lake… and observations on the human condition.

Well, let’s start with a quick update.  Good news – our RV is feeling much better now. No biohazard problems to report! 🙂

After spending the past couple of weeks touring the main areas of Glacier National Park, we think our RV neighbors put it best: the park sometimes feels like a theme or amusement park. There are some high “touristy” areas that are packed with people, the main road through the park can have long lines, and sometimes there are too many cranky/annoying/unmannered children (and parents). We have been hitting the more popular and easily accessible areas of the park recently which probably explains some of the crowding, and no doubt they are popular and crowded because they are absolutely stunning. Don’t get us wrong, we are fine hiking with 20-90 or more of our fellow nature enthusiasts to get to a view like this one:

Gorge along Avalanche Creek.

Gorge along Avalanche Creek.

However, the park does sometimes feel a wee bit crowded and anxiety inducing. Driving along the ‘Going to the Sun Road’ we actually had a guy honk at us because he wanted to go faster… We were doing a hair over the speed limit while going around one of the trickier bends in the road. Go figure, it made the T-Shirt we saw at the gift shop make sense. The short version was, ‘Thanks for speeding around curves and passing on the Going to the Sun Road’.  Yours truly, GNP Paramedics.  Those who have experienced the white-knuckle driving of the Going to the Sun road will understand.  There are some areas where our full-size, extended bed 3500 pick-up feels like it will mash the wall or go over the cliff.

We plan to create another blog post to comment and elaborate about our top tourist “types” later, Types like the “Hurry Up, Get Out of My Way So I can See Something”, or the “The Rules Must Not Apply to Me” tourist. We have a whole list of the people we have categorized along this journey so far, so take it as a fun tongue in cheek commentary. Oh, we did not categorize ourselves. LOL. Humanity is interesting.

Now the fun stuff:  We have had the opportunity to witness a lot of beauty while we’ve been here. The hike to Avalanche Lake is no exception. The trail is very popular and easily accessible from the Going to the Sun Road. In fact, there are several parking areas specifically for this trail. We did have difficulty finding a spot, even on a Tuesday! We consider ourselves pretty athletic people for the most part, but Sherry especially had to stop a few times along this hike.

Sherry 'resting' by the creek along the Avalanche Trail.

Sherry ‘resting’ by the creek along the Avalanche Trail.

low res-8177It is only 2 miles from trailhead to the lake, but it climbs over 500 feet. The trail is very well marked and defined. It passes through some remarkable ‘ecosystems’ and has an amazing stretch near the start where the creek runs through a rocky gorge.

This deer (darling) just walked along the trail feeding.

This deer (darling) just walked along the trail feeding.

Absolutely breathtaking. The upward climb was exhausting at times, but when we saw families and children passing in the other direction, we knew that we might be over-exaggerating the difficulty. The view at the top was remarkable.low res-8174

Waterfalls feeding Avalanche Lake.
Waterfalls feeding Avalanche Lake.

The lake was fed by runoff from Sperry Glacier, most of which dropped into the valley from three waterfalls on high cliffs. We had to sit and soak it all in once we arrived. One of the funniest things, there are tons of chipmunks in the area and none seemed afraid of the people. Unfortunately, too many people ignore the signs about feeding the animals and these little guys have lost all fear of people.

Too many people are feeding these little guys.

Too many people are feeding these little guys.

We had several come right over to the rock we sat on to ‘talk’ with us.

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Avalanche Lake

The lake was spectacular and well worth our little hike.  We stopped across the lake from the falls but could still hear them crashing down the rocky cliffs.

Hard as it is to believe, we keep hearing that these parts of the park, while gorgeous, don’t compare to the harder to access areas.  Over the next few weeks we plan on hitting some of those spots.

Last note.  You can always go to our Lovey Photo website to see more photos of our hikes and travels (the link is below).  In order to save on bandwidth and our storage capacity, we have been uploading photos in low resolution format.  If there are any you see and would like to see in a higher resolution, please let us know.  Sean may do a post later (on a rainy day) about our cameras and the equipment we use both for studio and nature photography.  🙂

http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Avalanche-Lake-Glacier-Nationa/i-PXpmQ3c

 

White Water Rafting….

Hello, friends!  Before we start, we want to wish all our friends and family a very happy 4th of July!  Be safe, have fun, and don’t forget that the real meaning of this day is a celebration of freedom and independence!  We appreciate all the men and women in and out of combat who have fought for those freedoms in the past and present!

Well, our time in Glacier continues as we continue to explore as much as this area has to offer.  In our post today, we wanted to hit on just a few things.  First, we had some information in our last post about the stabilizers.  Since writing the posts, our slide out stabilizer’s arrived and we have had them in place for a few days now.  They are very simple with two adjustments.  One to get in range then a screw to snug them up under the slide-out.  We have two on each of our larger slides and can say they work great with the Kingpin Stabilizer.  When our 70+ pound Borzoi/Setter bounces around and jumps down off the chairs, we can barely feel it!  🙂

Over the last week, we have continued to explore Glacier and decided to take advantage of a white water rafting experience.  This was an 8 mile trip, most relatively mild, but enough class 2 and 3 rapids to keep it interesting.  We purchased photos from the rafting company that showed us going through one section of the river, we had the front of the raft.  Thanks to Great Northern for a great afternoon and these fun pictures.

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Photos taken by staff at Great Northern Rafting

We also wanted to say another thanks to our guide, Maria.  She was not only informative, but absolutely hilarious as we made the way down the river.

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Photos taken by staff at Great Northern Rafting

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Photos taken by staff at Great Northern Rafting

What a fantastic experience!  One of the best parts of the trip was when we saw a bear come down to the river’s edge.

Our first bear sighting!

We had one of our little point and shoot cameras with us in an underwater case and couldn’t get the best photo, but here is the little guy.

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It was a beautiful day with crystal clear water.

We have found so many fun spots to stop and visit here.  One of Sean’s favorites, so far, has been Glacier Distilling.  OK, we both highly recommend it: http://glacierdistilling.com/home/.  One of our favorite whiskeys from Glacier is Cabin Fever… In fact, we think it tastes so much like Christmas we are getting several bottles to share with friends and family when we see them in a few months.  😉

For more photos of our white water adventure, visit our website at the following link: http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/White-Water-Rafting-July-1-201/

Have a wonderful 4th of July!!!

The Whiskey Barn tasting room at Glacier.

The Whiskey Barn tasting room at Glacier.

Our First Month…. and Glacier National Park

low res-7983Today marks a big milestone for us on our travels… Wow, milestone, travels… get it?  Well, today is our thirtieth day since moving into the RV.  One month ago we were leaving a very cold and rainy St. Louis and heading west.  Over the last few weeks, we have both remarked on how fast time is passing.  We plan to be on the road for a year and then make a decision where to settle down.  However, since leaving we have met several couples who had the same or similar plans, and have decided to keep going.  Who knows what the future will hold.  For now, all of us, pups included, have adjusted well and are loving seeing this country, meeting new people and making new friends.

So, the lesson for the day on RV life is stabilizers.  We don’t mean the type already on the RV, but supplemental ones to hold things like the kingpin and any slide outs you may have.  We did run across a lot of information about this as we were researching life on the road;  however, like the WIFI hotspot, it fell into the ‘let’s wait and see’ category.  Since leaving we have met and talked to several people who have had a variety of additional stabilizers on their RV’s.  Nobody had a negative word to say about them and constantly went over the many benefits.  Slide out supports help stabilize and take weight off the mechanism, especially if the slides will be out for an extended period.  Kingpin stabilizers help in overall stability and greatly reduce any ‘shake’ in a 5th wheel.  We have noticed some motion when we move around, especially when Bates (our big red dog) decides to jump on the bed.  So, we decided to look into the kingpin stabilizer when we arrived at Glacier.  It didn’t hurt that our new neighbors/friends had one on their 5th wheel and had positive comments about it.

We found a stabilizer at a local RV store, about the same price as you could find on Amazon, so we bought it.  After nearly two full days, we can attest that it greatly reduces any motion.  We also ordered slide-out stabilizers (found those cheaper on Amazon) and will put them in place when they arrive tomorrow.

King Pin Stabilizer.

King Pin Stabilizer… Oh, Sherry also had to have a garden so we bought a cherry tomato plant.

I mentioned earlier that today was our one month ‘anniversary’.  To celebrate, we headed into Glacier NP and drove along the ‘Going to the Sun’ road.  A truly breathtaking drive and white-knuckled in some areas when driving a large pickup.  There are plenty of turnoff areas on both sides of Logan Pass to stop and admire the scenery.

Sherry standing near some rapids on the West side of the pass.

Sherry standing near some rapids on the West side of the pass.

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Our goal was Logan Pass, and we made it.  However, we should have followed the advice of our neighbors and left early as the small parking area was full when we arrived. Fortunately, we were able to park nearby and hike a trail following a creek up to some remaining snow (mini glaciers,

LOL).  We loved it, the temps have been in the low 100’s and upper 90’s but when we hiked it was breezy and in the upper 60’s.  Just for fun we threw snowballs at each other to say that we had a snowball fight at the end of June!  We plan on returning to the pass in the next few weeks and really exploring.  For now,  follow the link at the end of this blog to our website to view the photos we took on the drive to the pass and then leaving through St. Mary.

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Piegan Pass trail and SNOW!

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After we left the park, we followed an outside route that ran between Glacier NP and Lewis and Clark National Forest.   We stopped at a little town outside of the park that had a sign about “award winning huckleberry pie”. We’ve already tried the pie from one place because we were told that we couldn’t pass up trying all the different ways they use huckleberries around here.  We bought some huckleberry licorice too which is very good!  But we digress – we stopped at the little shop that had the award winning sign and bought two pieces of pie.  They were actually more delicious than the first pie we tried!  We will now have to make comparisons for all huckleberry pie in the area. It is a great responsibility, but we will do it for the good of all!

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World’s Best Huckleberry pie location!

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Largest Purple Spoon…

They also had the “World’s Largest Purple Spoon”, and you know we had to get a picture of that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life on the road after one month?  We’ve hit most of our early revelations we covered in earlier blogs.  Even as ‘non-material’ people, we realized how much ‘stuff’ one collects in a sedentary life.  More important, we realized that time together and memories collected as a couple are so much more important than stuff collected.  Overall, our first month has been beautiful, fun, and relaxing.  We have also realized that you cannot be scared of taking risks and saying “let’s see what happens”.  We have many more months to come that will hopefully be just as amazing!

We’ve been asked if we are sick of traveling yet, tired of being in a little box, or tired of each other… Nope, because our life isn’t in the box.  We find it wherever we are staying, the people we meet, and this beautiful country we call home.  We love being with each other and have already started talking about whether we want to do this for more than a year.  (We still want to start a family, and even though the pioneers found a way to keep babies in covered wagons across the country, a foundation and secured to the ground place to call home would be nice.)  Yes, it has only been a month, yes we know problems may arise, but it has already been more than we expected.  Here’s to the next 11 months… or more!

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On the road outside of the east entrance of Glacier. Colors in photo are what they appear in life.

Check out all the rest of our photos from our recent Glacier visits!  http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Glacier-National-Park-Late-Jun/