Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park
Just a few weeks before the South America trip is to happen, I took a 10 day detour to hike the Glacier National Park and our neighbors to the north Canada with my traveling, fugitive friend J.
We left Cali early in the week and flew to Calgary, Alberta, British Columbia. From there, we rented a SUV, drove south back to US to Montana to hike and explore the Glacier National Park (GNP). Then we plan to return north to visit Lake Louise, Jasper, Banff and one night back to Calgary. Our neighbor to the north has progressed so much. Sometime back, their currency is about 1:60 to our dollar. Three years ago when I went to Vancouver and Victoria, it was about 1:25. Now, their currency is slightly higher than the US dollar at .98.
Every national park has a unique beauty to boast. Back in California, Yosemite, our state’s internationally known national park is beautiful. El Capitan and Half Dome are the main attractions. Having visited Yosemite and GNP, the latter is perhaps larger and more beautiful fourfold than Yosemite.
When Yellowstone became the first declared National Park in 1872, it did not take long for other parks to follow including Waterton Lakes in 1895 and Glacier in 1910. Their adjoining location along the international boundary revolutionalized the first world international peace park.
The sacred landscape which is home to the Blackfeet, Salish and Kootenai people remains an enduring symbol of two countries, ecologically diverse and culturally rich sharing common boundaries and stewardship committed to preserving and enriching the Rocky Mountain West ecosystem . The coalition formed the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It symbolizes a world vision to work in cohesion, the living embodiment of hope for the interest of all life in time immemorial. This vast mystical land is home to thousands of species and wildlife from jungle like four legged animals to amphibians and water- like creatures. People throughout the world who travel here reaffirms if not renew their spiritual quests to a land where they find peace among the peaks and savor scenery carved by glaciers that was designated as Biosphere reserves and gained world-wide International Peace Park recognition from World Heritage site in 1932.
Little did I know I will be here today, to explore, to be awed and to join the millions who have stepped foot here and be inspired by the infinite beauty endowed to us by the Almighty above us. How blessed I am indeed to be here and experience a once in a lifetime opportunity!
J and I picked up our SUV and drove south; our first destination, East Glacier Village a few miles from a small town called Two Medicine . Our drive took about 4 ¼ hours. On our way there, we passed a town called Standoff. It was in the middle of nowhere. Nature was calling so we tried to stop at places like a small bar, a trading post and a miniscule gas station (the one who see in the movies found only in small towns). They did not call the town Standoff for nothing. Everyone was not friendly. I was surprised that in the middle of this land, the people we encountered were Koreans, Chinese and East Indians. We also passed several museums along the way.
The mountains were capped with either snow or moss like greens and trees. As we drove by, I could not help but notice the very healthy cows and horses grazing in a green land pasture. Everything about this place is organic; the clouds all in various formations and snow melting everywhere creating waterfalls even in the middle of the road. Huckleberries are everywhere. Even stores sell huckleberry jam, suckers and all types of souvenir and goods.
We hiked the East Glacier side on the first day and drove across west. The scenic distance of 50 miles from East to West was very transcendent, numinous and magical. On the first day, we took an easy trail called Eagle Falls. It was a nice warm up stretching our legs from the day’s drive. Then we finished the day at the Aster trail.
The next day’s hike was a visit to four different trails starting in St Mary Falls, Virginia, Cedar and Sperry. We started the day at around 8:00 and did not return to camp until around 20:00.We stopped at many places including Logan Pass where the trails still looks like a ski area. There was a couple who actually carried their skis up. I skied before and though the snow is still deep, the conditions were not conducive for skiing. We stayed out to catch a glimpse of the wildlife that comes out during the night to feed their young or eat. Sure enough, we spotted a large very friendly deer right on the trail, a big horn sheep crossing the road and a wild mountain goat as the evening approached.
Vacation is far from over but will continue in a different venue – Canada. For now, I will share photos of the place, now you can follow me to Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff Canada.