Salida was beckoning us to stay longer however we had arranged to meet Kevin’s Mom and Step Dad in Glacier National Park in 2 days. We saddled up and buckled in for the long haul. Leaving Kevin’s sanity behind we pretty much drove straight through up to Glacier National Park. Of course we stopped to sleep but it’s tough to sleep when you know you need to keep moving to get there. The total drive time was approximately 20 hours and we were all glad to have that over with. Only occasionally we do such ‘ big’ travel days and this was one of those times.
It was nice to see Grammy Carol and Grampy Greg. We visited with them for a little over a week and during that time we went out to eat, drove up the going to the sun road, hung out, got ice cream, went on a boat ride across Lake McDonald and went on several jeep trails. Grampy Greg was also nice enough to help Kevin put a lift kit on our Jeep. It was a nice relaxing time but they had a long drive back to Maine so we had to say goodbye. Camping in Glacier can be expensive and we were there for about 6 weeks all of which was boondocking. After they left we were able to visit with some of our Xscapers friends visiting the area. We also decided to purchase an inflatable hot tub and pavilion tent to go over it. Although it takes Kevin a couple trips to get water to fill up the hot tub it was amazing to relax in it in Big Sky Country. Beautiful. This was also the home of what we affectionately named “bear birds” (aka the Common Nighthawk): birds that make calling sounds like bears. Truly frightening when you are in bear country. We had no idea it was birds making the strange growling sounds for well over a week and at one point we didn’t even dare take 1 step outside without bear spray. (Side story: Pro tip: don’t leave your bear spray in your car on your dash. The sun will come in and heat up the car and if it gets hot enough some of your bear spray will discharge. Yes we found out about that the hard way. I picked up the canister and it felt really light so I handed it to Kevin who agreed it was really light wondering what happened. Then Eloise wanted to feel it and then our friend who we were chatting with too. All told 4 of us touched the bear spray can and had varying levels of burning on skin, eyes, nose. I had burning pain for hours because I handled it the longest. Man that stuff really burns. Fun times!)
One day as a one-night trip we went over to Many Glacier Lodge and spent the night there. We hiked up to Grinnel and Salamander glaciers which was once known just as Grinnel glacier but it has since split due to melting. The hike was long but the weather was nice and the scenery was jaw dropping.
Our next visitor in Glacier National Park was Kevin’s Step Mom Verla and his dad Kevin. They stayed with us for a week along with our Australian friends Lynne and Michael who parked their RV right next to ours. We all had a great time visiting and one day we all (plus a few other Xscaper friends in the area) went on a float trip down a portion of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. It was quite the adventure with many laughs and a few spots of light rapids. The water was cold but the sun was hot and we had a good time.
The hiking in Glacier is world renowned and Kevin’s dad was partly visiting us to watch the girls while Kevin and I and our friends Nate and Kelsey went on a 4 night backpacking trip. We went from Bowman Lake up to Hole in the Wall via Brown Pass finishing at Kintla Lake. It was epic. We totally lucked out on so many levels: Kelsey scored sweet permits for 4 people AND the weather was amazing (mostly). There was a bad rainstorm moving in the last night of our trip and we elected to hike double-time to get out of camping in the rain and while at first it appeared there wasn’t actually going to be any rain, around 11pm the torrential rain and lightening hit and we were glad we were back in our beds. Of course the kids were glad to see us too but while we were gone Grampy and Grammy took them over to the historic Many Glacier Lodge where they stayed in the hotel one night which they loved.
Our last adventure in Glacier was at Whitefish Mountain Bike Park where Kevin and Nate went biking for an afternoon while Kelsey and I recovered from the hike. We explored some of downtown Whitefish before finally our time in Glacier was over and it was time to head West.
(Ultimately during our time in Glacier we only saw 3 Grizzley bears and all 3 were on the smallish size!)