A few weekends ago, J and I had to head to the border. A mere 6 or so hours away….My visa expired on the 24th of June and I had to activate my new one. No short cuts available sadly. After a brief google we discovered that the beautiful Glacier National Park in Montana was not only the closest border but also an amazing place to visit (by the looks of it!) So, we jumped in the car just before 2pm, and poor J drove, drove, drove. One of the most surprising things to me about Alberta was all of the SPACE. The road from Edmonton to Calgary is a road of nothing, There is nothing for miles around. It boggles my mind.
It took us longer than expected to get through the border (a story for another time) but we managed to succeed in activating my next visa. It was nice that it was sorted and we could relax and enjoy the weekend. There are a number campsites at Glacier National Park to choose from with a mixture of reviews. Annoyingly only 2 allowed reservations and only 1 of those was at the ‘beginning of the park’. St. Mary was the first campsite we would come across so it made sense to just book there despite rave reviews elsewhere. That ended up being a smart choice as were putting up the tent in the dark at 11pm. I was terrified that bears would be creeping up behind us so made a lot of noise but to the chagrin of our camping neighbours.
One thing we did not account for was how COLD it was. My God, it was freezing and I had not packed accordingly. Josh kept asking if I had enough layers and I was like, yeah uh-huh, yeah *nodding*. I totally did not. I also didn’t want to wear all of the clothes I had with me and feel gross for the rest of the weekend. So we huddled together like we were in the arctic and generally froze. I’m surprised we didn’t get sick.
BUT we survived the night. Our little plot had a lovely view and the sun was shining as we woke up to reveal a stunning backdrop of towering mountains.
We headed to the St. Mary Tourist Centre at the entrance of the National Park and asked the super friendly park rangers there what to do with the one full day with had. He suggested we head to Logan’s Pass or the Hidden Lake trail. We headed through the winding mountain ‘Going to the Sun’ road and parked up at Logan’s Pass Visitor Centre, deciding to try and fit in both.
Both St Mary Visitor Centre and the Logan’s Pass Visitor Centre were rich with exhibits and information about the Park. We only popped in for a while but I could see kids really enjoying it. The Park Rangers there were knowledgable and really helpful.
Throughout the entire park is the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road – the only road through the mountain range, going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, it spans 53 miles (85 km) across the width of the park.
The Logan’s Pass trail is kind of scary. It is a tiny path that is next to a sheer drop. You have to cross little waterfalls and snow trodden paths. The views of the valley were stunning and there were a lot of animals on the trail such as Marmots and squirrels.
The Highline Trail, which starts across from the Logan Pass Visitor Centre parking lot covers the area from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet over seven and half miles. After an hour and a half, we decided to turn back, wanting to fit in the trail to the Hidden Lake (which I talk about in my next post). The Highline trail was breathtaking and pretty easy. We met a variety of walkers and everyone seemed pretty geared up. I wouldn’t recommend hiking without the proper footwear. I had some sports shoes on and they were just about okay. J had some running shoes and his feet kept getting wetting. I’d also recommend layers. Although warm when the sun was out, the wind could be quite biting and I was glad I had a jacket. If I had more time, I really would have enjoyed hiking for a lot longer but hey, we did what we could!