Glaicer National Park: A Most Epic Plan B

Sometimes you show up to the airport and the person at the check-in counter informs you that you have come to the wrong airport and your fearless cousin drives like a crazy person up the highway at 5 am to get you to the correct airport about 45 minutes away. Sometimes you show up to the airport and the person at the check-in counter informs you that you have come to the airport on the wrong day (to be fair, it was one of those confusing just after midnight flights…nevermind that the date of the flight was printed in huge letters on the boarding pass that I printed out at home. Did I say I? I meant someone I know…)

And sometimes, you show up to the airport ready for a trip to visit Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and the person at the check-in counter informs you that you cannot get on the plane without a passport for your baby.

Oh? This has never happened to you, you say?  You knew that even tiny infants who have never been asked for an ID in their lives need passports to travel to Canada? And, by the way, you remembered that Canada is actually another country and considered international travel? You say that none of these things have ever happened to you because you know how to read the information on your confirmation email, boarding pass and check-in screen? You don’t even understand how things like this happen to people? Well, hang out with me for a few days. You’d be amazed. I don’t know how they happen either, my friend, but they do.

I swear I’m not a complete idiot, but sometimes we all wonder and worry.

On July 3, Andy, Carter and I were packed up and ready for a grand and much needed adventure to Banff. The last time Andy and I attempted to go, my grandfather passed away and we had to turn around on our road trip north to attend his funeral. Needless to say, we had been looking forward to this trip for a long long time. We were devastated when we could not get on the plane. My cousin (yes, the same one that raced me to the correct airport) had to turn around, pick us up and take us home, wallowing in our misery.

But, the story has a happy ending! Determined to get away, we went home and made new plans to visit Glacier National Park instead. It was one of our most epic adventures. Yosemite, I love you and I am faithful, but I’m just saying you have some competition for my favorite National Park. I have seen many beautiful places, but sights that take my breath away and move me to tears are rare. Glacier is one such place.

Sometimes Plan B is the best thing that can happen to us. Andy and I are rejuvenated, reconnected and filled with gratitude for our week in Glacier. Some trip highlights I don’t want to forget when I get old(er):

  • Andy stripping butt naked and skinny-dip bathing in Lake McDonald in view of our campground at 10 pm when it was still light out
  • Carter speed crawling straight into the lake when we set him down on the rocky beach
  • Carter sticking his hand out of the backpack and saying “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” to every person we passed on trail (we are counting this as his first word!)
  • Carter gleefully kicking his feet in every body of water we passed, including those filled with icebergs
  • Sharing our campsite with a cool couple from Oakland who couldn’t find an open site
  • Making s’mores every night
  • Hitchhiking back to our car when the Glacier shuttle inexplicably stopped running
  • Carter making growling noises and mumbling to himself as we hiked
  • Staying at the Many Glacier Lodge; dinner with a view
  • Amazing, mind-blowing hikes; we hiked over 40 miles in 6 days and are shamelessly patting ourselves on the back

Pictures (especially the ones that I take) cannot do justice to our experience, but they do better than words!

The view of Hidden Lake (the trail to the lake was closed because of bear activity):


St. Mary Lake:


The Siyeh Pass Trail:



Lake McDonald at sunset (from a private trail leading to our own section of the beach):


The hike to Iceberg Lake:





The Grinnell Glacier Trail (views of Grinnell Lake, Lake Josephine and some other lake that shall remain nameless):







The view from the deck of the Many Glacier Lodge:


Photo Gallery

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