My Dearest Miss Ball and Mrs. Fitzpatrick,
Greetings from Glacier National Park! Miss Austen and I have been in the park for several days now, and each day has been filled with the most delightful wildflowers, animal sightings, and hikes for miles and miles. One of my favorite short hikes is from Swiftcurrent to Red Rock Falls. (Don’t tell Jane, but my friend Maggie saw me taking this photo and asked, “Oh, how cute . . . is that Aunt Jemima?” Next time I’m in Safeway I’ll have to stroll down the maple syrup aisle and see if there’s any resemblance.) On this particular hike, we saw a magnificent grizzly bear (far away in the hills) as well as a young grizzly fairly up close, though it was walking away. I think that convinced us to purchase bear spray.
The winter in Glacier was very long, so several of my favorite trails were not passable yet because of the snow. Jane and I opted to try the Cracker Lake Trail. The signage was not wrong: the trail was indeed a hearty 12 miles, and we saw the pictured mountain goat as well as a moose and a hoary marmot.
We were both mesmerized by the beautiful shade of blue of the lake! However, Jane seemed a little irritated when a passing hiker asked if she lost her arm like that guy in 127 Hours. Jane being Jane, she did not rat out my niece, Ella, for breaking her arm last summer on our Bermuda cruise. She simply told the hiker that her bionic arm was in the shop.
After so much hiking, we, of course, went to my favorite place to eat: the Park Cafe in St. Mary. What’s not to like about a restaurant with the motto “Pie for Strength”? We tried different flavors of pie almost every day. I had the apple, strawberry rhubarb (3 times!), and raspberry cherry. Thank goodness we’re averaging 9 or 10 miles of hiking a day!
One of my favorite hikes was the trail to Scenic Point, which started in the Two Medicine area. I had never hiked in that part of the park (it’s south of the Many Glacier area where we are staying), but the trail we had intended to hike to Grinnell Glacier was closed become some idiot thought it was a good idea to throw his backpack at a grizzly bear. So the park rangers closed the trail rather than allow more dumb humans to interact with bears, and we needed a new plan. Scenic Point was amazing because the view from the top included Two Medicine Lake and mountains in one direction (below) and the Montana plains going out into the distance in the opposite direction.
The next day, despite the threat of rain and more cold weather, we hiked to Otokomi Lake.
I’m afraid that Jane was a little uncomfortable traveling in my pack (oh the indignities she suffers!). Maybe I should have put the Cheeze-Its in the same pocket.
I didn’t think she had such a flare for the dramatic, but the next thing I knew she was wielding my Swiss Army knife as though we were going to duel!
We made up (eventually), and got back to the business of photographing the views and wildflowers. We even had some fun snowshoeing at Logan Pass. It’s hard to believe it’s July here!
I miss you guys! Hope all’s well in Cali, and I’ll see you soon.
PS—On the way back from Iceberg Lake, we ran into a grouse with a bunch of newborn chicks. My friend Heather made this video that makes me laugh, laugh, laugh. (Poor little silly chick.)127 Hours, Action Jane, Glacier National Park, grizzly bears, grouse, hiking, Park Cafe on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 · No Comments »