Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Guard @ Lake Josephine, Many Glacier, MT

Deep in bear country, Will and Kim practice self defense moves on each other.

I’ve always dreamed of visiting Glacier National Park and now I know why. The towering majesty of these mountains is wondrous; it’s simply gorgeous; my heart is soaring! Arriving at the eastern St. Mary park entrance, totally bushed after a seriously long day of driving, our “road fatigue” melts away as we take in the awesome beauty of our new surroundings. Setting camp in the wide glacial carved valley, we can’t help but familiarize ourselves with the “how-to’s” of camping in Grizzly Bear country! Signs everywhere, from picnic tables to toilet stalls, instruct campers on washing, cooking and food storage. Admittedly it’s a little scary and we don’t dare spit toothpaste in the bushes.

That night Kim prudently opts to sleep in the hard-sided van (as opposed to the nylon tent) and requests I join her. Before dosing off, she shares a contingency plan she’s been quietly mulling over. “Mom, this is sick, but…if you and Daddy get mauled by bears tonight, I’ll call Gordon and Robin (her aunt and uncle who happen to be vacationing on the western side of Glacier).” That girl, she is always thinking! Thankfully we all survive the night and, in the morning, Dave watches an eagle snatch a fish from the river, but we see no bears.

We ride a free park shuttle up the “Going to the Sun Highway,"cut deep into the mountains this windy road is a national historic landmark. Disembarking at Logan Pass the exact moment Gordon & Robin pull up in their rental SUV:; there’s a joyous reunion with cousins Lucy, Calvin & Billy and pop-pop Herb, their grandfather who is celebrating his 82 birthday with a trip to Glacier and five days rafting the Snake River! The next 48 hours are filled with hikes, picnics, sleepovers, horseback trail rides and lots of fun before a fianl farewell as the Dixons-of-Stowe, as head off to Idaho and us on to Waterton, Alberta. We’ll see each other again June 2009.

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