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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Good-bye magnificent Glacier National Park


Yes, it’s time for us to say good-bye to Glacier National Park. From here, we are headed south. Our first stop will be Bertz RV in Missoula to have a leaky water pump fixed. Then heading towards the Sands RV and Golf Resort in Palm Springs with probable stops in Twin Falls Idaho, and Zion National Park along the way. From there we will go home to Colorado. We’re looking forward to sharing the holidays with our family. We sure do miss them all!!!

We will truly miss Glacier. We have really enjoyed and appreciated this particular camp hosting experience. Not only did we get to travel and explore this amazing park but we also had fun discovering the surrounding towns of Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Hungry Horse, and of course Polebridge - I believe we have previously blogged about Polebridge. We had a great dinner at the Whitefish Lake Restaurant at the Whitefish Golf Course with some new camp hosting friends. Just an FYI – it’s fun to read about the unique history with the lots of history link.  We did spend a day exploring the Hungry Horse Dam and adjacent areas.  Of course some fun shopping would have to include The Powder Horn Trading Company in Kalispell. They have a great bead and curiosity shop, and we couldn’t forget the Montana Fur Trading Company eight miles from the West entrance to the park. It is filled with Native American artifacts and stunning jewelry. And a popular hot spot for the Glacier crew is the Montana Coffee Traders in Columbia Falls. In addition to having first-class coffee, they have high-speed Internet, and delicious food.

Like our other camp hosting experiences, we have enjoyed meeting, and working with the park staff, rangers, law enforcement and of course all of the other dedicated volunteers. We have made many new friends.

One of the memories from this summer will be constant reminder of the danger and destruction of forest fires. We left Colorado just as the smoke from the Front Range was starting to clear. We encountered a fire at Guernsey State Park while in Wyoming and had to relocate our camp site. Much of this summer, the valleys in Glacier National Park have been filled with smoke from fires burning in Montana, and Idaho plus in the park itself. Last week I hiked the Avalanche Lake Trail. At the end of the hike is what should be a beautiful view of Avalanche Lake surrounded by snowfield covered mountain peaks. The picture below speaks for itself. 

I started writing this blog on Friday and was lamenting the fact that we had not seen a grizzly  bear.We had seen lots of wildlife including black bear, deer, big horn sheep, marmots, and the ever popular mountain goats...but not a single grizzly bear. We head all the stories of fantastic sightings from other campers - in our quest to see a grizzly bear, we had traveled around the park several times and specifically to the East side and the Many Glacier area (where several sightings had been reported) but to no avail. But today that all changed. We packed a picnic lunch and drove back to Many Glacier. Our persistance was rewarded. At about noon we spotted a mom and two cubs - what a way to spend lunch hour! The photo below is of one of the cubs. More pictures are in the slide show at the end of this post.

The park and the campground have really been transformed over the past two weeks. The days are much shorter and the nights much colder. The leaves have turned and started to fall. Only a handful of campers remain in our 194-site campground.  And as the campers have left, the animals (at least the deer) have returned. All this to say, it is a really beautiful, quiet and peaceful – a great time to be in the park.

Yes, it is time to say good-bye for now but we are already looking forward to returning next year. Link to all the photos here.

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