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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Good-bye Glacier


On Wednesday October 2nd we pulled in the slides and raised the levelers and pulled out of Apgar Campground site A-2 – our home since July 25.

On Tuesday, one day into the government shutdown we were invited to attend the park-wide shut down informational meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to cover the procedure for shutting down the park and to answer employee questions concerning the furlough. Interestingly enough, while the park staff was frustrated their main concern was not for themselves but instead seemed to be for the protection and safety of the park. Basically, the shutdown followed the same procedures that would be put into place in the event of a natural disaster - a forest fire, for example. A twenty-five person incident team was put into place. Most of this team would continue to work without pay. Everyone else was given 4 hours to shut down. All entrances, roads and trails were closed, as was our campground.

At the close of the meeting, JoAnne and I said good-bye to many of the rangers and law enforcement officers we had worked with. We wished them the best of luck with hopes that the shutdown would not last too long.

This was not how we had planned to leave. While we were told we could stay, we felt it was time for us to say good-bye. We needed to head back to the RV and begin packing up. But first we decided to take one last drive along McDonald Lake on the Going-to-The-Sun Road to Avalanche – the road was barricaded and closed at this point.

It is hard to describe our feelings as we drove a road that was typically filled with tourists. It had been raining on and off for at least 10 days. The upper peaks were covered with snow and the rivers were filled with the runoff. The park was deserted; it looked and felt wild and untamed - glacial. In a strange way, it felt like the park had been given back to itself. We had never experienced the park like this. Glacier was beautiful and even a bit haunting. It was easier to imagine what its first human inhabitants must have experienced. While we wish the circumstances the lead to our departing drive could have been different we left Glacier with a new respect for this magnificent park.

We are now in Columbia Falls waiting for our Honda Fit to be repaired. Yep, I backed into a tree. Our plan is to leave early next week for Palm Springs via Hwy 395. If by chance the Shutdown ends, we will stop at Yosemite. We had originally planned on staying in BLM and Forest Service campgrounds. We will now look for other options, including State Parks, unaffected boondocking sites and probably some Walmart parking lots on our way to Sam’s Family Spa and RV Resort.

For now, good-bye to wonderful memories and hello to new adventures.

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