Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Glacier National Park 2012

Blog Post by Mika and Shannon
October 12-14, 2012

Aaah, Polebridge. During my first trip to Glacier a couple years ago, my group camped a few miles from this cute lil’ cluster of nostalgic wood-planked buildings, became weekend frequenters, and probably ate through their entire supply of huckleberry bearclaws. Wilderness and Civvies? Same story. Three days in Glacier, three days at Polebridge. Yumm!

About an hour into our drive up to Glacier we stopped to talk with Marcel Huijser about efforts to provide safe crossings for wildlife on Highway 93. He was a wealth of information on the subject and very passionate about the projects he’s involved in. After a brief introduction on the different kinds of crossings and their importance, we headed down the road to examine three different crossing sites. It’s incredible the diverse species that make use of the crossing, the cameras have caught footage of wildlife ranging from grizzly bears to turtles. Marcel Huijser’s knowledge on the subject was truly remarkable. In our three hour lesson I learned more than I ever thought possible on highway wildlife crossings.

During Day 1 Visit to Polebridge, Natalie surprised us with a homework assignment. Shoulda known. I was skulking a bit until she began reading us a third-grader’s letter to us, explaining that he was coming to us as “Flat Josiah”, a lamenated cutout of a third-grader from New Mexico who wanted some Montana adventure. He wanted to go to the circus, the zoo, and the carnival. Well, we saw a toad in the trail and were dive-bombed by camp-robber birds. Zoo, check. Our tents, with their little glowing headtorches inside and raucous laughter definitely qualify as circus. Carnival: erm, still working on that one, Josiah.

Day 2 dawned and as soon as we got some hot food into our bodies (and managed to actually wake Hannah and Kayla up), we grabbed the bearspray and U-Dig-Its and hit the trail toward Numa Point; about 6 miles up and paralleling Bowman Lake. There was a light drizzle of rain misting our faces and we lost ourselves in the joy of wonderful, simple movement. After weeks of nose-in-book and essay after essay, this was the vacation we needed. Glacier was our Bahamas, but a little bit colder and hillier.
On Sunday we decided to do a shorter hike in order to get back to Missoula at a reasonable hour. After some debate we settled on the popular Avalanche Lake hike near Lake McDonald. It was the sixth or seventh time on the hike for some but it was my first, and it was incredible! We got rained on a bit but it was actually pretty refreshing, although we didn’t linger at the lake for very long. We spent a few moments taking in the towering mountains and waterfalls, got a few pictures and headed on our way. The hike is two miles long each way through a beautiful cedar tree forest.  It was a great hike to do in the fa ll to avoid the infamous crowds in the summer months.  

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