Today would be our last day at Glacier, and Tom had another hike in mind.
When we showed up at the trail-head for Avalanche Lake, a ranger was just beginning to gather a small crowd for a guided trek, and we jumped on that wagon for a different hiking experience.
Becca, a tiny bit of a ranger, was enthusiastic and cheerful and had a real knack for sheparding a group of 20 hikers along the trail. At first glance I thought we had fallen in with some professional hikers -- everyone was fully out-fitted in high-brand trekking clothes, and I was in shorts and t-shirt and sneakers! I did have my stun gun and hiking stick, though.
Becca's narrative as we went along was perfect for an explanation of how Glacier National Park was formed – and also served as good resting/stopping points on a fairly steep trail.
Becca stopped at one spot to explain the broken trees and scattered stumps on the ground. As an avalanche thundered down the mountain, seen in the background, the winds generated in front of the avalanche reached over 200 mph causing the trees to snap off --- at snow-depth level -- about 14 feet high! This particular event happened in 2011.
At the lake, Becca turned us loose to explore, giving us as much time as we wanted to enjoy the high altitude lake setting; hiking back out we would be on our own. The location is one of those paradise-type places. A high altitude mountain lake in all its glory, which invites you to linger.
The walk in to Avalanche Lake was 2.5 miles, 2 hours, and the walk out was the same 2.5 miles (mostly downhill) and only one hour! We managed the hike back all on our own, and I was anxious to enjoy a total clean-up/shower back in the Airstream.
The afternoon was a quick 25 mile drive on a mostly unpaved road that ran just outside the park boundary up the west side of the park to the little settlement of Polebridge. Not-quite-a-town, it was the location of a first settlement at the turn of the century, and today is a restaurant destination and a mercantile establishment featuring an impressive bakery! We bought huckleberry bear-claw pastries for breakfast!
This trip got us back to our campsite in time to meet a fellow Airstreamer who was walking his dog. Hello led to --- I have an Airstream on “B” loop. With that in common it took only 2 minutes for us to find that we both grew up in Maryville, TN where his mother worked for my father. OH MY! Not only is the world getting smaller – but the Airstream world is also becoming very personal!
What to do to celebrate our last night in Glacier? Go out to eat at McDonald Lodge -- a wonderful meal, in a beautiful setting! The next morning our Vapor Trail headed for home.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown