I don’t want to ever forget the smooth, crystal clear, deep, blue water of Lake McDonald. Last night, out on the kayak and paddleboard with the kids, surrounded by this dreamy water and the mountain range in the background, shrouded in just a bit of forest fire haze. The beach, with such few people on it (and apparently a mountain lion). With every lap of the paddle, I felt like I was dipping into a thick, clear, smooth substance — not water, not ice. We are closer to glaciers; it makes me feel like we are closer to purity.
It’s been another stop where we have been pierced by the presence of friends, some expected and some unexpected. The kids spent the last two weeks with some of their best friends; the adults had rich companionship. We had movie nights and slumber parties, shared hikes and swims and cliff jumps. We bumped into friends at campgrounds and in parking lots. We randomly saw some friends from the Keys and spotted their van at Flathead Lake as we zipped by em route to Idaho. We swapped favorites and shared sunsets. How is it so, that we are miles from any home we’ve ever known yet this surrounded by friends?
- We stayed: Fish Creek Campground (in the park) and Glacier Campground (outside the park)
- We explored: Not only the main thoroughfare of Road to the Sun, but also the alternate corner of Many Glacier.
- We hiked: Avalanche Trail and Trail of the Cedars, McDonald Creek, Hidden Lake, Redrock Falls
- We fished: Apparently fishing is more successful if you are boating, but we still tried (unsuccessfully) McDonald Lake, McDonald Creek, and the Middle Fork of the Flathead.
- We were in the water: Most every hike involved a dive into a creek or lake (see hikes above) but we also enjoyed our time in Lake McDonald (mostly the Fish Creek Campground beach) and around the Old Belton Bridge (the old entrance to Glacier in West Glacier). We also did a float with Glacier Guides (that involved more jumps into the water).
- We ate: This is not a food destination and often found that the local restaurants had weird, unfortunate hours! But we were grateful for some breaks in cooking, especially Sunflower Cafe, La Casita for tacos, Rising Sun for pizza.
- We read: This was not my strongest reading stretch. Lots of friends, lots of late nights. But I started Fools Crow by James Welch.
- Next time (dear god let there be a next time!): Rocky Point Trail, St. Mary/Virginia Falls, Grinnell Glacier, a visit to Polebridge