Thursday, July 27, 2006

Trip to Glacier - Day 5

We leave the east side of the park and take the Going to the Sun Road to our new lodgings in West Glacier. We stop along the way to soak up any view that catches our eye, and to hike along the trails to the little beauties that lie just off the road.

At sun point we look over St. Mary lake to the mountains that now circle around us. We hike to Baring falls where I fall in love all over again, and decide that Glacier must be haunted by water nymphs, and that I would like to be one.

We make our way up to Logan pass, climbing higher and higher. In the pass we stop and marvel at the glacier lilies springing up through the fresh green grass like glowing golden stars. We drive by a white mountain goat posed perfectly on a rocky outcropping. We drive along the side of the Garden Wall mountain ridge and suddenly we are looking out over the most magical valley I've ever seen. The mountain sky glows jewel blue above. A vivid green cloaks the lower slopes of the mountains as they slide down into the broad glacial U that cradles McDonald Creek. The rocky upper faces still hold onto the winter and spring snows. Bird Woman Falls flows from a hanging valley carved out of the peak of a mountain, cupped like a hand offering a blessing. Made silent by distance, the rushing water looks like a tracing of cobweb, and closer by and farther off other falls glint like silver white embroidery in the green velvet of the mountain slopes.

We drive along the Garden Wall to the Loop, where the road cuts one sharp switchback and dives into the valley to follow the creek to Lake McDonald. The limestone not only gives the lakes their vivid jade color, but turns the creek to turquoise as it bubbles in surging rapids and deep pools.

We stop at the Lake McDonald lodge to browse the gift store. Huckleberry syrup, chocolates, and even gummy bears abound. Here we have our first casualty (and it's really amazing that we went so long without one). A giant boat hitch jumps off of the back of a pickup truck and attacks poor Amy, who is on the ground before we can beat it off. Stupid extra long boat hitches.

Without further mishap, we do eventually arrive at our posh new cabin, with it's two bathrooms, beds for fourteen, full kitchen, and a second story window you could jump out of and walk away without a scratch. Amy considers taking that leap, but decides she's starting out scratched so it's probably not the best idea.

Good friends, good food, good fun, and a comfortable bed. A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

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