Somber day in Glacier National Park

Had I been home today, I would have attended the memorial of my friend’s sister. Although I was alerted that this day was coming so many months ago, it’s actually difficult to accept that she’s actually gone. She was only a year older than me. How does that happen? My heart is broken into a million pieces for my friend, and for her parents. I cannot fathom what it must be like to have to bury your child.

I’m sitting in a hotel in Whitefish, Montana. Hubs and I spent the day in Glacier National Park. Though it started out sunny, it did not stay like that for long. The weather seemed fitting as I quietly mourned. The scenery and weather combined made for a somber but beautiful and peaceful day. The park is quite crowded, especially if you are driving. The parking lots fill up quickly, and it is suggested that guests take advantage of the free park shuttles. We were unable to do this because our final destination was at the end of Going To The Sun road – a 2.5 hour drive from the starting point. We did a couple short hikes, but mostly stopped at scenic lookouts and admired the landscape. Photos were not a priority because the lighting wasn’t great. But I won’t soon forget the blue lakes, the rushing waterfalls, the snow-capped mountains, the controlled-burnt trees among the lush old growth, and of course the receding glacier in the distance. Even with the dark clouds looming, and finally the dark skies opening up and the rain spilling down, it was beautiful.

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There was a waterfall that we were ready to climb, but we were soon stopped by a hoary marmot!

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The people in front of us had pointed it out to us, and informed us that it was territorial and had chased some people before them. My assumption was that Mr. Marmot was likely protecting babies. Hubs and I continued a little further (I actually sent hubs up further while I waited) and suddenly the marmot showed itself and the staring contest began. I asked hubs if it had claws. Hubs noted that it had very sharp claws. Neither hubs nor marmot was backing down. Hubs decided to go around and started moving to his right. The marmot disappeared – it had ducked back and I was sure it was going to meet hubs on the other side. I should mention that the path was not quite marked and this hike was fairly steep. It was also wet. Hubs told me that we should just turn back. As he back tracked, the marmot popped back to its original perch and it actually started to lunge, but it must of noticed that hubs was working his way away. When we got back down, I asked hubs what was going on through his mind during the stare off. Hubs said he was sizing up the marmot. The marmot is not large, but it’s got serious claws that could tear out your eyes, and he was on higher ground, which obviously put hubs at a disadvantage. All of this lead to hubs’ decision to turn back. It was a good decision because once we got back to the car, the rain started coming down harder. And as I mentioned, the hike is steep. Going up isn’t as bad as coming down.

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We back tracked to see if any parking opened up at Logan. We managed to snag a parking spot, but then it started pouring, which kiboshed any hiking, so we made the decision to continue our drive through the park and towards our hotel.

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The town of Whitefish is bigger than many of the other mid-western towns we have stayed in, and the restaurant options are more diverse. I mentioned to hubs at dinner that the food is progressively improving as we slowly get closer to the west coast. Dinner was at Loulas, where we shared a delicious calamari Caesar┬ásalad, and we each had a fish entree. Hubs had wild salmon with crab, and I had a grilled fillet of Walleye with Creole crawfish butter. I wanted to end the meal with a slice of huckleberry pie, but they were out. Huckleberry seems to be Montana’s berry. I do hope to try something huckleberry before leaving tomorrow. We are heading back into Canada!

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