Saturday, July 3, 2010

Roadtrips Rock

Years ago, Josh used to rock climb with a girl (J) we went to college with. She got married, had a baby and Josh and I both moved to Utah and then got married. While I was in labor with Sierra, Josh and I happened to go for a walk to Target and run into this lady again. It turned out our kids were pretty close in age and she's the one who got me through the early days of nursing uncertainty with a first baby. Fast forward a bit, the family moved to Montana and we were sad :-( We ended up both having second babies pretty close together and then Josh got a job in, of all places, Montana! So we've been able to reconnect with this couple that we get along well with, plus it just so happens that between us we have 4 girls who are well matched age-wise.

After we moved up, J let me know that their family was taking a trip to Flathead Lake for 4th of July and had extra room in their rental house and we were welcome to join them. Josh can't really be taking time off work yet, but there was no reason we couldn't make a weekend of it, so we headed on up! Saturday morning, we watched this doe and her fawn from the deckand then we took the short drive up to Glacier National Park. Since we expect to be visiting quite a few National Parks in the near future, we went ahead and got an Annual Parks Pass. The annual pass will get us into most of the sites run by the National Parks Service and using it 2 or 3 times (depending on the location) will pay it off.
We started out by stopping at the Visitor's Center at Apgar to pick up a National Parks passport (we've never had one before, but with the high hopes of visiting quite a few parks while we're out here, we thought it was time to start) and get our first (and later, our second) stamp We also picked up a Junior Ranger Booklet for Sierra. The Junior Ranger requirements are slightly different at different parks, but at Glacier, she had to do 6 worksheets that helped her learn about Glacier National Park and attend 1 ranger-led activity to complete the program.

Unfortunately, it was very cloudy and rainy and a hike was out of the question, but we did drive the Going-To-The-Sun Road up to Logan's Pass:
pretty early on, we went through this tunnel, which the girls thought was neat, and I started taking pictures thinking this was the really cool scenery (I had no idea what was to come) Immediately after "The Loop" we stopped at a pull out to look around and another family took our picture for usThis is the view down from where we are in the previous picture. Again, we thought we were pretty high upA little while later, we got to the first big waterfall. They have the road built so the water fall goes through a little tunnel under the roadThey are doing some road work and since the road is impassable through the winter (in fact, they just got the whole thing plowed and opened about a week ago), the work must happen during the summer. So there are short sections that are only one lane and you have to wait for a few minutes while they alternate the traffic. While waiting, we watched these clouds roll up the mountainWe made it up to our destination! We were very surprised by the temperature. Our best guess was that it was about 30 degrees cooler up there than down at the park entrance (mid to high 30's...maybe). We were NOT dressed warm enough to be outside for long! If we come back, I will pack our down jackets, no matter what time of year it is!Inside the visitor's center, the girls compared their hands to the size of a grizzly bear paw printAfter listening to a short talk about the glaciers, Sierra was ready to finish out her Junior Ranger program (she had done the worksheets in the car during the more boring parts of the drive). She got her certificate signed, took a short little oath, then the ranger announced to everyone that they had a new junior ranger and everyone clapped for her. She looked like she wasn't sure if she should smile or cry, but she was very proud afterwardsSierra with her badge (pics taken after we got home)There is still A LOT of snow up at the Logan's Pass visitor's center and the girls got to throw a couple of snowballs before we were all frozen and ready to get back in the heated car!As we were getting ready to head back down, the weather started to clear a little bit and the sun came out. Josh got three pictures of the surrounding mountains that we stitched together when we got home. Not the best panorama in the world, but you can get an idea of how gorgeous it was! (click the picture to see it bigger) We're wanting to go back and try to catch the park on a good weather dayOn the way back down, I was next to the mountain, so I got some better pictures of the weeping wall (the girls loved it when the water fell on the car)A good illustration of why they have strict rules about the length and width of vehicles that are allowed to drive this roadAn area that had a forest fire in 2003We stopped to look at McDonald Creek on the way outLake McDonald (glacial lake)Just outside the park, there is a Canadian Information center and we got to sit in this bobsled.

We all had a lot of fun. Actually, the next day, Sedona even asked if we could drive up the mountain again! We spent the 4th going to a parade, which was fun for Sierra once I convinced her that I would not let the guy dressed as Smokey the Bear come talk to her. Back in Texas, she had been to parades, but they weren't allowed to throw candy (liability issue with kids running up to the cars/floats), so this was her first parade to collect candy and she thought that was pretty neat. Sunday we headed home and now it's time to get back into our routine!


Anonymous said...

Wow wow wow it just looks amazing.
It's funny because when we lived in
CA we took the kids to Mt. Lassen
Park over July 4th and that was the first weekend that it had been open for the summer. We had an RV and the snow pack was taller than our RV the kids had such a great time. Sure looks like Sierra had a good time and looked so proud of herself. I am glad you guys had such a good time.
Love ya, Gram

Snyder Central said...

I'm jealous. You needed DOWN coats. Here, well, ya know, not so much. I won't be jealous in the winter though. It's beautiful up there.

The Mama said...

So amazing! I'm jealous right now, down here with our 90 degree temperatures and 800% humidity! Glad y'all are having fun!

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