Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where mountain and sky meet

A few of you have been asking about this trip so here it is. Matt and I have a way of not blogging about magical, life-changing experiences. It's just too hard. My pictures and words can't do it justice so it just seems easier to leave it all there in my memory, a haunting one that is. Everyone who came on this trip with us would agree. You just can't fit the mindblowing beauty of Glacier in a blog.

gathering tons of sweet-tart apples outside our Super 8 in Missoula

This is where it all starts. "Here is the place where clouds are made. Where the ice melts into whispering rivulets which form dashing cascades, these flowing into lakes of wondrous beauty, where exquisitely beautiful landscapes of never ending variety meet the wondering gaze from every direction, where mountain and sky meet." -- Murton J. Elrod

The gang: Papa, Stan, Martin, Adie, Jarom, Joey, Emily, Darin, Heather, Bella, Oey, Candice, Mikie, Me, Matt, Nick and Kyle. Heather started to blog about it but never got past our amazing group. Check it out here. And here's another one of hers about the trip.

umm . . . frolicking in Lake McDonald

Boys will be boys.

Hanging out at Lake McDonald, or should I say waiting for part of our group. It did take us a while to do anything since our group was so large.

taking the shoreline around the lake to the Rocky Point trail and lookout

Bella was all about surprises. Watch out Adie!!

The beauty everywhere just makes your soul burst!!

Adie made the first night's dinner. We all chipped in. Matt added his famous meatless meatballs.

The kids played all night on this bad girl. That's right, the van is a she.

We didn't waste anytime hanging around our campsites. This second day I think we hiked around 7 miles. This is Stanton Mountain over Johns Lake.

This is to remind me of what I want my pool to look like. McDonald Creek.

Bell is just a natural.

kids never get sick of water and rocks (Sacred Dancing Cascade)

standing out in McDonald Falls

We crossed bridges and walked through enchanted forests. You never want it to stop. We all had smiles on our faces that could not be removed. This trip had been in the works for months and months, and we were finally there!!!

McDonald Falls

Avalance Gorge on the way up to Avalanche Lake.

the gorgeous Avalanche Lake

We were not prepared for such beauty.

Found the perfect mud. We all wanted to be adorned with it. To let it sink in and bake, to never forget.

This is how it always starts. And then slowly clothes start to come off. But not this time. They went down for the count and got everything soaked!!

The more we are together in nature the happier will be!

My family xo

Bella was soaked so she got a nice new outfit: Heather's scarf for a skirt and her shirt tied around her top. My little mountain goat.

Here we go. beginning GOING-TO-THE-SUN ROAD. The most beautiful road to drive in all the US!

Everything is too good to be true, and there is NO doubt in your mind that someone on high loves YOU! The hymn For the Beauty of the Earth just played in my head the whole time!!

Roads built right over running water and waterfalls, and if you click on this pic you can see the cute red car. One of the original tour buses (Red Jammers) that are still in use today.

It is just neverending beauty, it's overwhelming and then you just can't get enough.

At the top they have the most amazing visitors center. You can see a little of Bella's magic mud left on her face.

They found little cute furry friends that are called Columbian ground squirrels. They make cute clicking and squeaking sounds. They even pet one (against the rules, we know).

check it out

Thank goodness for Two Sister ("near Babb", Montana)! They served our party of 16 right before closing, while we were struggling to find a legit place to sleep for the night. Great food and atmosphere.

This trip had a ton of loading and unloading. We camped here one night in the aspens. The wind blew and howled all night through the leaves. It just centers you, you know exactly where you are and where you belong. This is our second campsite, at Johnson's Campground.

Leaving from our new campsite #3, at Rising Sun back in the park, on the east side. The most bear sightings in the park were here, which is where we chose to go on our overnight backpacking trip to Otokomi Lake. A first for my babes!

it's a trap!

I started out with O. He even took a nap on me. I was so hot and had never had such a great work out.

Fortunately Heather came up behind me with Jarom at about halfway. We traded. It was nice but then I never saw them again till the top. I slowed way down with Jar bear.

This guy is in no hurry.

Which was nice because then Bella and Matt caught up with us.

Not only is this Jarom's first backpacking trip, but he had his own pack and carried his own sleeping bag.

Dink dink....

Here Matt is at the end, with his and Jarom's backpacks stacked.

fields of gold

We all set up camp and started dinner. It was nice to see O in good spirits and everyone else. You can't tell but it was FREEZING! And I don't do well in the cold. So right after dinner O and I went back to our tent to hide from the wind.

Good morning. Sad story here- Jarom had no extra layers but was able to bum a coat off Nick, but we used it for a sleeping bag for Oey instead (we didn't have room in our packs for one). Bella, O and I each had one long-sleeved shirt. But our new backpacking tent was warm enough so we could sleep. I felt like an awful mom though. I was so cold that I couldn't stand it, but the kids never complained. A backpacking miracle. We found later that we HAD brought Jarom's jacket, just stuffed in a side pocked we never explored. Oops.

nestled in the trees with the bears and mountain goats

Purifying some water before our trek back down. I wanted to get moving asap, because I was so cold. I knew it would warm me up. And because it took us soo long to get there I didn't want everyone to have to wait for us at the bottom.

On our way to breakfast. You eat and sleep in two different places for your safety. I ran up and down a couple of times to try to warm up.

trekking back

And then we were off once more. The sun breaking through the clouds lit the way.

We really wanted to get a nice head start but could not resist the huckleberries. We picked a couple bags full. The kids LOVED them. Oey kept asking for more.

Matt started with Oey this time, since he didn't have him at all the day before. He had him for a good part of the trail. But for some reason we traded, and me, Bell and O were on our own for the rest of the way. It started raining and never stopped. I held Oey close and Bell and I were trail runners. Bella never asked to stop or slow down. She did say she was cold a few times. I felt her pain. Again I felt like a bad mom for not being more prepared. She was such a angel. Jarom ended up freezing cold so Matt carried his pack for him again. They were such troopers!

coming back in the rain

We were pleased to say we beat the group and were able to get out of our wet clothes. All in all it is about a 10.5 hike total. It was cold and I felt bad for my kids who were being angels, but it was so worth it!! Problem is, once you are wet you kind of stay wet.

the famous Wild Goose Island

us xoxo

Had to wash clothes. We weren't the only ones. Usually when you are camping you can wear the same thing over and over again, but after hiking in the rain and the kids falling in the lake. They were wearing their last warm clothes, and it was still raining off and on. You know you need backups . Thank goodness for St. Mary!

We treated ourselves to homemade berry pie and ice cream at the Park Cafe.

the sun broke through! just barely, before the Two Medicine Singers and Dancers show in St. Mary

Blackfeet dancers. That night we got to hear their stories with tears in our eyes and watch them perform such lively, earth shaking dances, drum beats in sync with our heartbeats. And then to top it off we got to join them in their last dance, the friendship circle. We also did that last year at Havasupai. We were just glowing that we got to do it two years in a row with different tribes, both so forgiving and loving.

the shawl dance

Moose eyeing us, just a couple of feet away.

Running Eagle Falls. If it would have been warm, it looked like the most perfect swimming hole you could imagine!!

hanging on the rail outside of Serranos (good Mexican food) in East Glacier Park, where we hung out some of the day
Beauty encircles us. Looking down into the St. Mary valley, through what's left from the Red Eagle Fire in 2006.

Bella directing her play, starring Darin.

pretty cute!

Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake.

a tour of the historic hotel

". . . People are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home . . ." -- John Muir

Thank goodness no one fell in. Just one wet bottom sat in it!

The rain cleared for just enough time to have one last group dinner. We had a nice cozy fire that we all crowded around while Matt made us his stuffed pocket treats of goo and chocolate.

getting sworn in as junior rangers

Back in Missoula for dinner at the yummiest place, The Bridge Pizza.

Oey diggin in.


The next day we couldn't leave without riding the craved Missoula carousel.

Kids didn't mind that at all.

But we still couldn't tear ourselves away so we hung out in the parking lot talking, painting our nails mermaid green (which I still have on, I love looking down at my toes and all these good memories come flooding back).

The real last chow down at Taco Del Sol and then real goodbyes.

We parted ways and made our first stop just after an hour of driving south to Deer Lodge, to visit Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.

I love old homes

Texas longhorns in the field

kids got to feed the chickens

and practice their roping skills

Back on the road toward home!

the Twin Falls temple

Dinner, before everyone passed out on the last 4 hours home. I have a million more photos and stories to tell. But like I said it would never be enough. Congrats to you for making it through and I hope you will go to Glacier and experience its grand beauty for yourself.


moonshinejunkyard said...

Amy what a beautiful story. i want to cry reading it, knowing i was a part of it and seeing it again after a couple months. the way you explain it and the quotes you choose are so perfect...it's so true...the mountains are home and they are the real god and good and beauty and where we need to be, together of course in that greatest way. it is truly a spiritual experience and now i want to go listen to that hymn you mentioned to be able to remember it and also to think about that feeling. i loved it all so much. it had to do with everything - even the difficulty of getting everyone moving and the slowness (sometimes) of hiking and the rain and cold and bears and fear. also of course the aqualine blue and the way you want your swimming pool to be (ME TOO) and the faces of your gorgeous perfect children and the face of the earth in the rocks and trees and waterfalls and native dancers and us ourselves, our friends and loved ones so blessed to be here together. anyway, thanks for posting this. you did a wonderful job and i am grateful and can't wait to see you. i love you and all of you!

The Madsen's said...

I've always wanted to visit Glacier Park, its so beautiful. Great pictures :)

Redferns said...

Ahhh I absolutely love camping and I haven't been in way too long. I'm so jealous of you adventures! Next time you have to invite me. And your family is adorable! I miss you guys:(

Life on Pelican Street said...

happy birthday matt.

Jedediah Stout said...

WOW! Thats a fun trip. Trip of a lifetime. So true about more time in nature making your family more happy.

mooncowboy said...

Definitely--and you Jed (lucky) know this better than most people!