Glacier National Park
Over Labor Day weekend, we added an extra day to our long weekend and headed to Montana to see Glacier National Park. After picking up our friends, our trip started at 6am with a stop at a local Seattle cafe, Zeitgeist. We couldn't pass up a photo-op with our donuts and our favorite adventure shirts :) After a few early morning photos in the streets of an empty Seattle, we hit the road to Montana.
I've only been to seven National Parks so far, but Glacier National Park is, by far, the most beautiful National Park I've visited. This park has so much to offer to everyone who makes the trip to Glacier. The first night that we spent in the park was very cold and rainy. As someone who is not an avid camper, I was not too excited! I was hoping to do some astrophotography on the first night, but due to the rain, I decided to hold off.
The next morning brought some much needed warmth and sunshine. After our campfire breakfast, we set out on our hike.
The trail the group decided on was Grinnell Glacier trail. This trail is takes visitors to one of the few remaining glaciers in the park. According to the park rangers, the glaciers will be gone by 2020, so go see them while you can! :(
The first half of the trail was pretty flat and very gorgeous. The entry took us around a lake then into the trees where we were able to see a moose, a little too close for comfort!
About an hour into the hike, it started to rain! Luckily, it didn't last long and we were able to keep hiking, and thus ended the flat part of the hike, and we began our climb.
As we made the climb, the clouds started to part, and the trail opened up to reveal the most beautiful turquoise lake and colorful rock faces. This park is unlike anything we had ever seen. The hike started to get long and painful but this view definitely made up for it.
Now, as I stated in my Crater Lake post, I am not the most avid hiker. I mostly tag along to take pictures :) This hike became a lot more intense than I had planned. Around the 3 hour mark of the hike, my friend Hannah and I decided to find a nice spot in the sun, with a view of the rest of the park of course, and wait for our boyfriends to finish the hike to the glacier. There was still about 2 miles left, and our legs were like jelly at this point. This gave us the opportunity to take photos of the park and the wildlife.
Sitting on a rock face, high above the rest of the park, we watched at the clouds open and reveal a single sun beam that landed in the center of the turquoise lake. This scene was something from a painting or a postcard. Mountain sheep and deer ran along the lake, not phased by all of the hikers. Water cascaded down cliff faces, providing a moment of relief from the heat for the animals and hikers who passed. From where we sat, we were surrounded by mountains housing glaciers that would no longer exist in 5 short years. We knew this would likely be our only opportunity to see the remaining glaciers before they melted. 7,000 years ago these glaciers were formed; remnants of the little ice age. 7,000 years of the glaciers' existence within the park, and we were able to witness the final years.
That night, I was able to set up for some astrophotography. Since our campsite was close to the lodge, the lights from the surrounding buildings caused some light pollution. However, it's hard to be mad when the colors turned out this beautifully. Astrophotography gives one the ability to see many more stars than the eyes will allow. The sensitivity of the sensor pulls light that is not visible when standing and taking in this view in person. The way I see it, astrophotography provides a lens, a physical one and metaphorical one at that, to allow the user to see into space. The camera reveals galaxies, planets, and constellations, not visible to the human eye.
The next morning, we left for home. On the way out of the park, we stopped at Lake McDonald. If you ever find yourself in Glacier National Park, I highly recommend stopping at this lake! The pebbles are a wide spectrum of colors and the water is a gorgeous blue. Walking down the beach is like walking on a rainbow :)
This park has so much to offer everyone who visits. Even if you aren't an avid hiker, there are many things you can still experience. On the drive into the park, with each turn, a new sight reveals itself more beautiful than the last. At the very least make the drive through the park, you wont regret it!