January 8, 2012

An Unexpected Hike

In July 1968, we returned to Glacier National Park, Montana, after a short trip through the Canadian Rockies. The family had a "no place like home" sensation when we returned to Glacier because we'd seen nothing like it along our way up the Alaskan Highway. It probably felt that way because we were more familiar with Glacier than with any other place.

When we visited Glacier, we usually stayed at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. The Swiftcurrent was the cheaper cousin of the Many Glacier Hotel; it offered the same access to the best hiking in the park.

We weren't able to get rooms again at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn when we returned from Canada that summer. We instead found lodging at the Rising Sun Motor Inn. The accommodations were fine, but the access to hiking trails wasn't nearly as good as it had been near Many Glacier.

We spent a lot of time in the cabin, reading books and knitting.

My Dad joined a group to pursue the challenging Sperry Chalet Trail from the Lake McDonald area. My Parents decided that he should make that hike without us because the trail would be too rigorous. The guided tour up to Sperry Chalet also involved going part of the way by horseback. I'd taken a bad fall off a horse the previous summer on a cliffside when we had visited Rocky Mountain National Park. My Parents rightly concluded that I'd be a little shy about getting on a horse again—especially in the mountains.

While Dad was off on the Sperry hike, Mom and I decided to wander a bit from the Rising Sun Motor Lodge. We planned to take a short hike in the area. Our "short hike" turned into a day-long adventure right through bear territory.

Fortunately, I had my new camera to record our hike:

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I also was equipped with a bear bell—hung from my belt—to discourage any unwanted visitors:

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Mom and I wandered through spectacular trails, lined with Bear Grass:

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It turned out to be a most memorable day. I remember it as the occasion on which Mom and I truly started to bond:

The next time we visited Glacier, in 1970, Mom, Dad, and I took the longer Gunsight Pass Trail up to Sperry Glacier and the Sperry Park Chalet.

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