After a relaxing day spent at Flathead Lake on the Sunday of my trip I was back at it with my final grand adventure: Glacier National Park. This park had been at the top of my list forever. I had heard so much about it's beauty and pristine atmosphere and I was ecstatic to go.
Unfortunately this area is one of the areas being devastated by wildfires in Montana so I had to adjust my itinerary a bit at the very last minute because the conditions were constantly changing.
My original plan was to go in through the West side of the park (hence my overnight stay in Missoula), and take a red bus tour because I wanted to see as much as I could in as little of time as I had. Unfortunately they had cancelled all red bus tours because of the fires, and the entire west side of the park was closed.
But, I was still determined to make the best of it, so I adjusted and came up with a new plan.
I had to wake up at 3:30am because the east entrance to Glacier was about 5 and a half hours from where I was staying. So, I got up, through on my last hiking outfit I had packed, and on I went. It was dark fro the majority of my drive, but around 7:45 the sun started to rise and to the left of the road I was on I could see the vast glaciers and mountains looming over the horizon. My heart sank in a good way, and I continued on.
I got to St. Mary's lodge right around 9:00 and stopped to use the restroom and get my bearings for the day. My plan was relatively simple because of the limited access I had: enter the park, drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, stop for any and every picture I could take, make it to Logan's Pass, and hike a few miles of the Highline Trail. And, I did just that.
I had an extremely clear day so my pictures at St. Mary's Lake and of Wild Goose Island were absolutely breath-taking. However, as I got closer and closer to Logan's Pass (driving west) smoke from the fires started to take over the sky. Fortunately the winter weather had helped in putting out the fires so that crisis is nearing it's end.
Overall it was the perfect last park trip on my adventures. It was quiet, clear, and beautiful. I hiked about 8 miles and completely cleared my head. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit all of these beautiful parks and I cannot wait for more trips out west!