Things were looking good! Our drive from Idaho into Montana, destination Glacier, was going quite well. Our infant was taking his morning nap in the car, and the older two seemed interested in the views out the back windows of our van. A few "Jesus Songs" completed the atmosphere.
We drove along side the Cabinet Mountains, beautiful. Two things made our six hour long drive to Glacier doable.....a soccer game at a rest stop and a hike.
We pulled in so I could nurse the babe, and the older two had an exciting game of soccer with dad. We have two balls, one for each of the boys. These helped make our trip more enjoyable. We played a lot of soccer.
We spontaneously decided to stop at Kootenai Falls which had a swinging bridge. We only hiked about a mile in and a mile out, if that. It doesn't take too long to get to the swinging bridge, which was the goal. Getting to the falls would have taken longer. Our oldest ran across the bridge first, bouncing the rest of us in his wake. It was a favorite for me because I like to see my husband be a bit out of his element. I learned after about six years of marriage that he has a fear of ledges, so this bridge qualified as a ledge. (I discovered this four years ago when we hiked to the top of the Mayan Ruins.) It was a bit unnerving watching him cross with a wiggly baby in the front pack. The middle son and I took up the rear. The bridge has a five person limit per crossing, so our whole family could cross at the same time. When you arrive at the other side there is a large sign commemorating 12 lives that have been lost in the river near this spot. I told myself they were all deaths related to those who chose to swim in the turbulent waters below and not those who tried to cross the bridge and somehow lost footing and went tumbling below.
It was a beautiful hike and a perfect leg stretcher for those traveling to Glacier.
The only mistake in our travels was waking my second son from his car nap to eat at Subway in Kalispell. He is a beast when he is woken up prematurely. He screamed the whole 35 mins. we were in Subway. Finally, his daddy took him out to the van to scream and let those inside munch in peace.
The drive from Kalispell to Glacier is very short, so we were lucky that he cheered up sooner than later. We weren't looking forward to making camp with the "beast" on the prowl.
We needed a full hook-up for the Grandparent's 5th wheeler, so we weren't able to camp inside Glacier. We ended up at a KOA just outside the actual boundaries. I now know why as a child my parents rarely took us to these luxury campgrounds...a bit spendy, but actually very worth it with young kids. My oldest remarked, "I thought we were going to a park. Where is the park?" This is what he asked after we went through the gates of Glacier. So, our KOA, located in West Glacier, had a real playground with play structure and sand volleyball venue. It also had a pool, which was a total success. (Until my youngest made a "deposit" in it one night.) And
Note: I saw three different people clean the bathrooms near us in one afternoon, so I am a big fan. It was great to have flushing toilets and warm showers.
Our oldest loved riding his bike and making friends and even though we were surrounded by other trailers, instead of forests, it fit our kids' likings well. I don't have any regrets.
Another kid highlight was the Canadian Visitor Center located in West Glacier. It had stuffed animals and a large dinosaur. My husband explained that the animals died and were stuffed for the displays. Our oldest stared long and hard at a Canadian Mountie mannequin, "Who killed him?"
That was pretty much a full day for us. We traveled north on 95 out of Coeur d'Alene, east on 200, north again on 56, and then east all the way on 2.
The entire drive was very scenic and felt like we were traveling through the set for A River Runs Through It. I love that movie; it is still one of my favorites. I love the themes, but also love the setting of the mountain rivers of Montana. I'm always a sucker for movies set in the Roaring 20's...having Brad Pitt's boyish grin was also a plus when I first viewed this movie a good two decades ago. This was very pre-Angelina.
Next.....The Park Itself...