Thursday, July 16, 2009

Top Ten Glacier Happenings

10. Going-to-the Sun Road: this is pretty much what you do when you come to Glacier. In Yellowstone you see Old Faithful. At the Grand Canyon you peak over the edge. In Crater Lake, you take a boat trip around Wizard Island. This road in Glacier is amazing. I can't believe it was constructed in the 1930's. A little scary, 100 feet had recently been washed away, and there are melting snow waterfalls raining down next to your car as you travel up to Logan Pass. Very steep and not for those who have a fear of ledges. There are many pull-outs for photo opportunities, but the best photos can be purchased in the gift shop at the top. I found all the amateur photographers hanging out of their sun roofs and passenger windows a bit funny.

9. Sitting at the top of Logan Pass in a sudden hail storm and eating a packed lunch in your van. Also smelling a very ripe diaper while you do this and since no one wants to get out, you freeze, and change the lad.

8. Running from your vehicle to the visitor center at the top of Logan Pass.

7. Hiking the short Logan Pass Trail, so we've heard... we were freezing and decided against it. We did hike to Avalanche Lake the next day. I was thinking 2 miles total when I read the 2 mile sign. But that was just 2 miles there and didn't include the 1 mile we had already hiked. I was very proud of myself, packing 35 lbs. of child a total of 6 miles only 4 months after giving birth! But, I was totally not proud of myself when my camera battery died before we made it to the lake and ultimate view. Boohoo, I only have shots of us on our way to Avalanche.

6. Visiting St. Mary's Chalet! Beautiful architecture. Very windy though, at least the day we visited.

5. Almost seeing a bear. Seeing instead all the amateur photographers hanging out of their sun roofs and passenger windows.

4. Deciding to drive around the park from East Glacier to West Glacier, hoping the way back would be faster than the road over since our kids were exhibiting PTSD from being in the van so long, a total of 6 hours.

3. Realizing we were a little lost and ending up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

2. Noticing that everyone on the Rez was lined up in all manner of car waiting for a parade....thinking/joking that it might be buffalo stampede.

1. Deciding to join the locals and wait for whatever they were waiting for.....not buffalo....wild horses! It was awesome and worth the detour. It was a kick-off for a rodeo in honor of a local rising rodeo star who was tragically killed two years ago. I actually got chills seeing the Blackfeet Indians run the wild horses through town. They were excellent horsemen. A local teacher filled us in on the local traditions and horsemen excellence. This teacher was from Wisconsin. He applied for a job in Browning not knowing it was a reservation until he came. He interviewed and accepted the job. He had been teaching for 35 years. Guess he like it.

This experience in Browning again stirred deep questions in me about my ancestors' treatment of Native Americans. The chains of cyclical poverty were so obvious and sad, and yet there was a sense of pride and community too.

I'm a huge fan of Sherman Alexi. He is my second favorite author of all time, John Steinbeck being my first. If you are unaware of what life on a reservation is like read either Reservation Blues or Adventures of a 1/2 Time Indian....or watch Smoke Signals.

Funny, the best thing that happened to us in Glacier was the one thing we didn't plan on. I love that about travel.


marilyn said...

love the wild horse show you will never forget that, DOC

Hans Schneiter said...

Interesting that the highlight wasn't even in the park! It was fun to see the boys getting to know Grammy & Poppy. I loved camping with my grandparents.