Friday, June 28, 2013

Riding across Glacier National Park, MT & Canada

After consecutive visits to Craters of the Moon, Grand Teton and Yellowstone, we still weren't sick of the national park scene, so Spencer and I decided to venture north to Glacier National Park in Montana. 

Known as a hiker's paradise for its backcountry trails and scenic vistas, Glacier is considered one of the most undeveloped parks. Unfortunately, I would be sitting out on most of the vigorous hikes due to a stress fracture in my ankle. (Note to self: Do not attempt to lift 40-pound puppy out of a massive Chevy diesel truck.) 

When we arrived in mid-June, we were surprised to find out that some of the roads weren't open until the end of the month. Although this threw a wrench into some of our plans, we appreciated the emptiness of the park and our campground, which was mostly unoccupied. 

It's rare to find a solitary moment in any tourist destination, even in places made famous for their wilderness. In Glacier, we had the opportunity to pretend what it would be like to be among the first to lay eyes on these impressive mountains, valleys and lakes. 

Established as America's 10th national park in 1910, Glacier wasn't easily accessible until completion of the Great Northern Railway in 1891. I pictured what it was like centuries before then, when tribes would trek across the mountains in search of bison roaming the plains. 

Glacier isn't just known for its natural beauty, the park is also famous for some of its architecture. One of our favorites was Lake McDonald Lodge, a Swiss-chalet style hotel with stunning views of the glaciers jutting out of the lake. 

Just outside the park is a delightful general store and bakery, Polebridge Mercantile, which has served the community in some form for more than 100 years. 

Hands down, it has the best bear claws you will ever eat. I sample a lot of pastries, so I should know. 

You can also chow down on some delicious rolls and cookies, too. (There are some wonderfully fragrant goat's milk lotions -- not recommended for eating, though.) 

Since we were so close to Canada, Spencer and I took a scenic motorcycle ride across the border to see the Canadian side of the park, known as the Waterton Lakes National Park

The littlest border crossing that could.

Inside the park, we stopped for lunch at one of Waterton's famous landmarks, the Prince of Wales Hotel. Built in 1926-27, the hotel looks like an enormous alpine ski chalet, overlooking the water with glaciers that dwarf it like a dollhouse. 

I'll have a side of lunch with this view.
As you can see, the Canadian side of the park is equally as beautiful as its American counterpart. Riding across the border on the motorcycle reminded us how big this world is (especially when you're sandwiched between two mountains) and how many more places we have to explore. On to the next stop! 


  1. Rachel, it's so much fun to follow the both of you through your blog! I'm guessing the photos are taken w/ the camera I gave you for Christmas. It takes fab photos but the photographer gets credit too. Talk soon. Love, Paula

  2. If you can find your way to Griffiths Hill then you are doing good. You'll know if you've made it because there's a viewing tower there (see map legend). motorcycle shipping


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