Today we woke up to a beautiful Montana sunrise. This is why they call it ‘Big Sky Country,’I thought to myself as I watched it engulf us.
We packed up quickly and headed off towards Glacier National. It wasn’t long before we saw rolling hills, followed by the jagged peaks of the Rockies. They were gorgeous. We seemed to drive alongside them for what seemed like hours until we finally entered them directly. The straight road we drove on became a perilous roller coaster of twists and turns, ascending and then descending through the mountains. It was amazing to watch the flatland of Montana transform into massive ranges of mountains. Eventually, we reached the entrance and went to the nearest ranger station to ask about backcountry trails. The rangers in the visitor’s center were extremely helpful, and told us that, unfortunately, most of the backcountry campsites were full, but still gave us a handful of other possible sites that we could use along with several day hikes. They all raved about a loop in southern Glacier called Dawson-Pitamakan. They claimed that if you really wanted to see Glacier’s backcountry, then that was the trail to take. The trail itself was 19 miles, and involved 3,000 feet of vertical gain, along with another 3,000 feet back down. For some reason, we decided to do it tomorrow. It sounds pretty intense, but I guess we will just have to see. Either way it will be a good workout.
Next on our agenda was to fill the rest of our day with hiking. After driving through the middle of the park and running into significant traffic due to road construction, we decided to hike the Logan’s Pass trail.
We parked, put on our packs, and headed off into the mountains. Logan’s Pass is a gorgeous meadow of green grass and blooming flowers smack in the middle of several snow-capped jagged peaks. I can’t imagine anyone not being awe-inspired here through His presence in nature, and especially through His amazing creation. It’s as if God handed this land to mother nature and, unlike most of the U.S., she still clearly owns it. The wildlife here aren’t afraid of people. In fact, the goats will walk alongside you on the trail, and wild marmot will allow you to walk right up to them, and even the squirrels carry on as if you weren’t there. This park is magical! Thank you, God.
We continued on down the valley, but not down into it. The trail took us alongside the mountain, spiraling with the mountain curves while the valley lay thousand of feet below. From where we were, we could watch water come off of the snow melt and down through the crevasses and cracks in the mountains, and finally find a resting place in the creek below.
Once we achieved the pass, we could look down the valley and see all the mountains that made it. It was breath-taking. I didn’t want to ever have to leave. That’s one of the most amazing things about this trip. That God is temporarily drawing me here even though I live in West Lafayette, Indiana. why is a hoosier from flatland Indiana in the middle of the Rockies? When I find out I’ll let you know.
Before going back, Peter and I attempted to climb near the top of one of the nearby mountains, but turned back when we realized that there were mountain lion droppings everywhere. So we headed back. On the way, we were privileged enough to see a baby goat with its mother, and then we saw a large male goat right outside the parking lot.
We got back, unloaded and headed towards one of the many campsites recommended to us by rangers. We drove through and around the park only to find it completely full. We were out of luck, tired and frustrated, so we started driving out of the park where we figured we could sleep at a rest stop.
Fortunately, by a miracle, there was a farm that we hadn’t noticed before that offered campgrounds to travelers. We didn’t know what to think as we pulled into the complex. As we parked and walked into the inn, a nice lady greeted us and we explained our story to her. She was excited to host us and quickly gave us a tour after we paid (which, by the way, we were a dollar short, and she insisted that it wasn’t a big deal). She showed us the shower house and the bathrooms. They were very nice amenities and accessible to everyone camping there. God was clearly present in that series of events, and as I sit here in my tent near the inn, I can’t help but pray He remains to be this present and that I’m ever aware of Him.