Posted by: Angela | July 15, 2006

Heresy In National Park

So when we moved here to Northwest Montana, I determined that we were going to enjoy those things that were unique to here. I have always thought we didn’t do it enough in Texas or Florida. So here we have a national park in our backyard (relatively speaking) and we have purchased our park pass. Now Glacier National Park (GNP) so far as I have seen is splendid. Every time we have went things have changed, snow melts and reveals the peaks, flowers bloom and fade for new ones, the levels of the rivers and streams change. So I completely understand why people spend a lot of time and money to visit.

But….On Wednesday, we decided to go hiking at GNP on one of the most popular trails, Avalanche Lake. The last attempt we made we only made it about half way up (if that) in the rain with J. and D. with their two kids. So this time, it was declared by my husband we were going all the way. So off we go. In true fashion for our family we don’t leave the house until close to 11 am and by the time we get to GNP it is lunch time. So we eat which actually meant one less backpack up the trail. Then we set off with darling daughter whining immediately about wanting to be carried. This is why it would be good to leave earlier, then we would not be starting at naptime. So she goes into the backpack and we set off.

The first section of the hike is really cool as it parallels Avalanche Gorge where this creek is rushing down. Now this trail is very popular. It isn’t too long about 4 miles round trip which makes it about two or three hours. Plus it starts at a place with lots of parking. The trail is relatively wide which means two people can walk side by side if no one is coming from the other direction. The grade going up is pretty gentle, you know you are going up hill but you will live.

So we hiking along and along through the trees and first I notice that the tree canopy is fairly thick in there because there is little vegetation beyond moss and a few ferns. Then I realize while I like moss, after awhile it all looks the same. You can’t see the creek anymore nor any peaks, just trees and moss. To top it all off, I am feeling fat and out of shape, never a good mood enhancer and I am thinking that maybe the scent in the bug spray is giving me a headache. So here comes the heresy in a National Park.

Hiking is boring! At that moment, I realized my feeling, a very familiar one, I was bored. So I say to my darling husband, “You know this is kinda boring.” And he was properly shocked. Then he began to tell me all the reasons why it wasn’t boring, while I explained why I thought it was. The good thing about this discussion is that it carried us to the place in the trail near the top where we could see mountains again and the trees thinned so there was more plants to look at. Avalanche Lake (not as big as I thought it was going to be) is cool because it has this wide beach area and directly in front of you are five waterfalls coming down the side of the mountain. You can also see the avalanche shoots. On three sides there are mountain sides and then there is where the creek goes down to Lake McDonald which is where the trail is. We rested awhile, took pictures and headed back down.

Now here is the other revelation of the day…down was more interesting. Why? Because darling daughter was out of the backpack and I could show her things when she wasn’t spotting them herself. So the moral of the story is I find hiking more interesting when she is walking, we are going at a snails pace and I can explore with her. Who knew parenting could improve such a thing?

Now lest you think I am the worst person ever, I will say in my defense that I just like to have something to look at that occupies my imagination, mountains, plants, bird songs, my kid discovering spider webs whatever. She inspires the teacher and scientist in me when we are out like that. However, we never get anywhere very fast and if there is destination, it may or may not be reached. By the way, the daughter walked all the way, two miles people, downhill but still pretty good for someone with very short legs.

Now that I have admitted this I hope the Park Service doesn’t revoke my pass.



  1. I love it. I miss your comments on the world so much. This is a great venue for you Angela. And I’m thrilled that your writing sound so much like how you speak (which is not actually the case for a lot of people). Who knows, maybe when the business is up and running, I may start a blog myself. I like the name too! Have a great Montana day. BTW, I haven’t been to the beach at all this year and I’m sure when I go, you and AG will be missed even more than usual.

  2. Hiking boring!!! Heresy I Say!!!
    Loved it….loved the picture-amazing.

  3. Hey,

    So fun reading your tale regaling us of your adventures on Avalanche Trail. Definitely kept me and Jamie entertained and nicely diverted from the tedium and drudgery of WORK! Loved the photo of the darling daughter as well!


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