Glacier National Park 5

Fish Creek Campground – Apgar – Lake McDonald

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

My alarm went off at 6 a.m., but I was so cold and not interested in leaving the warm cocoon of our quilt that I promptly silenced it. We didn’t end up leaving the tent until 8:30.

One option for the day that we had discussed the prior evening was to hike to Avalanche Lake via the Avalanche Lake Trail. Due to our late start, and the popularity of this hike, we opted to stay closer to “home” and have more of a chill day.

We wanted to avoid driving as much as possible, so we walked the bike path that connects Fish Creek to Apgar Village. Along the way we saw a lone buck on the path who seemed concerned about the noise from road construction. Farther along, we spooked two young deer.

We got coffee and sat down to people-watch. People pulled along sea kayaks for an afternoon in Lake McDonald, people entered and left the gift shop and an adorable dog with floppy ears looked at everything with eager eyes. After coffee we took a quick visit to the Visitors’ Center, but they all pretty much look the same, so we didn’t stay long. By this point both of us were suffering from low blood-sugar; we fixed that by getting ice cream: caramel for me, and cookies-n-cream for John.

We returned via the 2.5-mile bike path to the campsite and gathered items for an afternoon by the lake, reading and enjoying the sunshine. Both of us dipped into the water; John longer than me, per usual. The campground was gloriously quiet with our rowdy, kid-filled neighbors gone for the day (or at least until 5:20 p.m.).

Thursday, August 12, 2021

John awoke at about 2 a.m. and left the tent; I joined him. The sky was completely clear, so we grabbed our lights and bear spray and went down to the lake for a more unobstructed view of the stars and milky way. Despite the cold – and difficulty falling back asleep – it was worth it to enjoy the stillness of the night by the water.

Our final morning in Glacier National Park.

We got up a little past 6 a.m. and packed the car with all our things. It was a beautiful day, but my heart was heavy to be leaving.

Our final hike would be to the Apgar Lookout. The trail head is down the road a short distance from the West Glacier entrance. There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot; there were only a few additional cars when we returned.

The trail seemed to take a circuitous route to start heading up Apgar Mountain. Soon after we reached the switchbacks, we saw an imprint of a bear’s paw on the ground. It looked massive to us. Definitely got my bear spray in my hands at that point.

The trail gained 2,000 feet without ever seeming to, and it wasn’t long before we reached the summit, passing two ladies on the way.

looking back toward Lake McDonald

As we started back down, we met a large buck on the trail who snorted at us (in annoyance?). We saw two more deer farther down the trail. One of them was an adorable mule deer who kept walking toward us on the path. About 20 feet from us, the deer veered off into the woods, passed us, then rejoined the path.

For the longest time (well, since our first cross-country road trip in 2017) Grand Teton National Park was hands-down my favorite. After this trip, Rainier and Glacier are serious contenders. It’s been over a year since we were living out of our car, exploring National Parks and cities. My heart literally aches to go back to Glacier. There’s not enough time; not enough time.

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