Kind of hard to get back to the travelogue given the dog-goned sadness of this summer, but grateful to have our Montana memories to buoy us. Better there than here; let’s go back.
We last left off with fond memories of Babb. Next day, we found the road to Many Glacier open and the usual ridiculously spectacular scenery. Oh, to be a cow in Montana!
You don’t even have to get out of the car to enjoy the incredible views.
And speaking of accessibility, we found another splendid hike that almost anyone could enjoy. Not sure if it is wheelchair friendly, as I do recall a few unwieldy steps up and down to a bridge, but otherwise, the Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail was perfection for those of us who live life on the flat.
The view of Many Glacier Lodge from the trail:
We saw lots and lots of Indian Paintbrush:
It was breathtaking from start to finish, but never more so than when we encountered a very large and VERY fresh pile of bear scat on the path. Can’t say we weren’t warned:
Luckily, Gail was prepared. When we were texting about preparations on the front end of the trip, she casually mentioned that she would bring the bear spray.
BEAR SPRAY? I asked, with multiple horrified emojis trailing behind…
“This isn’t Disneyland,” she responded, sans any cute emojis. She’s lived in Montana a long time.
Gail hesitated for just an instant as she surveyed the scat, wondering aloud if we should turn back. The CE and I, of course, were hoping to see a bear – Disneyland-style, that is. We were less enthusiastic about the recommendation we’d seen advising that one should assume the fetal position during a bear encounter in hopes the bear would not find you worth mauling. “They mostly false-charge”, the literature cheerily suggested. “Mostly”.
Anyway, Gail had her trusty bear spray so we charged ahead.
The bear had apparently moved on, and so did we, ending up back at Many Glacier Lodge just in time for lunch overlooking the lake in the Ptarmigan Dining Room.
As we drove back toward our own lodge, we saw several vehicles stopped along a turnout. Something moved in the brush above us across the road and there it was – a bear! Just as we hit the brakes to watch it amble along, another vehicle arrived with lights flashing. A park ranger leaped out brandishing a GUN and began yelling at the bear in a most unfriendly tone. Maybe this was a known bear who had been getting too close to tourists but I gotta say, for those of us who had just arrived at the scene, our sympathies were definitely with the bear. The bear at a safe distance, that is, with no bear spray or fetal position required. As sightings go, I guess ours was the bear minimum – back at our lodge everyone was reporting bear encounters that day. If you go, remember the bear spray!
Visiting Glacier was a long-held hope of mine. I wondered if I would ever make it to that little dot just shy of the Canadian border. It was even better than I’d imagined. So nice to steal away to those memories in these dog-less days of summer…