Going Glacial Part I: Day 1 & 2

Posted by on September 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm :: No Comments

Jason gets a paid week-long vacation every year courtesy of his employer. Yes, the actual vacation is reimbursed, not just the time off. This year, Jason and I fancied using our free ride to see Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. Although many of our acquaintances questioned the coolness of this destination, you don’t need to be a genius to realize that coolness kind of comes with glaciers. Duh.

We canoed along Whitefish Lake's tranquil shoreline. Our rowing skills were lacking but the scenery was not.

We canoed along Whitefish Lake’s tranquil shoreline. Our rowing skills were lacking but the scenery was not.

Although experiencing Glacier National Park was the primary purpose of our trip, we didn’t head there directly. Instead, we stayed a couple of nights at a waterside lodge in Whitefish, a friendly little town about half an hour from the park. Whitefish is primarily a tourist spot with Whitefish Lake attracting visitors in the summer and Whitefish Mountain Resort bringing skiers in the winter. Its easy-going attitude was instantly decompressing. Hello relaxation!

Just another scenic stop on Danny On.

Just another scenic stop on Danny On.

On our first afternoon, we decided to rent a canoe and paddle along the shore of the lake. We aren’t canoeing experts and we were pretty inefficient rowers but we had a great time gliding slowly through that watery landscape.

Wild huckleberries were in season and prolific along Danny On. I helped myself to quite a few of them as we hiked.

Wild huckleberries were in season and prolific along Danny On. I helped myself to quite a few of them as we hiked.

On Danny On we passed through woods full of mist and forest secrets.

On Danny On we passed through woods full of mist and forest secrets.

We spent the following day stepping on Big Mountain via the Danny On Trail, the most popular footpath in the Flathead Valley. Danny On attracts about 14,000 hikers every year but it wasn’t crowded when we trekked it. That’s probably because tendrils of clouds were tenaciously clawing their way up its slopes of pine and wildflower, threatening to unleash their moisture at any moment. Fortunately, rain didn’t materialize much out of that dense haze. The scenery, enshrouded in vapor, was dreamy but it provided more than just a feast for the eyes. Wild huckleberries, growing abundantly and ripe on the hillsides, warranted frequent tasty stops.

I captured Whitefish Lake blushing from the nearness of the sinking sun.

I captured Whitefish Lake blushing from the nearness of the sinking sun.

Surprisingly, crossing these skinny boardwalks up in the trees didn't freak me out.

Surprisingly, crossing these skinny boardwalks up in the trees didn’t freak me out.

After our hike, we hooked in for a Walk in the Treetops at Whitefish Mountain Resort. A Walk in the Treetops is a hiking tour that travels through half a mile of forest on boardwalks that are suspended up to 70 feet in the air. This particular expedition is one of the few canopy tours available in North America. Surprisingly, although I am not crazy about heights, I didn’t mind the ground being so far away, for the most part, and enjoyed this informative and uplifting outing.

We were 70 feet up from the ground on this platform. Although we were strapped in, I, unlike Jason, wasn't about to get friendly with the ledge.

We were 70 feet up from the ground on this platform. Although we were strapped in, I, unlike Jason, wasn’t about to get friendly with the ledge.

The next day we were off to Glacier National Park. Our adventures trudging onto its frozen expanses and getting cozy with its famous wildlife will be explored next week. Stay tuned.

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