We were able to use our location in Idaho as a launchpad for a side trip to Glacier National Park in Montana (and Canada). The weather in the area has been dry and the fire danger high. Wildfires have been burning in and around the park for weeks causing roads to close and the air quality to be poor with low visibility. We (I) considered bagging the trip. There are countless opportunities to experience nature right where we are, next door to the Tetons and at the foot of Yellowstone. Glacier continued to dangle that carrot, though, and we loaded up for the ten-hour drive.
It may have been a risk to drive all that way not knowing what circumstance we would find ourselves in when we got to Glacier. As we drove towards the northern border, a storm system moved its way south down the Rockies. A fresh blanket of rain and snow put the fires to rest, and the air was washed clean. The next morning the peaks around Lake McDonald were crisp and clear when only a week earlier they were hidden behind smoke. We found the Going to the Sun road closed for the first time of the season, covered for days under six inches of snow and ice. Going the distance to Glacier proved a risk worth taking and surprised us in ways we hadn’t foreseen.
As we finalize our plans for the next three months, the test drive to Montana gave us a lot of insight. Our plans are not rigid, but fluid. We can’t be limited by the unknown. And, in fact, our ten-hour trip turned 92 days will be defined by our willingness to push past the hesitation regarding our next destination.
Details – Mileage: 1,483 miles. Countries visited: Canada. States visited: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. National Parks: Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, Grant-Kohr’s National Monument, Yellowstone National Park. Animals spotted: Black Bear, Stellar’s Jay, Pileated Woodpecker (GNP), Moose pair, Bald Eagle, Bison, Elk, Osprey, Downy Woodpecker (YNP).