We woke up that morning to mixed good news – they had finally reopened the campground we had reservations for that night! The “mixed” part was that the Going-to-the-Sun Road was still closed due to an ENORMOUS wildfire, and that was what most of my plans for the day revolved around, including our last, biggest, and coolest hike of the day! Guh. Regardless, we packed up the cars and headed out.
We first headed to Apgar Village (which I’ll admit, I expected to be more exciting) and skipped rocks on Lake McDonald.
After that we headed to the McDonald Creek hike, which was a little tricky to find because we didn’t have 3G/4G and we’d all been using our phones as our GPS units. (Whoops.) But once we got it figured out, we got to the right place and went on a lovely little hike!
The type of forest in Glacier (redcedar and hemlock) is unlike anything we have in Utah, so it was nice to finally feel like we had gotten “away from home” (as it were, Tetons and Yellowstone are still practically home for me) and really started a “real” adventure.
After that short little stop, we headed up to the trail to Avalanche Creek (and Avalanche Lake, which Ally and Will had gotten on the shuttle to go to, but I hadn’t planned on). We caught up with a huge line of traffic headed up the Going-to-the-Sun Road (which they had currently closed to traffic going up the road- that made me totally nervous, I’ll admit it), so we nabbed a couple of parking spots to head to our little hike and decided to discuss our plans for GttSR when we returned from the hike.
What started off as a little nature trail quickly turned into a legitimate slot canyon. I wished that I could jump in the water with a tube and a PFD and some rope- what an exciting little adventure that would be!
We had originally intended to stop and eat lunch and try to catch a shuttle up the road, but when we got back to the cars the road was open! So I rallied the troops and we jumped in the cars to take advantage of our fine luck. (This DID result in Ally and Will not being with us, but we had intended to meet up with us on the trail to Avalanche Creek and we never found them. I feel bad, but this is another reason I’m bummed we didn’t end up having walkie talkies. Oh well. Next time!)
The road itself was GORGEOUS. I really wish we could have driven the whole thing, and done the hike I wanted to do, but what can you do? We were lucky to get to drive as much as we could, and we were VERY lucky to be able to camp in the campground we’d already paid for. (I had backup plans, but they all sucked. I’ll admit “what if there’s a huge wildfire” was not something I had factored into my contingency plans.)
We headed back to Apgar Village to hopefully meet back up with Ally and Will (which we did, yay), and head off on our crazy detour around the park. It took about two and a half hours, which was ultimately only a little less than what I had allotted for the hike, so we ended up getting into camp and eating our yummy group dinner a little earlier than scheduled.
The next day we were heading off to CANADA, so we decided to get to bed a little early. We needed a lot of energy for that intense border crossing. 😉