We boarded our plane leaving Sioux Falls, South Dakota nursing hangovers but not regretting them. We were headed back to Helena, Montana after a wild wedding weekend where we were fortunate enough to see a lot of our college friends all at once. While it was convenient, we all forgot that we aren’t in college any longer, and no longer recover from staying up late and drinking far to many beers as well as we used to. As we sat jammed into the tiny plane headed or Helena, sweat ran down my forehead and back and I swear I picked up the faint smell of Coors Light. I asked myself if it was worth it and came to the conclusion that it was.
Jess picked us up from the airport and after driving through Burger King for a late night Double Whopper we headed back to her house to be reunited with our big white beautiful pooch. She missed us, obviously, although we know she had a great time on her weekend camping trip with Jess. No matter, she hopped up on what felt like a twin size futon and snuggled in right between us for the night.
As the morning sun filtered through the window we packed up our belongings, loaded up the truck and set out for Glacier National Park in Northern Montana. The drive seemed like it took most of the day and toward the evening we pulled into Glacier Campground, which was just a few away from closing down for the winter. The cashier put out his cigarette and assigned us to a downward sloping site near the restrooms. It doesn’t sound glorious, but we nested our little camper right in between the Aspen trees as the yellow leaves floated down toward the earth in the gentle breeze. There were only a few other campers, but we are used to that by now and actually rather enjoy it.
Wednesday I awoke feeling like a 10 year old on Christmas morning. I knew today was the day I would finally get to live out one of my dreams and finally see Glacier National Park in real life. I have looked at thousands of pictures and read about all the iconic scenery for years. Dreams do come true and we piled in the truck and headed for Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s the only road that goes completely through Glacier from West to East and the sights are remarkable. We started at McDonald Lake where the water is so clear you can see the multi-colored rocks at the bottom until the reflection of the mountains in the East obstruct the view. That was only the beginning, as we drove farther, the peaks stretching toward the sky were dusted with snow, towering over the fall colored leaves of the valley, reminding us all that winter was near. The road twisted and turned until before we knew it we were just under those snow covered peaks and a Big Horn Sheep was jogging along next to us on the brick wall that separated us from the sprawling valley below. It was like nothing we had ever seen before and nothing we will probably ever see again.
The crowds were gone and most of the shops and lodges of summer had been closed up for the season. It seemed as if the maintenance staff were the only people left still employed by the park service. Again we felt that eerie feeling like we shouldn’t be there at this time, and that’s part of what made it so special. It reaffirmed that summer is coming to an end. We thought back at how amazing this trip has been and of all the places we have been lucky enough to experience. A couple tears slipped out of Tara’s eyes as we gazed out over the lake sitting on the shore near the deserted cabins. “I’m not ready for this to be over,” she said. I nodded, not having the words to reassure her. I felt the same.
We drove south to the Bob Marshall Wilderness at the end the week and as we crossed the Rockies the temperature dipped into the low 30’s. We found the most perfect boon-docking spot on the edge of a creek. The water looked teal and calm in between the yellow leaves of the Aspen leaves and the mountain stretching skyward on the opposite bank. As we finished setting up and dusk crept in a cold rain began to fall. We fired up our little propane heater, crawled in our sleeping bags and settled in for a movie as the rain changed to snow and we heard it bounce off the hard shell of our camper.
When we awoke a thin layer of snow covered the ground and only grew deeper as our gaze traveled up the slope of the mountain. It was beautiful, quiet, and cold and after snapping a few pictures we decided that the temperatures in these mountains were telling us it was time to say goodbye. We ventured south toward Bozeman and warmer temperatures for the rest of the weekend.
Our adventure is coming to a close and by next week at this time I will be writing our blog post from the comfort of our hometown. We will be there for harvest and to spend some time with our family before starting out next adventure. We hope that you continue to check in with us and look forward to sharing our various endeavors with all of you!