Saturday goes down as one of the most epic adventure days of my life.
With five great friends we hiked 19 miles across the mostly-off-trail route through Floral Park in Glacier National Park. Starting at Logan Pass and ending at Lake McDonald, we gained 4,000 feet in elevation and lost 7,000.
We skirted a receding glacier, climbed cliff faces, traveled off-trail, and lost and found the route. We avoided bears, walked past mountain goats and went swimming in alpine lakes ringed with snow and ice. We packed light, traveled fast and spent 11 hours on our feet exploring one of the most untouched areas of the Park.
We got incredibly epic on a Saturday in Glacier National Park, but we weren’t the only ones out for an adventure that day.
The 7 a.m. shuttle to Logan Pass picked us up at the Apgar Transit Center. Standing in line was a friendly elderly couple. They boarded the shuttle and sat in the seats in front of our group. They chuckled at our stories and laughed at our comments about bear bells and past adventures gone awry.
They were embarking on their own epic day.
This is a point that I never take for granted. While our epic day involved sore feet, filtered glacial water and Hammer gel, their epic day involved a boardwalk hike to the Hidden Lake overlook.
Glacier National Park is literally in Whitefish’s backyard. Don’t take it for granted.
Your day could involve complex logistical plans and bagging that peak that has eluded you for years. Or it could be a casual walk with the grandkids on the Trail of the Cedars.
Maybe this is the year you load up the backpack and finally spend a night at a backcountry campsite. Have you ever carried a backcountry permit? Make plans and commit to a day.
Or maybe just drive over, get out of your car and read a book on the shore of Lake McDonald. It’s the most epic place I know to read a book.
At Glacier National Park, it’s all epic. Go. Be Epic.
Local’s Tip: Glacier National Park is a big. In fact it’s 1,583 square miles. The majority of the 2 million visitors to only see a small portion of the Park — mostly along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Avoid the masses by visiting mid-week or on an off-peak day. Visit a spot that may be a bit off the radar. Jake Bramante’s website www.hike734.com is a great resource for planning your epic adventure.
— Jason Forrest / This Week Whitefish