You know it's going to be a good vacation when your brother says in a very serious tone "We should pick up another can of bear spray, I only have one at home." I looked up at him remembering the awful advice my dad always gave us as kids "Just hit 'em on the toes with a stick!" and immediately reached up for another can of spray. I thought I was prepared but I forgot that the hardest part about hiking in Glacier National Park is not having to stop every 50 steps up a steep incline trying to catch your breath, but trying not to stop at every overlook and waterfall as you are driving up the Going To The Sun Road! Every view was breathtaking and spectacular, and it felt so good to be in the mountains after being gone so long. I'm sure there are familiar scenes, places, and smells that bring back home for you but for me it's the smell of the pine trees, the sound of rocks crunching under my feet, and the security of being surrounded by mountains.
Our first stop was the Trail of The Cedars which is an easy hike (and accessible!) along a boardwalk path that leads to these beautiful waterfalls. The Avalanche falls are tucked away along the path to one of the most popular sites in the park, Avalanche Lake. Now, this is my first venture into landscape photography so I realize that I have vast room for improvements, but it is still magical and surreal to me to look at now that I'm home. I'm actually kicking myself for not staying longer and enduring the high temperatures just so I could go hiking and exploring more of the park. After all it is the National Park Service's Centennial on August 25th!
The first picture above shows the trail heading out to Avalanche Lake and my brother taking a quick rest on the rocks, the lower left is the bridge crossing over Avalanche Creek, and the lower right another picture of the rapids rushing through the gorge. We started out early enough and I'm glad we made this our first stop because the parking area was packed by the time we started to head out that day- see, it pays to get up early!
I'll save our trip to Logan's Pass and Hidden Lake for tomorrow (along with a post on what gear I ended up packing for the trip on Saturday) so I don't make this post last too long, but you can catch a glimpse of what we saw on the trail in this video on Instagram! For now I'll leave you with this picture of one of the rivers heading into Lake McDonald!