In June of 2007 my family embarked on our first trip out to the western states of America. The highlight of the trip was our stay at Glacier National Park in Montana. Having lived in Florida my entire life, stepping into the Rocky Mountains was a new and exciting experience for me. The breathtaking mountains and rugged terrain is very different from the predominately flat Florida scenery. There are many sights to see at Glacier National Park, but our most adventuresome outing was a hike to Iceberg Lake. It was a nine-mile trek out and back to the lake, which is hidden within a rocky mountain bowl.
During our hike we felt the climate dramatically change as the temperature dropped from about 75 degrees Fahrenheit at the start to about 45 degrees Fahrenheit at Iceberg Lake. Along the way we also experienced brief periods of rain and sleet. Having the weather change so quickly was a new experience for all of us. As we got further up the mountain, we went from walking on a bare dirt trail to walking through snow. I had never walked through snow and it was slow going as with each step you took your foot sunk up to twelve inches into it.
Along the way we saw a variety of wildlife including bears, elk, and even mountain goats that were making their way across the rock faces on the side of one of the mountains. When we completed our uphill journey we were in awe of the crystal blue lake and I was stunned as the lake was half frozen over. What a reward it was to see such an incredible sight after a three-hour hike. Sometimes you have to put in some effort to be rewarded, but the sights are unbelievable and worth the work. My siblings and I also got to play in the snow for a while which was a lot of fun since we had never seen snow before.
Along with the many hikes offered within the park, there is also the Going-To-The-Sun road, which is a scenic road you can drive through the central mountains of the park and get a feel for everything without having to put in physical effort.
In order to fully appreciate Glacier National Park, plan on spending multiple days there. Our visit was five days and we stayed in a privately owned cabin at the edge of the park in West Glacier, Montana. We found the cabin through Vacation Rentals By Owner, which you can visit online at www.vrbo.com. There are maps to the various areas of Glacier National Park at the park entrances. Take time to plan your trips each day as the park encompasses several hundred miles.
I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone. It was one of my favorite vacations so far. I am very thankful that my family has taught me how to explore and enjoy the world through traveling. St. Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” I am fortunate to have been able to read quite a few pages of the book so far.
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