Flags and Footprints - My Family Travels
Glacier National Park June 2010 167
Glacier National Park June 2010 167

            I came around the bend on the wooded path and gasped.  Rarely have I ever seen anything quite as stunning as the view that was before my eyes.  The mountain, the woods, the lake, and the flag were perfectly framed and composed.  The air was cool, the sky was clear, and yet the clouds were slowly engulfing the sides of the mountain.  My family and I stood and watched the clouds pour over the tops of the lesser peaks and down into the valley.  The flag flapped in the sudden breeze and the shade of the water slightly darkened.  As I stood there watching the clouds, smelling the fresh air, and feeling the breeze, I felt exhilarated.  I looked at the flag flying proudly over the clear blue water and remembered all those who serve our country to keep us free—safe—and able to enjoy national parks.  Standing there, my heart welled up with pride and love and I knew that Glacier National Park in Montana would be my favorite park. 

            My family and I love traveling to national and state parks and being outdoors as much as possible.   When my parents told my siblings and me that they had planned a trip to Glacier National Park, we screamed with delight.  We found a cabin to rent at the KOA Kampground near the park, my mom packed breakfast foods, peanut butter, jelly, and easy dinner meals and we jumped in the car, ready to explore the park.  We were slightly disappointed in the cabin and offerings that the KOA had, but we were overjoyed with Glacier.  We went hiking every day and explored as much of the U.S. side of Glacier as we could.  Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our passports, so we were unable to visit the Canadian side of the park.

            One time we pulled off the road and decided to take a secluded hike up into the mountains, wondering and excited about what we could see.  We talked to a ranger at the bottom of the trail and she told us that an unusual flower, called a Lady’s Slipper, was blooming along the trail, but that it was difficult to spot.  Eagerly we started the hike, each of us hoping that we would be the first to find a Lady’s Slipper.  However, the only “slipper” we found was a man’s shoe that had been cast aside in a ditch and was covered with soft green moss.  The only other foot related object we found was a footprint.  We had seen little footprints made by dogs but when we rounded a bend in the trail, my dad and I saw something much bigger.  It was the footprint of a bear!  By the direction of the footprint, we could see that it was heading directly down the side of the mountain.  Looked at a nearby bush, we could tell that the bear trampled it down to ground.  Judging from the footprint, my dad thought the bear had been there rather recently.  We quickly turned around and ran down the trail, not caring to look for flowers.  Once we were safe in the car, we decided not to try to go hiking in secluded mountain trails until we bought bear spray!



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