Trail of the Cedars

Contrary to the predictions of the weather people, today was a better day than yesterday. The temperature seemed slightly warmer and there was definitely much less rain. We stayed dry most of the day, except for our treacherous trip to East Glacier.

We had a great breakfast at the West Glacier Restaurant. The only restaurant open. Tammy and I are both confused why there are nearly 10 gift shops open in the park, but only one restaurant. It would seem that visitors in need of gifts would also be in need of dining. After breakfast we took headed up the Going-to-the-Sun Road as far as we could go, to Avalanche. It seemed like a popular destination as there were more cars parked there than we’d seen almost anywhere this early in Glacier.

Tammy and I have been trying to gauge our hiking (if you can call it that) expectations with little Mazie. As is typical, we have different worries. I’m worried about her getting in way over her head on even a moderate trail and that we are idiotic parents if we don’t have a basic first aid kit, compass, tent, sleeping bag, 3 weeks of food, etc. along if we have a small child with us. Tammy on the other hand isn’t worried about any of that, she’s just afraid of the bears.

The hike we took along Trail of the Cedars was perfect though. It’s a rare wheelchair accessible trail in a national park so Mazie could walk the whole thing. Most of the trail was a raised boardwalk. Just under a mile long with nice scenery in all directions. We had a great time and took a lot of photos. Thankfully, no bears encountered (or mountain lions!) and we didn’t fall in need of dire first aid care.

We were headed back for lunch and Mazie fell asleep on the drive so we decided to do an impromptu trip to East Glacier. First, a little background. Glacier National Park is huge. There are a couple of main entrances, unimaginatively named West Glacier and East Glacier. Tammy chose to stay in West Glacier because it is much more connected to the park. Typically the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the way to get between these two towns. However, that is closed. So we had to take US-2 all the way around the park, 56 miles one way, to get to East Glacier.

As soon as we got on the eastern side of the park is was raining and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. No good. We continued on and took the road up to where we were told a cool falls was that was an easy hike. We got there after nearly turning around a few times and decided to try the hike. Here however both my fears of hypothermia and Tammy’s fears of bear attack rung loud and after a short 0.2 mile walk we turned back to the van. There was a reasonable amount of snow there still. Not that much, but we were totally not prepared for anything. The lack of fellow hikers got Tammy thinking we were the sole prey for that hungry bear that must be lurking. So, around we went.

Since the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed and isn’t going to open anytime soon we decided tonight to cut our trip short a day and head to Seattle tomorrow. There is much more to see here at Glacier, but it’s better seen in July, particularly if you have a toddler with you. I definitely want to return here. Next time we’ll maybe just pack our backpacks and hope on the Amtrak. We’ll be driving most of the day tomorrow.

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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