An Extra Day in Glacier

As we were leaving the RV park, Bird asked that we drop her off back at the entrance to Glacier National Park and that she’d meet us in Portland. What? On one hand, she was a hitchhiker and had no business asking me even to drive her the 18 miles back to the park, on the other we’d been together long enough that the notion of just dumping her at the entrance of the park didn’t feel right. It’s not like I’m on much of a schedule.

It turned out that there was someone in Little Bird’s life that really, really wanted her to have a cell phone, and the mail-the-phone-to-Colorado-Springs plan just wasn’t going to work. The phone was on the far side of the park, and though we tried several schemes to get the phone over to the West side, they all failed. We were only about half an hour from the park, but getting over the mountain takes several hours. I suggested that we’d get her into the park and that she could take the free shuttle back over near the campground, get her phone, and get back. Ox and I could probably find a way to spend a day in one of the world’s most beautiful parks while she retrieved her phone.

In light of the phone debacle, Little Bird had arranged for an infusion of cash into her debit card account. She insisted on using it to fill up Walden’s tank. I didn’t like the way this payment-for-service felt. A tankful was an arbitrary amount of gas, not the amount actually required to go back to the park. I took that amount of cash out of my wallet and put it into an envelope with her name on it.

I did laundry, and while Ox was finishing his, I went out the grocery store, bought a bunch of sandwich meats. I was desperately tired of cooking, and especially dish washing, even when someone else did it. Back at the RV Park, Ox and Little Bird loaded up their stuff and we headed back to Glacier.

As they unloaded at the Apgar Transit Center, I insisted that they take sandwiches, as I knew it’d be a long day in the park. Little Bird refused, but I pursued. Ox made sandwiches, and they headed toward the bus stop.

I found a parking spot and clickety-clacked. I had a decent 3G connection there, so I could get a post or two done. After a while, though, it seemed silly to be sitting in a van in a parking lot when I was in Glacier, so I got on the bus and went to the visitor center at the top of the Going to the Sun Road.

Everyone says to go to Hidden Lake, and that most of the “hike” is on sidewalk. It was a bit windy and I didn’t bring a jacket, but I thought I could make it. Not far up the trail were a bunch of bighorn sheep.

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I stepped off the trail and walked a bit to get closer to them. I hung out there for a while snapping pictures and basking in the day’s beauty before getting back on the trail to this hidden lake.

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I hadn’t realized when I got on the bus that this “easy” little hike involved snow fields. I was in my Chacos.

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It was pretty fun being in the snow. I stopped and got someone to take some pictures of me and she got in to it and suggested that I change position so that there would be a different background.

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I was walking pretty quickly in the snow, which required considerable attention to where it was I was putting my feet. At some point I looked up to see that I was on a collision course with goat not ten feet ahead. “Hello, Mr. Goat, please allow me to step aside,” I said as I carefully backed away.

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I did finally find where the lake had been hidden. It was pretty beautiful. There were a bunch of goats hanging out up there too.

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I made it back to the bus, snapping a few pictures along the way. I got a great shot of some Amish kids playing in the snow barefooted.

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The bus I got on didn’t go all the way to where I’d parked Walden, and at the intermediary stop I saw a brunette, whose legs I’d noticed on the bus, looking at her camera. “Get any good ones?” I asked.

She showed me a picture of her sandal-clad feet in the snow, just like mine. She showed me a picture of the bare-footed Amish kids, just like mine. It was clear that we were soul mates. I showed her my versions of the same pictures. Strangely, she seemed unimpressed, unaware of our soulmatedness. We boarded bus continuing our conversation, but there were no pairs of seats available. I sat across from her. Our conversation came to an end when someone took a place standing between us.

Meanwhile, I’d gotten a text from Little Bird indicating that it’d be a while before she would get back to my side of the park. As we were leaving the bus, I asked my soulmate if she wanted a beer, while I waited my travel companions. “No, thanks. I’m good,” and disappeared into the parking lot.

When Walden came into view, I saw that the window was down. Odd, I was sure that I’d left it shut and locked. As I got closer, I heard music. When I rounded the corner I saw the side door open. There I found Ox, apparently full of the beer that previously occupied the cans of Moose Drool in the trash can. He hadn’t gone on Little Bird’s excursion with her, and returned to Walden soon after I’d left a note on the window saying that I’d left the keys in the usual place.

From Little Bird’s communique I cyphered that she’d be back in about an hour or an hour and a half. I wrote her a note, taped it where I thought she’d see it when she got off the bus, and took Ox to look for a campground for the night. Ox and I checked KOA. It seemed too expensive, but they had KOA coffee mugs for $2. Little Bird had made it clear that she didn’t like KOA campgrounds, so a KOA mug seemed like a clever gift. She was about to move to Portland and is a coffee drinker, yet, she had no coffee mug. After a couple more campgrounds, we went and got a spot at the same “Glacier Campground” where we’d stayed the night before we went into the park. We went back to the park, and Little Bird got off the bus just a few minutes later.

It had been a long day, and I, for one, was not interested in cooking
or eating more sandwiches. I got the envelope with Bird’s name on it and we went out to dinner, using the Bird-cash to pay for a tasty little feast before returning to the campground for the night.

You can see More pictures from the hike, if you’re interested.

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