Right now David and I are ensconced in a truly horrible Super 8 motel in Cedar City, Utah. We stayed in Butte, Montana last night and drove all day to get here. Tomorrow night we will be home. Before we headed home we spent the last night of our trip here:
This is the Many Glacier Hotel, located inside the park on the east side. We had been staying on the west side, and we made a special trip through the park to visit the sights in Many Glacier before heading home. This hotel is rustic and modest, and it was a change for us to actually be staying in the park. This was the view from our balcony:
Not bad. When we arrived on Wednesday we took an easy walk around the Swiftcurrent Lake (the one in the photo). It was FLAT (yay!) and chill–just what I was up for. It was nice to be up close to the water although the bug spray was a must. Here’s David looking pretty relaxed too:
We were up and out early yesterday. Our choice of hikes was easy because several were actually closed because of the melting snow conditions. We ended up doing the “Red Rock” trail to Bullhead Lake, another flat 8 miles or so. This hike had the most incredible waterfalls. I had to be a part of this photo…
And this pool was also something special:
And the pay-off on this hike did not disappoint:
It’s funny how much this looks like Avalanche Lake which I shared from my very first post from the trip. Admittedly, after nearly two-weeks of endless oohs and aahs, the stunning scenery becomes almost expected.
Since we had pretty much maxed out on Many Glacier hiking (and the accommodations weren’t anything to hang around for) we decided to start our trip home yesterday afternoon rather than this morning. This way we’ll make it to Tucson tomorrow evening. The Super 8 in Cedar City is a result of this change of plans (The original plan had us stopping over in Park City). BUT, there is a Starbucks in Cedar City that we can hit on our way out of town early tomorrow morning. So there’s that.
The long ride home provides plenty of opportunity for us to reflect on our trip (when we’re not listening to the audiobook of “Unbroken”). The more we travel, the more we learn how we like to travel. End to end this was a really wonderful trip and vacation. Here’s what made it so successful for us:
-We loved hiking in the national park and loved staying out of it. Our condo was 12 miles away from Glacier, which was close enough for daily hiking but away from the “touristy” aspect of the place. We had leisurely afternoons, drank our own coffee and saved money by eating in for breakfast and lunch. We loved taking advantage of the park without feeling confined by what it offered.
-There was great eating and drinking. We had no idea that the Columbia Falls/Whitefish areas of Montana would have such good restaurants. They were across-the-board excellent-good for foodies, vegetarians and gluten-free folks. We had been prepared to do most of our own cooking (anticipating that this would not be the case) but we thoroughly enjoyed taking a break from cooking dinner and exploring the restaurant scene.
-There was a lot to do that wasn’t at Glacier. As much as we loved our time in the park (as I documented ad nauseum) we also were charmed by the town of Whitefish. The hiking there was also great and we never even got around to the many lake activities available all around the area. We would not have been bored if we had stayed another week. I think we both really like to be able to mix it up and not do the same stuff every day, especially on a two week trip.
-We were on the grid (for the most part). From our condo we could stay connected and (if need be) take care of personal business. Being in the park means being out of touch. This was particularly problematic at the Many Glacier hotel where there is no cell phone service and very spotty internet. We are not overly consumed by technology but we simply don’t like not having either cell phone or internet service. That was another reason we left Many Glacier a day early. Hmmm, I may have to rethink that “glamping” trip I have my eye on in Moab!
It’s been a really terrific two weeks, and now that we are almost home I am looking forward to getting back to the desert. I think the monsoons have started which also makes Tucson a pretty cool place to be in the summer. I’m sure you will hear all about it. 🙂