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Monday, July 4, 2016

Welcome to Big Sky Country

For some reason, Montana had been one of those states that I wanted to visit for so very long. I imagine it had something to do with the picture that had always been painted in my mind - rugged mountains, rolling grassy hills, rambling rivers, wildlife, fresh air. In my mind Montana was everything we had always hoped for in a place to call home, and as we approached the border I think we both thought to ourselves, "this could definitely be somewhere that we'd love to start a new life with our family". 


Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Arriving in Montana we got everything we had always imagined. Gorgeous mountains, green grass, fresh air and most definitely wildlife. Within moments of crossing the border we turned a corner to spot a mother Moose and her calf in the road ahead. They were too far away for us to capture a photo, and once they heard our truck roaring down the road they took off into the safety of the surrounding forest. It was a moment none of us will ever forget, including Halle who has proudly told the story to anyone who will listen.

Glacier National Park
Montana encompasses all of the things that we wanted to see and do when we set out on the road. Glacier National Park in particular makes you feel so close to nature and looking back on these photos, I am reminded of how much I truly loved our time in that park. 


Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

When we arrived in St. Mary, Montana we sat down for lunch and began to plan our next move. Would we pop into Glacier quickly and move on to another entrance to the park? Or would we go and see if we could set up camp right there? We opted for the latter and when we rolled up to the park entrance in St. Mary, the ranger suggested that we purchase an annual pass for all of the National Parks, to save us some money. She also recommended which campground to stay in, which sold us on camping right in the park. We wanted to see as much as we possibly could during our one night stay.

The one thing that struck us the most about Glacier was the vast amount of the park that had been burnt in a recent fire. Halle mentioned that it looked so sad and not as pretty without all of the green trees. Brett and I explained to her that sometimes a fire can be good to help a forest continue to grow and thrive, but we agreed that it looked very different without all of the green trees.


Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Despite all of the burnt trees, the beauty of this majestic park still remained. The towering mountains with their snow capped peaks and the blue waters that swirled at their bases. Even with the sad bare trees, colour emerged in other ways! The bright green grass and wildflowers, the blue water and sky and even the needles and leaves that remained on a few of the trees made everything seem that much more alive. 


Glacier National Park

Glacier National ParkGlacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Though the "Going to the Sun Road" pass was closed (what many call the crowning jewel of the park), we made the most of our time there. We drove as far as we could and stopped as often as possible to get out of the vehicle and take in the hiking trails and breathtaking vistas. 

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

I now find myself wondering how I was so ignorant to the names and locations of so many of these incredible protected areas? Embarking on this journey, especially during this year while the National Parks Service celebrates its 100th birthday, has really opened my eyes to how many diverse and beautiful natural spaces there are on this continent. We are so very lucky to live in this wondrous area of this great big world. 


Glacier National Park

The only thing we missed in Glacier was the wildlife. When we were setting up camp the ranger on duty came around to chat with us and informed us that there was a small black bear who frequented the campsite. She let us know to just clap our hands and make some noise and it would scare off easily, unfortunately we never had the pleasure of seeing the small beast pass by. 


Glacier National Park

As always, one of the greatest parts for us was helping Halle to complete her Junior Park Ranger booklet and then see her earn her badge. She has learned so much completing the tasks at the parks and has even surprised us with some of the things she has been able to answer and do on her own. 

Life on the road has been treating us well. We've done our best to make the most of each day, and this trip really started on a high note! As we left Glacier National Park I had so much excitement about what was to come as we made our way towards Yellowstone...

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