I spent a lot of time bloviating about lava in my last post. I’m not going to fling a lot of words this time. In Glacier National Park, pictures are better than words.

OK, there are SOME words.

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Driving up the 50 mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road, or as I liked to call it, the Going-to-the-Sun-With-Your-Heart-in-Your-Throat Road.

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Nan and I had the park to ourselves the first time we were there. Well, ourselves and 30,000 other Fourth of July visitors.

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We were joined by Leah, Erin, and Benjy about a week after we arrived in Hungry Horse.

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Leah joined us first.

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Erin and Benjy a few days later.

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We had reservations for a tour of the park in a Red Bus, one of a fleet of pre-WWII restored Red Jammers.

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I unknowingly took a picture of the kids from afar while they were taking pictures of themselves horsing around on the Skyline Trail. The guys at the right are taking pictures of mountain goats.

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This is the picture the kids were taking off in the distance.

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The goats had no problem sharing the trail with humans.

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As the result of someone else’s misfortune I was fortunate enough to get to see the Ranger’s Tourist Retrieval Process go into action on the Hidden Lake Nature Trail. The guy was OK, I saw them helping him into his car at the base of the trail. The stretcher has a single wheel in the center and a ranger on the red straps bringing up the rear acting as a brake. The Hidden Lake Nature Trail is extremely popular and swarms with old folks and children as well as healthy younger types. A few days later the higher section of the trail was closed because of a bear attack. The Park seems tame. It’s not.

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At home at the Edmund. The kids were having fun playing with the panorama feature of their iPhones. They were Panoramin’. Here Erin has been cloned and finds herself quite hilarious. Benjy is also amused. I have my nose in my phone. I love this picture!

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The park is always ready to surprise you with moments like this.

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A wild huckleberry.

The huckleberry seems to be the only foodstuff unique to the entire region and Montana cuisine has embraced it with a vengeance. If you see a jar of huckleberry syrup on the shelf of the store you’re in, you’re probably in Montana. Besides ice cream, Montana huckleberry products include:

Huckleberry Preserves
Huckleberry Jelly
Huckleberry Syrup
Huckleberry Pie Filling
Huckleberry Chipotle Sauce
Huckleberry Barbecue Sauce
Huckleberry Vinaigrette
Huckleberry Daiquiri Mix
Huckleberry Coffee
Huckleberry White Chocolate Cocoa
Huckleberry Tea
Huckleberry Taffy
Huckleberry Lollipops
Huckleberry Hand Cream
Huckleberry Fudge
Huckleberry Body Lotion
Huckleberry Gummy Bears
Huckleberry Jelly Beans
Huckleberry Lip Balm
Huckleberry Licorice
Chocolate Huckleberry Cordials

and, if your huckleberries aren’t sweet enough, Sugar Infused Huckleberries.

As I was taking his picture, I had a feeling there was a bear eyeing me from the depths of the forest, making sure I wasn’t going to eat his huckleberry.

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The bighorn sheep weren’t as willing to fraternize as the mountain goats. These were hanging out on Mount Pollock near Logan Pass, about a quarter of a mile from where I was standing.

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The view from Logan Pass. The line on the mountains to the right is the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

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Glacier National Park is the most beautiful place I’ve been since we were in Norway.

We spent exactly one month—July—in Hungry Horse Montana, about ten miles from one of the entrances to Glacier National Park. We did a lot of other things besides explore the park while we were there.

We survived The Annual Battle of Hungry Horse. Every Forth of July, the 934 residents of Hungry Horse apparently line up on opposite sides of Highway 2 and shoot fireworks at each other. All night. And not little fireworks either, but big mortars firing aerial shells. We had a ringside seat. A few days later I told a local I couldn’t tell the private fireworks from the city fireworks. He said, “There aren’t any city fireworks in Hungry Horse.”

We took a boat cruise on Lake McDonald and had Corn and Potato Chowder at the Lake McDonald Lodge. We liked the chowder so much we had it three times while we were at in the area, twice in one day. We tried to have it a fourth time, but the Lodge restaurant was shut down between Lunch and Dinner the last day we were in the park.

Nan and I went to a lovely outdoor symphony concert in Kalispell, the nearest big town (population 20,487).

Leah, Nan, and I took a ski lift ride up The Big Mountain in Whitefish, my first ever ski lift ride, and I loved it! On the way home we payed a visit to the Hungry Horse Dam a few miles south of Hungry Horse. It’s surprisingly large, 564 feet high and 2,115 feet wide.

We drove around Flathead Lake and saw more cherry orchards than I have ever seen or will ever see again.

We ate huckleberry pie and huckleberry ice cream in many different restaurants.

We saw a big, noisy, SF movie, Pacific Rim, for my birthday in Kalispell. I enjoyed it, Nan wore ear plugs.

We sold the loft!!! Actually, our Realtor sold the loft. I hope she doesn’t have to work that hard for every sale.

Didn’t see a lot of glaciers. No big deal. Glaciers come and glaciers go. As a former Iowan, I have to say the last 12,000 years since the glaciers left have been an improvement. Others may disagree.

On a somber note, we heard about the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona where 19 firefighters lost their lives. We then had the chilling realization that the day we’d toured the Smokejumper Center in Missoula, June 30, was the same day the Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun by the fire. All honor to them.

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