A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Glacier National Park: arrival

June 21, 2014
Emilie Phillips

These days, I don’t plan my trips far in advance. I did the minimum and booked our flights, checked on campsite reservations, and ordered maps. All the interesting campsites were first come first serve, so I put off reading the guidebook until I sat down on the airplane. The best trails required multi day backpacking trips, but that was not an option this time. I made it about half way through the book before we landed — enough to determine the north west side sounded pleasant but not extraordinary, the south sounded boring by day hike, and the hikes up by Logan pass and the continental divide sounded gorgeous.

My parents picked us up at the airport. They had been doing a bit more preplanning. The week prior it snowed and avalanched across the Going-to-the-Sun road and much of the road was still covered from the record winter snowfall. So the Going-to-the-Sun road up to Logan pass was closed with more snow forecast later in the week. That eliminated the gorgeous hikes near the continental divide.

We stopped at the West Glacier visitor center for more detailed trail conditions. They said there was snow on most of the trails and the northwest area in particular was heavily flooded. So that pretty much eliminated all the areas I had read about in the guidebook. However, in the little bit of preplanning I had done, I had identified Many Glacier and Two Medicine campgrounds on the east side as having the most hiking options. So we stuck with that plan and drove south around the park.

We camped at Two Medicine first because it generally opens earlier in the season. We arrived at camp around 7 PM, so most of the sites were full and we could not find a map. We ended up settling on a site next to the bathrooms. Other than the light on all night, the site was good. It was even in the no generator section.

That night, Tyson discovered he had chosen the wrong sleeping bag for the trip. Normally he overheats easily, and even with a forecast of near freezing lows, he thought he would be fine in his lightest sleeping bag. Not so. He kept adding layers during the night until there were no more at hand. By morning only his chilly nose was sticking out of the sleeping bag. We estimated it got down to the high 30’s F.