We had been to Glacier before and absolutely loved it but on this new adventure we were doing things a little differently both by riding out there on a train and then spending our time backpacking (hiking into the back country and camping there) while we were there. Let the adventure begin!
The next morning was Sunday morning. I very much dislike missing church but I don't believe there were very many options for church in the park (After I got home I found out that 2 different preachers that I knew were out at/by the park at the same time we were - though I don't know about this first Sunday - but they were there the 2nd Sunday - It would have been fun to meet up with them and have church together.) so we did our own little communion and Bible time together.
Park of this trail had burned in the Spring so that was a little different. It still was pretty in it's own way. We did have a better view of Lake St. Mary for a much longer period of time.
We noisily headed up the path but never-the-less after a little while along comes a black bear down the path towards us. At that point we really start making a lot of noise at which point he finally appears to notice us. He looked up at us and quickly turned around and went away. We didn't manage to get any pictures.
We were quite tired by the time we made it to our campsite. It was quite nice and the first night we shared it with a couple from Portland who were expecting their first baby.
While we were walking along on the loose rock on the side of the mountain we came up to a shoulder (or a bump) that we needed to climb over. As we were getting ready to do that a Grizzly bear stuck it's head up over on the the other side. It was only 25-30 feet away from those in the lead (which was not me - I was trailing behind). We were pretty startled and we started making a lot of noise. Mara was yelling "Don't look her in the eye!" which is one of the rules concerning dealing with bears. I was yelling "And back up!" That is another rule. I think Aaron is the only one that really started backing up. Megan was standing right next to Ken in the lead and just yelling. Finally I hollered "Megan, back up!" and then she came back to me rather shakily - leaving Ken and Jonathan with their bear spray reading to defend us if needed. She did take a couple of steps towards us but then decided against that. And she disappeared behind the bump again though not before we saw that there was a cub too. That was a close call! Meanwhile, where had she gone? Should we go back to camp and continue on our hike? We had all backed up and we couldn't see over the bump to see where she went.
Ken wanted to get to the top of the mountain but as we got up one part we would find out we had farther to go then we thought and Aaron's foot was hurting him so we ended up splitting up and Megan, Aaron and I went back down by some snow and a weeping rock wall and a little stream and the others went up to the top.
The kids were content with stopping at the ridge for Ken wanted to go to the top so I went with him. Up there he was able to count 45 mountain peaks. So fun and beautiful!
The next day we were changing campsites so we prepped as well as we could and headed to bed early.
We made the 5.4 miles in good time getting down to Rising Sun just a little after 10 am. We treated ourselves to ice-cream sandwich at the camp store. Then Ken had to take a shuttle over to St. Mary Ranger Station to get a new permit. Meanwhile the girls and I got tokens to pay for taking showers at Rising Sun. The boys decided that was unnecessary. I was very efficient and washed some laundry out while showing too. Then I embarrassed Jonathan by hanging it up on shrubs and posts out behind the shower house. :-)
The next day we had decided would be a rest day.
We ended our journey on the train at 5 something on Monday morning and then drove home arriving around 7 am. I was trying to decide if we were ready to just begin our day but Ken declared that he was going to bed for a while so we did and slept for a couple of hours. The youngest 3 didn't go to bed but instead had fun playing with Kitchi, checking on the other animals and just enjoying being home.
When we arrived home there were ice chests on our front doorstep from my parents holding some fresh milk, watermelon and plums (all from their farm). What a sweet treat. My sister and brother-in-law (our new neighbors) had taken care of our home and animals and it was so nice to see everything looking good. Mid-morning our next door neighbor called and said she had noticed we were home and wondered if she could bring over some Beef and Barley stew that she had made for our lunch. She also came bearing a bouquet of flowers. We feel so very blessed by the wonderful people in our life and how lovely home, family, friends and neighbors are.
Time on the trail is a good time for lots of singing (at least if you have the lungs for it) and so we sang quite a bit. It was fun to to think of so many songs that related to our experience of traveling, bearing burdens, the beauty of creation that we were enjoying, the mountains that we were climbing and so forth. One song that came to my lips many times was "Find Us Faithful". It is a song that I really appreciate the message too and so I am sharing it below.