As you can see from this title, this was a very pivotal point in my life. I was stretched in ways I cannot even express. This trip happened right before one of the biggest changes happened in my life. Going into this trip, I had a lot of insecurities and doubts about who I was and who I wanted to be.
Nature creates this forsaken clarity and stability which is available to us at all times. Simply going for a walk, hugging a tree (although you may look crazy, do it anyways), lying in the grass, smelling a flower. All of these things stimulate a shift in our thinking. We remember that no matter how crazy our life may feel/be, the present moment is all that exists. The past and future our out of our hands- this should feel like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders or like the old saying “a breath of fresh air” (duh! That’s why that saying exists. Because fresh air or being outdoors gives us a release from tension). This lack of control means we are free to be who we are right now. Unapologetically free to be ourselves.
As this trip progressed, I was reminded of what I valued- my relationships with people I love. When these relationships became rocky or tensions arose, I would crumble. I would be overwhelmed by insecurities and doubts. I would question who I was and what my future was going to look like. My foundation was in the wrong place. Rather than relying on others to tell me who I was and what I was worthy of, nature reminded me that was worth is constant. It is not dependent on how others treat me; it is rooted in faith that I am exactly who I need to be and where I need to be.
I did things like fly-fishing and ate lots of nachos and tried huckleberries had honest, tough conversations and went on runs where there had been bear sightings. I pushed myself to do things I thought I didn’t enjoy and realized those were things that were fueling my heart to keep going. Pushing my limits was the start of discovering that I am more than the limitations others put on me and limitations I had surrendered to.
These discoveries are available indefinitely and most importantly right now. You do not have to go to Glacier National Park or even on a trip to discover this, change begins at the point of acceptance. Accept what is true and drive out the lies that dance in your head. Accept what fuels you and drive out what hinders you. Accept freedom and drive out fear.
Now back to Glacier…
Our adventure actually began at our layover in Minnesota for a few hours at the Mall of America. It is a short train ride ($2 and 20 minutes) from the airport, where we spent time walking around, window shopping, and grabbing a bite.
We flew into Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, Montana. The airport is 30 miles from the West Entrance of Glacier National Park and 12 miles from the town of Whitefish. We spent a night in Kalispell before we fueled up with gas and snacks for the week.
We stayed at several different places which was fun (but also meant you had to pack and unpack several times). We stayed in a train car, mobile home, and a hotel. These were at several points surrounding the park at the West Entrance- this is where most of the action happens.
- Going-to-the-Sun Road is the road (only open during Summer so check before you go) that takes you through the entire park. It is basically carved out of the mountain so you can see valley views, waterfalls, and even a few mountain goats. There are pull-off areas you can get out and snap some pictures. Without stopping, it takes at least 2 hours to drive the full 50 miles of Going-to-the-Sun Road. Must-see stops along the way are: Lake McDonald, Trail of the Cedars, and any of the pull-offs along the valley.
2. There are plenty of hiking trails at various levels and distances. Ones I recommend are Avalanche Lake (4.6 miles), Logan Pass (2.8 miles), St. Mary/Virginia Falls (3.1 miles) and Fishercap Lake/Redrock Falls (3.6 miles and lots of moose). Bring your bear spray and stay loud to keep the bears away.
3. This was my first experience fly-fishing. You rent gear and buy a permit at any of the local shops. They will tell you the best spots to go to. Funny story, on my first cast, I caught a beautiful trout! At this point, no one had taught me what to do WHEN I caught one, only how to cast so I began to dance and almost lost my fish. While driving to several different fly-fishing locations, be sure to try anything huckleberry!
4. Another city you MUST see is called Polebridge. It is the most picturesque, quaint town. It feels like going back in time with no cell service, one restaurant, one market, GREAT fly-fishing, and a community volleyball court. What more could you need!
5. You can also take a day trip to Canada, but we forgot our passports! Bummer!
Again, unfortunately this post is not as in-depth because this trip happened in 2016 which was 2 years before my blog. Luckily, everyone is so helpful and maps are plentiful. Be spontaneous and stretch yourself. Allow nature to cleanse you and reset your mind to what is important- taking care of yourself.
Thinking about other national park visits? Check out Grand Tetons!