Glacier National Park Hike
“The Columbia Mountains are steep and the valleys narrow, allowing for only a few easy hikes and a good number of challenging ones” read the trail guide picked up from the Roger’s Pass Visitor’s Centre. With an energetic, solar-powered seven year-old boy and a backpack to carry our two year-old daughter, my husband and I decided that we were up for the Glacier National Park challenge.
We headed to the Illecillewaet Campground, and selected the Mt. Sir McDonald trail. We were encouraged by a cheerful Ranger who insisted that the Mama Grizzly and two cubs spotted in the area would not be much of a danger as long as we stayed in a tight group and made noise. “Sing!” he suggested. I caught both his optimism and his warning, and proceeded to sing almost every song I know.
Our hike began on a wide, flat trail that followed along the ruins of the Glacier House Hotel. Here my concert began, a camp song describing how “The Other Day I Met a Bear.” The trail was formerly a mountaineering route laid by Swiss guides for guests of the hotel. We crossed a bridge at the confluence of the Asulkan and Illecillewaet Rivers. My singing continued “Flea, Fly, Mosquito.” The forested trail continued uphill along the river, not too steep but enough to get my heart pumping. My son scurried, his movement steadily ringing the bear bell on his backpack.
We arrived at a sign stating that we were entering an avalanche path, prime grizzly bear country. We proceeded, following the cairns that led us through the boulder field. Hiking, singing, and breathing in high altitude requires a lot of oxygen. I just have a feeling that perhaps, that day was the first time the words to “Oklahoma” rang out in that valley. We declared a stream in the boulders our turn-around spot. The descent was quick, we never met the bears, and the kids happily posed for a picture at the end of the trail. Hiking: if the kids are happy, “Everything is awesome.”
Published: August 8th, 2014
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