Glacier National Park (GNP) is to be feared and respected like your Latin teacher who was terrifyingly strict, but ended up being one of your favorite teachers. One should not take the park lightly. A man hiking in GNP went missing this July and still hasn’t been found despite extensive searches. Steep heights, bear attacks, and unpredictable weather changes are just a few things to be concerned about when hiking here. Matt and I wore bear spray canisters for every hike. Luckily no bear attacks, but we did get to see a grizzly from a distance who was happily eating berries. Also, side note: being a bear would be the best. Your main goal is to eat constantly, then to sleep all winter. Living the dream!!
GNP is referred to as the Crown of the Continent. It is cold and magnificent like your favorite Disney villain. It rises above all other national parks in beauty. We had a few (er, a lot of) hiccups when we first arrived. We snagged a camping spot at Many Glacier campground which is popular and first come, first serve. We were very excited about this, but our excitement quickly turned to frustration. We had to set up our RV in the freezing rain and we realized our RV battery was not fully charged so the heat wasn’t working initially. Also, our slide out was, well, not sliding out like normal. It took three very chilly hours to finally get things set up.
The first two days were rainy and foggy. We stayed in our camper and watched movies (glamping at its finest). Finally, on the third day the sun came out and the fog cleared up. You could actually see the mountains surrounding our campsite! We went on hikes, drove on Going To the Sun Road (the most scenic drive in America), and did a day trip to the Canadian park Waterton.
We went on three long hikes during our stay at Glacier: Iceberg Lake, Highline trail, and Grinnell. The views were so devastatingly beautiful that they could make you cry. I couldn’t help but to take 1000000 pictures every hike. These hikes made me feel like I was back in fourth grade science learning about water cycles. You get to see all the stages in one hike! These hikes have it all – glaciers, lakes, rivers, creeks, fog, waterfalls, clouds, and precipitation.
Also, I’ve been low key panicking about climate change for years, but now it feels more urgent than ever. This is what I learned while at the park: The glaciers are melting. There used to be about 150 glaciers when the park was initially established in 1910 and now only 25 are active glaciers today. Over the last hundreds of thousands of years, the Earth cycles through warm periods which causes glaciers to melt. This is normal. We are actually in a warm period right now. However, what is not normal is how fast they are melting now due to increased carbon dioxide created by humans. It is an alarming speed that can have devastating impacts like increased severity of wildfires and species extinction. They anticipate all the glaciers in the park will be completely melted by 2030!! I’m anxious just typing that last sentence out.
So please vote for politicians who believe in fighting global warming. Tell your politicians that the concerns for climate change are important to you. Or run for office yourself – I’d vote you!! Evaluate your own carbon footprint and figure out small lifestyle changes you can do each day to reduce it. Mother Earth didn’t have to create this beauty for us, BUT SHE DID PEOPLE and because of that SHE DESERVES OUR RESPECT AND MUST BE PROTECTED….. Phew – okay back to my regular blogging.
After a week in the GNP, we packed up our stuff and headed south where I finally got some cell phone service. It was nice to be off the grid for a week, but I’ll sheepishly admit that it was really great to call my family and update my Instagram account.