Saturday, July 9, 1994
- From: Fish Creek Campground, loop c, Glacier National Park
- To: Fish Creek Campground, loop d, Glacier National Park
- Miles traveled: 0.2
- Brew pubs visited: 0
Quote of the day: “Why are all the flags at half mast?”– Laura and Tom
“I don’t know. Maybe Nixon’s still dead.”
We moved to another spot in the same camp to get some distance between us and the Winnebagos and those generators. Although our grocery-store clerk/oracle gave us a good recommendation for campsites, we found ourselves a little close to the people who get away from it all by bringing it all with them. Fish Creek is a perfectly good white noise generator, thank you very much; we could do without your gas generators.
Now, off to do some hiking. What a beautiful day – hotter than we thought, but we’ll take it. We chose trails that were surrounded by big trees, and I have to keep reminding myself the Rocky Mountains are all around us. We’ll get that straight tomorrow, but today is Glacier on a micro level, where you look down to see the cool stuff.
Our hike leads us up the Sprague Creek trail, and we can feel the elevation. Also, at this elevation, the sun is fierce. Or maybe it’s just that I can’t believe it’s summer when there’s snow in the shady spots. We abandon all hope of reaching Sperry Glacier (who were we kidding?) and veer off the Sprague Creek trail and visit Fish Lake. I guess since our visit was un-planned, the fish are not home. Still, it is a gorgeous spot for a break in the shade. Pete fishes, swims, sketches. Laura writes in her journal. Tom paints. I write postcards.
Back at camp in the late afternoon, we sit in the shade of the massive cedars and take turns reading Laura’s great-grand- mothers’ 1935 memoir of her trip to Glacier National Park. Helen Binney Kitchel took a train to Glacier with her adult children, stayed in the park for a month and rented horses. We have two cars, two and a half days and no horses. We keep telling ourselves we’re “only getting a snapshot” of the park and we’ll be back to explore another time.
For the past eight days, we have been often reminded that this is a survey course, not an in-depth research project. We have driven past perhaps a million roads-not-taken in our trek through Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. We have been through some of the most stunning, interesting, beautiful terrain on the North American continent and we’ve barely gotten off the big roads. We’re all a little frustrated that we don’t have two years to make this trip, and really cover everything well. Two weeks will have to do.
2009 Update: Fifteen years on, I really miss days like this one. A placid day with a picturesque hike followed by sitting around reading – it just doesn’t exist in my present-day world with young kids and a spouse in graduate school. Maybe some day, years from now, I will take my own grown children to Glacier National Park, where I can promptly ditch them, hike all morning, and read all afternoon with a beer nearby. Until that day, I have my memory of this day.