Walking in the woods

Avalanche creek waterfallWhen my mom and sister were here for a visit a few weeks ago we spent some time one day going for a stroll in Glacier. My sister, poor thing, busted her tailbone snowboarding so we stuck to a very gentle trail for her sake. Trail of the Cedars is a boardwalk through a very old cedar grove. Some of the cedars are more than 500 years old! Avalanche Creek runs through it all, and comes down the ravine in twists and turns around the stone. In this photo the creek is actually about as low as I’ve seen it. This photo was taken before the melt really started.

Girls in the cedarsHere’s my mom (left), yours truly (middle), and my sister (right) at the overlook of the waterfall. Family resemblance?

Boys trail of the cedarsAnd here are my boys in the same spot. What lovely boys they are, too.

Feeding park employeesSomebody let a prankster loose with a permanent marker on the trail, and that person had all sorts of funny things to say (including ridiculous bovine-themed haikus). This is one example.

Pathway through the woodsIt’s a very easy trail, but a very beautiful one too. I love the hush of cedar grove, the humidity those trees create beneath their canopies, the sound of birdsong from branches distant.





One fabulous weekend

This past week, Nic and Victoria of the Great Northern Resort graciously allowed us to stay at the resort. We had an absolutely fabulous time. We ate amazing food made by Meg of Earth Angel Organics (come cook for me every day, Meg!) and went on a really fun (if blustery) snowshoe hike to Johns Lake in Glacier.

Johns Lake was a pretty cold place to be Saturday afternoon, but beautiful nonetheless. I think this photo looks like an old daguerreotype. The snow was really falling (we had quite the blizzard that night), which obscured the view of some Glacier peaks that is visible from the middle of the frozen lake. But it was still worth the hike. The forest is a beautiful place, especially in the winter, when it seems hushed and secluded. Part of a different world. And yet the sound of snow falling on the pines is deafening. Trees sway in the wind, knocking together. Deer bolt from their bedding places and shake the snow from their backs. Everything looks so different from summertime.

Shawn and Nic take in the “view.”

We came upon several deer on the hike (none of my pictures turned out – ARGH!). The looked cold, covered in snow, and wary. But they watched us as we watched them, probably loath to leave their warm bedding spot. Deer do have hollow hair, however, which helps them keep from freezing.

Maybe this handsome man has hollow hair as well? At least it’s woolly!

Check out that icicle in the middle that came from two separate icicles.

After Johns Lake, we hiked down McDonald Creek, which was really rushing for the middle of winter! I guess with the off-and-on melting the past month or so the river’s up. This is an “off” melting week. According to weather.com, it currently feels like 0 degrees (it’s actually 9), and that’s up from feeling like -22 this morning! It wasn’t that cold in the Park Saturday, but it was snowing hard!

I’m always amazed by the ability of trees to grow in the seemingly most impossible places. This tree is growing out of a rock. It grew down, in a curve, and then back up. Talk about a precarious perch!

This is Sacred Dancing Cascade on McDonald Creek. Nic told us that the Blackfeet (Glacier’s original inhabitants) believed that spirits got trapped in the glaciers, and when those glaciers melted, the spirits floated down the creek. It took them a while to warm up and the Blackfeet believed the spirits warmed and escaped back into the air at this waterfall. Hence Sacred Dancing.

Saturday night we went to an Irish whiskey tasting at the Stonefly Lounge in Coram (My new favorite bar, though the Belton Taproom is a really close second…). We tried six kinds of whiskey (Jameson, Michael Collins, Bushmills’ Black Bush, Jameson 1780 — their 12-year-old whiskey — Tyrconnell and Redbreast. I think Black Bush and Redbreast were my favorites. No pictures from the evening though because we were too busy getting our drink on!

These are the Swiss-style chalets at the Great Northern Resort. We stayed in the one that’s second from the right. Two Bear. We had a lovely, cozy weekend there and LOVED the fireplace.

Amazing food + fireplace + comfy bed + Internet + cable + raging blizzard = fabulous winter getaway weekend!

Here’s the view from Two Bear (when it cleared up Sunday afternoon).

There was quite the drift on the path to the parking lot from the chalet Sunday after the wind howled all night (thank you Nic for digging us out!). Here’s me for scale. Standing, the drift came to above my waist.

This certainly is a beautiful place!