Camping, Hiking, and the Pretties Lakes You Ever Did See...

When planning this trip, in addition to the things I already mentioned, another thing that I really wanted to concentrate on was having longer camping times in different locations. One of my chief complaints about our East Coast journeys was how many times I would have to set up and tear down our tent. One night here, one night there, it was a little frustrating and made me long for Gwen to get old/big enough to be out of her booster so that we could just car camp already without having to worry about taking that thing in and out a million times! That said, I love tent camping, so that's not really what I want. So this trip, while we did start with just one night in a state forest, we spent 2 nights/3 days at our other two stops. Not only did we want that since we wanted as much time as possible in these amazing parks, but also, we greatly enjoyed that much less fussing with a tent!

That said, we arrived at Powell to find ourselves in a campground clearly geared towards RVs, with a sky threatening rain... and I just couldn't. So we grabbed ourselves a cabin right next door, and called it good. 

The next morning as we got ready to leave we discovered that while we're pretty damn good at this by now, I'm not above completely messing up. You see, I'd packed two bags... lighter, warm weather stuff in the first bag for our time in SLC/Idaho, and heavier stuff for our camping times in the second bag. Well I opened that bag and realized I hadn't packed myself a single shirt. Not one. 😳

So please pretend that I'm not wearing the same 2 t-shirts on rotation for the rest of our trip. Ahem.

So that brings me to our first National Park stop (and our second new state)... Glacier National Park in Montana!

Everything about Glacier was amazing and beautiful from the start. The campsites were large, level, and surrounded by the tallest trees! We got set up in camp, and headed out to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 50+ mile stretch takes you from one side of the park to the other, past 10-mile long Lake McDonald, over some amazing mountains, and through some of the most gorgeous views I've experienced.

I could stare at this all day!

We made stops along the way, and met some wildlife.

Glacier quickly moved up to the top spot of favorite National Park we've ever visited!

We slept well that night, in the chilly air, but warm under our extra blankets with rain making some soothing white noise against our tent.

We actually slept in a little the next morning, but got up, ate, and got going quickly to do more exploring. We headed out to check out McDonald Falls, hiking along the river a ways. It was a gorgeous hike!

The day was a little grey, but that didn't dampen our day, as the park was just so gorgeous.

After that we headed to Trail of the Cedars, a shorter loop trail that wraps through an amazing section of woods that has some of the most amazing 100 ft cedars. There hasn't been a burn in this particular section of woods for 100s of years.

Gwen prefers rougher trails, but the view here was lovely, and we enjoyed the neat raised walkway.

We found a river bank to eat lunch along after that, before starting the rest of our day.

We stopped to check out more river views and more falls. 

We also headed to check out Historic McDonald Lodge, and took a boat ride on the lake.

The boat captain was amazingly nice, and let Gwen drive the boat for a while!

We did a little more driving, heading a bit North up to where we ran out of paved road.

Then it was back to the campsite for one more night.

Another great night of sleep, and then it was time to pack up the campsite. From there we turned back South to Yellowstone National Park. And I'll finish with that in Part 3 since this has become so long and picture heavy!

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