Last month Wendy and I took a backpacking trip to Glacier National Park in Montana. We had planned to go there around this time last year, but instead we had our wedding. The plan was to take two days to drive up and two days to drive back while spending 6 days and 5 nights in the back country. Beforehand we did two shakedown hikes to help get us ready for the trip. Both trips were 3 days 2 nights. One was in Uinta Wilderness and the other was in American Fork Canyon. This was also our first time to take Madie with us, and she really enjoyed the trips.
When we left town, we left Madie, our German Shepherd, at doggy day care at Dogmode. She seems to really like it there, and we have been impressed with how well they treat the dogs. We drove all the way to Missoula, MT the first day by interstate. That took most of the day and left us with about another three hours to get to the park. More importantly about the day, according to Wendy, it was Wendy’s birthday! She opened gifts and had cake a couple of days earlier to celebrate.
The next day, we toured around Missoula a little. Missoula is one of the bases where the National Forest service keeps some of its smokejumper wildland firefighters. I was particularly interested in this and was excited to get to see the base. There was a college intern there that was taking care of the visitor’s center and gave us a tour.
After driving around town a little more, we headed on to Glacier. We bought a National Parks annual pass earlier this year and used this to get into the park. Once inside we headed to the West Glacier visitors center. I have to say, I was not impressed at all with the visitor’s center. It wasn’t very big and it didn’t display much information. Even the gift shop was just a small room. We later discovered that the newer larger visitor center was on the East side of the park. From there we headed over to the backcountry office where we got our permit for staying in the backcountry. A number of national parks have gone to a backcountry permit or reservation system to help regulate the number of visitors to areas of the park. This helps with overcrowding issues that have been happening in national parks.