Goodbye Glacier, Hello Yellowstone

September 7, 2011 – Our last day in Glacier National Park began with a breakfast of buffalo hash (delicious!), thick cut rye toast (nice and doughy), and French toast (almost like bread pudding – great) at Eddie’s Cafe.  They only had two servers, but at least they kept the coffee full while we waited.  🙂

Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake is a great hike in the western side of the park.

After breakfast we went in search of the rare Harlequin Duck.  We thought we spotted them two nights ago, but it was too dark to tell for certain.  We didn’t see any in MacDonald Creek, so we continued on to the Avalanche Lake parking area.  The trail was crowded, but we found a spot and headed up the Trail of the Cedars boardwalk.  The trail connected to the Avalanche Lake trail, a quasi-gradual climb of 700 feet over 2 miles.  The first part of the hike goes by a cool canyon where the water carved smooth corners through red argillite rock.  The trail continues through some pretty woods, and eventually gives you a view of Avalanche Lake; it’s a cute mountain lake, clear water but no amazing color.  It’s still worth the hike if you’re near Lake MacDonald though!

In The Woods
The forest provides good sun protection for most of the hike.

After the hike we stopped one last time to look for Harlequin ducks, and found three females sitting on a rock!  If you see lumps floating on McDonald Creek, there’s a good chance that they are Harlequin ducks. Post-hike treat was a huckleberry milkshake from Eddie’s; it was super thick and great!  A huckleberry cream soda and banana got us on the road, and onion roll and provolone sandwiches, as well as some fruit (including local cherries) completed our rolling picnic.

Montana Drive
The drive through Montana offered great mountain views.

The drive to Yellowstone National Park took about 9 hours; we were entertained by a great sunset, and not so entertained by an (either drunk, stupid, or both) idiot running across the road and giving us all of 2 seconds (no joke) to brake.  Public service announcement – do stupid stuff to screw up your own life on your own time without (almost) messing up someone else’s, please and thank you.

Yellowstone Sunset
The sunset on the way to Yellowstone was colorful.

Despite the “excitement” we made it safely to our home away from home for the next few days.  We’re staying at the Frontier Cabins in the Canyon area of the park – they’re basic but nice, and we’re ready for some hiking!

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