Well y’all, it had been a moment since I’d been to a national park. This trip was long overdue! Glacier National Park was an absolute dream, and today I’m sharing PART 1 of my trip there last week.
Last fall when I was in St George watching my mom compete in Ironman 70.3 world champs, my aunt pulled me and my 3 sisters aside and said she’d like to plan an aunt/niece trip sometime soon.
We all discussed and nominated location and voted on our favorites, and the winner? Glacier. Here’s a look at my trip:
I left on Sunday morning for the Austin airport. I’ve said it one million times, but I’m SO glad we have great food options at this airport! I tend to feel a bit frazzled when I’m packing/saying goodbye to my boys/leaving my home for a week. Good food and nutrition is often an afterthought. So it’s especially nice to have a green smoothie or a big protein bowl before boarding my flight instead of relying on processed energy bars or bags of candy or fast food. Love ya, ABIA.
It took TWO flights to get to Glacier! First I flew Austin to Salt Lake City, and then I boarded a smaller plane to go all the way to Kalispell. The Glacier airport is teeny tiny with about 5 gates and one small lobby area.
I landed and was immediately greeted by my aunt Jeanne (who drove from Seattle that day) and my sister Cara (who flew from Dallas.) Yay!! We checked into our cute airbnb cabin and dropped off our luggage and then immediately headed out for…
…some pizza and beer. Glacier Grill and Pizza was about .2 miles from our house, so we were able to walk there!
They had a bunch of local Montana craft beer on tap. I went with a big IPA to kick off the trip.
And the three of us shared a pizza while we waited for the other two sisters to finish their journeys to the area. And then everyone arrived later that night and we got settled in our rooms, did one more airport pickup, a quick grocery run, and got some sleep.
^ Good morning!! The sun set at 10 pm and rose at 5:30 am, so I didn’t rely on an alarm clock at all during the trip. It’s so nice to have a break from normal life and allow my body to sleep as late as it wants. I brought my Yeti mug because I don’t know how to function without it. Ha! I literally NEEEED to have this thing to start my day the right way! Normal coffee mugs just get cold too fast.
We had a bit of a busy morning and lounged. Kylee and I played Wordle.
Drinking coffee, eating breakfast, talking, making a game plan for the day…
…and then we drove to the park! Our airbnb was about 15 minutes from the park entrance. We had to get a vehicle pass to enter the park each day (which we purchased back in FEBRUARY! These things sell out so fast!!) and it allowed our car to get into the park Mon-Wed. The cars that didn’t have vehicle passes had to wait until 3 pm to enter the park.
We made a quick stop at the Apgar visitors center to ask a few questions.
Side note: everyone at the National Park was SOOO lovely! Seriously, every single staff member or volunteer I talked with, from the park entry people to the checkout workers at the gift shops was just smiley and happy and genuinely so, so kind.
Ready for a wonderful day! We decided to start the trip with a drive along Going To The Sun Road, which is the famous (narrow!) road that was built in the 1920s and goes along the entire width of Glacier National Park. It’s listed as one of the top things to do in Glacier, so we started the trip with that.
And y’all, it really was absolutely stunning. I have zero good pictures because I get car sick if I look at my phone or move around too much, so forgive the lack of quality photography.
There were so many waterfalls along the side of the road and big, sweeping views of the mountains.
And I have zero photos of those amazing views. Haha! I told you, I really can’t take photos while I’m driving. But I enjoyed the view and watched the temperature drop, and drop, and drop….
…until we made it all the way up to Logan’s Pass, the highest point of Going To the Sun Road. Aaaaand it started snowing.
This was quite a shock to my Texas self who had just come from 102 degrees in Austin.
Haha! We did a short hike while we were up there, and I literally put on every single warm item I had packed. I’m wearing a t-shirt, and then a Patagonia fleece, a Patagonia down jacket, and a raincoat on top of it all. Also, please note the pants tucked into the socks and the black gloves purchased at the Logan’s Pass gift shop. (Which was the busiest gift shop I’ve ever seen, for the record. All of the cold weather gear was selling like hotcakes!)
At least we weren’t the only ones who weren’t prepared for the cold weather! Everyone seemed a bit shocked by it and I saw a lot of people in shorts and t-shirts who didn’t anticipate the temperature drop from the bottom of the park to the top.
Hello, big horn sheep! They seemed to very acclimated to humans walking around in their space.
Cold and happy!
Ha, y’all! It was just so weird to be in snow in June when it was literally too hot to be outside back home in Texas.
Cara’s .5 shot, take one…
…and take 2. That’s better. 🙂
Courtney and her baby stayed in the car for this cold portion (again, did I mention that we were NOT prepared for this weather?!) and then we all met up again to drive back down to warmth at the bottom of the park.
How cute is my aunt?
Ok Logan’s Pass. That’s enough of you. Give me some sunshine and warmth.
Ahhh, there we go! The drive down was more encouraging because we saw the temperature gradually rise and rise.
Love you, Jeanne! I’m so glad to have you in my life!
^ Pictured: a trail of hikers who are appropriately dressed for the weather. Haha.
I don’t know why group pics were such a struggle for us, but they were. ^ Take 1 was not my best, but everyone else looks cute!
^ Take 2…
^ Aaaand take 3. At least a few people have their eyes open in each one? Regardless, I love these sisters of mine and I love these photos and memories!
Hiking in Austin just doesn’t compare.
Turns out my gift store glove purchase was helpful even on the warmer hike. Note: if you travel to Glacier, even in the summer, pack a pair of gloves just in case!
We all took shifts wearing this sweet girl in the baby carrier. It was a heavy load so whoever had the baby backpack got an extra quad workout FTW!
There were a few horse trails that merged with the hiking trails, and a group of 5 horseback riders went past us. It’s so hard for me to not think of my boys during every single moment of the trip! I was imagining Milo and Dayton doing a national park trip with me in a few years and which activities they would enjoy. I think horseback riding in the mountains is in our future.
Love you, Ky!
It felt dumb taking pictures because still photos don’t do this justice. The water was ice blue and LOUD, moving fast from all the melted ice and snow. The color was truly breathtaking. The air felt crisp and clean and the mountains in the backdrop were awesome.
Every little bit of this park was just begging to be enjoyed and appreciated, and that’s what I did.
We stopped at this HUGE waterfall to enjoy the sound and view.
Beautiful! I texted Nate a picture of this fall and he replied “please don’t go whitewater rafting in that.” Haha.
Another wildlife sighting for the day!
It was unreal!
Kylee’s shift to wear the babe…slash get in the extra workout. Ha!
We wrapped up our afternoon of hiking and everyone wanted a beer, so we stopped by a little place called Paul Bunyan Bar & Grill. It felt very “Montana” with a wooden deck and a long, dark bar inside the building.
We ordered drinks at the bar and brought them outside to enjoy during the evening hours.
^ A story about these tots and fries: the restaurant was severely understaffed and the owner seemed very stressed out. She said the Cisco truck didn’t show up that day and she was just in, you know, a #mood. Haha. We said no big deal, we’re not in a rush and could just order whatever snacky things they had on hand. So I placed an order for sweet potato fries and tots to munch on while we drank our beers.
Y’all…a little over ONE HOUR later our fried potatoes were ready. Ha!! And it definitely wasn’t a crowded restaurant. Bless that staff…they all seemed so stressed for whatever reason.
Our beers (and second beers!) were long gone by the time our apps arrived, so we ate them in one of those frantic/starving states you get when you’re waiting entirely too long for a snack, and then headed home to cook a full dinner.
I made Smitten Kitchen’s smoky cauliflower sheet pan chicken for dinner, and we ate it on the living room couches while we chatted all the way until 11 pm.
And that was the first part of our Glacier National Park trip! I’ll be back tomorrow with part two.