With summer just ending and some freakishly cold weather, a couple of my good friends and I decided to head into the States to satisfy the camping cravings before Fall/winter kicked into full gear. The convenient thing about being in Fernie is that it’s only an hour away from the border which makes these road trips easy to organise last minute and without much planning.
We took off early on Saturday morning after stuffing the fuel efficient Honda civic with all our camping gear, and only a short drive later had entered in the state of Montana, USA. We stopped for a hearty breakfast at Cafe Jax in Eureka, highly recommended to anyone passing through, and then to the gas station for some cheap fuel and dollar beers (God bless America).
Some more faffing about and retro music playlists including Hearts “All i wanna do is make love to you” and we had arrived in Glacier National Park by late afternoon. The views were instantly breath taking and were made even better by the weather, sunny skies and not a cloud in sight. We decided to make camp at the Avalanche grounds and then do a short hike as we were all restless from the long drive.
To get to the trail heads of Sun Point and Sunrift Gorge we had to drive up the aptly named “Going to the Sun” Road which is carved into the faces of the mountains and meanders up and over steep passes. Once on the hiking trails, we discovered that the afternoon was actually a nice time to explore as we were pretty much alone. The serenity levels were off the charts and we returned to camp relaxed and chuffed that after only few hours in the park we had seen some beautiful lakes and encountered wildlife including Moose, mountain Goats, Elk, Deer and a black Bear.
The next day we woke up after a cold nights sleep to much welcomed coffee and the discussed the odd noises heard overnight. Was it a trumpet or the calls of geese migrating south? We’ll never know. This aside we made our way along the same road to the Iceberg Ptarmigan trail head which would lead us to Iceberg lake, one of the bigger hikes we had planned and the highlight of the trip. Although the map said there was 1600 ft elevation gain, the grades were very subtle and we reached the lake in under 2 hours without much difficulty. We sat down to some well earned snacks in the company of an extremely inquisitive squirrell and then cracked open a celebratory beer which would serve as Dutch courage for what was about to come.
You see, a few weekends ago some other friends had done the same hike and dared to swim into the lake and climb onto an iceberg. With the gauntlet set and the fear of being branded a pussy, we took the plunge with yours truly leading the charge. I can honestly say that I’ve never been colder in my life! Like a threatened tortoise in the wild, my manhood retreated into it’s shell and the only reprieve funnily enough was when I climbed onto the iceberg. A kind man on shore took some quick snaps with my camera and we swam back. When we reached the shore the iceberg which was the size of a semi trailer had cracked in half and was following us. Why it cracked remains a mystery… Ada (cough)
It took a solid twenty minutes to warm back up even with dry clothes and the sun bearing down. Euphoric from the swim and beating hypothermia, we made our way back to the car receiving thanks along the way from many a kind American for the afternoons entertainment.
With our weekend coming to a close we hopped in the blue beast and made our way North. The drive home took us through Waterton Lakes National park and the beautiful views continued. Another great trip ended sharing photos over some good grub at the pub the Rum Runner.