Our Coeur d'Alene Family Vacation Part III: Glacier National Park

By Wednesday evening, after Grandma and Grandpa Nelson had gone home, Bron and I weren't ready to be done vacationing!  We were having too much fun exploring with our boys.  Then we had this idea.  Since we were so close to Glacier National Park, we should drive up there for a night and show the boys one of our favorite places.  After all, it had been on our wish list to take them there since Bron and I visited five years ago!  So that's how we spontaneously extended our family vacation.  Worth it!

We miraculously pulled straight into a parking spot late Thursday afternoon in Glacier National Park and took the boys on the short hike to Avalanche Lake.  But first, to see the Cedars Trail.  

Let's do this hike!  Levi complained most of the way up.  But he changed his tune by the end of the evening; you'll see why.

You guys!  My favorite lens, my Sigma Art 35mm, is suddenly back focusing at a distance.  I am so bummed.  It works fine at close range, but capturing these boys in the landscape in focus at a distance proved to be a challenge this trip.  Darn malfunctioning lens.
^^Typical trail scene with all three boys.  Conrad either ran or rode on Bron's shoulders.^^
^^A purple and green moss covered rock.  Not as colorful as our last trip, but it's still there!^^

We arrived at Avalanche Lake!  The hike was worth it for the view and all the rocks Levi got to try skipping.

^^This picture makes me happy.  I might just print it for the wall.  Family GoPro selfie for the win!^^
^^Snack break!^^
^^Having fun with Dad's binoculars.^^

On our return trip back down the trail, a group in front of us was stopped.  They said there was a bear cub on the trail!  And indeed, there was!  Wow.  He was lost and alone and calling for his mama.  We stood back and watched this cute little guy as he easily climbed across fallen trees and crawled through the forest.  Sure enough, Mama Bear came walking down the trail to find her lost baby... with two more cubs in tow!  It was exhilarating to be so close to four Grizzly bears!  It was a wild experience.  We stood back to give Mama Bear plenty of space, then made sure to clap and make some noise as we continued on the trail.  We saw the four bears disappear over a hill.

From then on, Jed and Levi were running on adrenaline and excitement.  They told everyone we passed that we saw four bears!  After a while, we had to tell Levi that he was bragging and that it wasn't very nice.  Ha!  But we totally understood the feeling.  I honestly did not think we'd be lucky enough to spy a bear this trip, especially on such a popular trail, but we did!      

^^I'll never get enough of capturing all three of my goof balls in the frame... especially in such pretty light and scenery!^^

We hopped in the truck and pulled over at a few other sites before calling it a day.

^^Of course, Conrad had to get soaking wet!  Haha.^^

We spent a night in a hotel in Kalispell, Montana.  Then we drove Going to the Sun Road the next morning.  The views were GORGEOUS, but it was a zoo of cars and people.  Perhaps I can blame social media for ruining places like this with crowds.  Or maybe it's the healthy economy that has people vacationing.  Either way, it doesn't matter; it was frustrating.  We could not find parking anywhere.  Finally, I told Bron to take the boys on the hike and I'd stay with the truck.  And that's exactly what we did.  I drove a mile or two away, parked, and napped.  Bron and the boys saw goats and Hidden Lake!  So it was a win for the boys.  I'm glad they got to see a few incredible places God created.

And that's a wrap!  We drove south and arrived home a little after midnight.  This vacation is one none of us will forget any time soon.  You have no idea how often Bron and I turn to each other and remind ourselves just how lucky we are to be able to do this with our family.  These trips -- this family of mine -- are a dream come true and I will be forever grateful.

If you missed it, you can find Part II HERE and Part I Here.         

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