Our next foray into Glacier was probably a bit more typical of the general experience. One of Alan’s friends, Eva, and her friend Taylor had come up for some adventuring for a couple of days. Eva and Taylor had never been in the park, so we pretended to be experts and made for Going to the Sun road.
Our previous trip started early enough that avoided park traffic. We were surprised when we found a 10-minute line just to enter the park. We began making our way up Going to the Sun road and I felt more like a lemming than a person in a car. We didn’t jump off the cliff; we just continued to follow everyone in front of us. We got to Logan Pass and every parking spot was full, we circled 3 times and decided that perhaps it was better to look for a different hike.
As a side note, Going to the Sun road is incredible. It doesn’t usually open until July to the high frequency of avalanches in June. During the month of June while the road crews are clearing the snow, cyclists can enjoy the road unencumbered by cars. It is a true modern marvel.
We drove towards the eastern entrance with a couple of hikes in mind. We pulled into the Avalanche Lake parking lot and it was full. We drove about half a mile down the road and found a spot by the side of the road where we would park and walk back to the trailhead.
There were people everywhere. You couldn’t go more than 1 or 2 minutes without passing a group. It felt less like nature and more like 5th Avenue. There were families, couples, and guided groups. They ranged in size from 2 people to upwards of 20. It was overwhelming and I just wanted to escape. We made it to the lake and the rocky beach was teeming with people. There was no escape, no reprieve. You just had to deal with it.
I had decided to run up the trail, so Trevor, Eva and Taylor were behind me. My solace was jumping in the cool lake waters and letting the sun dry me off. Shortly after my first dip into the water, they arrived and we all took our turns in the chilly water.
The return down the trail was much the same, couple, family, couple, tour group, family, couple, couple. We had happened upon a major park thoroughfare, and while the lake was pretty I was glad to be back at the car.
There was one lady that encapsulated the entire experience, though. She walked up to the sign for Avalanche Lake that included a little bit of information and a photo of what the lake looks like when you hike up there. She carefully positioned her camera so that she only captured the view of Avalanche Lake on the park sign. She snapped the photo, and walked back to her car, seemingly pleased with herself for ‘visiting’ Avalanche Lake.