3-1342807279-31-many-glacierI was thinking last night about all the things that make this park so special. There is of course the overwhelming natural beauty of the place. But there is more to it than that. Montana is general is the most non commercial place that I have ever been in the United States. I have yet to see a strip mall, a Walmart, a McDonalds, or an Applebees. All the little towns that we passed through en route to Glacier were dotted with old fashioned Mom and Pop stores. Even the gift shops on the outskirts of the park are modest and there are very few of them. As a result, you don’t  see minivan after minivan filled with Griswolds with matching “I Love Glacier National Park” Tee shirts. That is a nice change.  One of the other thing that I noticed is that there are Americans here which is a change. This is a simply observation and a commentary on nothing, but in all other big national parks there were a ton of Europeans. So many that all of the signs at Yellowstone, Yosemite and Zion were in German, French, and Spanish as well as English.

elk horn tree

 Europeans really know how to vacation. After speaking with many of these families throughout the years, I learned that a typical trip to the United States for campy Europeans looks something like this.
  • Fly the entire family from Munich to  Denver at a huge cost
  • Rent an RV in Denver for 3 weeks at a huge cost
  • Do “the loop” consisting of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Bryce and perhaps Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Buy copious amounts of souvenirs at each local
  • Take 27,000 photos of little Hans and Gretchen in front of every visitors center
  • Take every tour, boat ride, and trail ride offered
  • Go home $20- $30,000 lighter3-1342807279-christmas-card

The other interesting thing about this park is the lack of concern for the visitors. This too is something that I really respect. There are not signs everywhere warning you about stepping over a ledge, or falling down a ravine, or warning you about the potential to be eaten by bears. They subscribe to the Darwin Theory of Park Management which states that if any given visitor is stupid enough to do something to get themselves killed, so be it. If enough people are eaten by bears, swept away by rivers, and fall off enough cliffs, the next generation of visitor will be that much smarter. And so on and so on, until park visitors  evolve into a species capable of making informed and intelligent decisions which keep them from getting killed. Compared to Yellowstone last year, there are a lot less stupid humans here. That is not to say that we have not seen our fair share, but it is much less compared to other place that we have been. The Darwin approach seems to be working. Before I leave, I extend to seek out the park superintendent and shake his hand.
Today the weather was predicted to get very nasty which never really happened.

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 We decided to take a short 4 miles hike on flat terrain so that we would make a quick escape if things got bad, but we lucked out. The hike was fantastic and the views along the trail were great. After reaching red rock lake we hiked out and drove to The Many Glaciers Lodge which is probably the most scenic lodge in the park. If you ever come here for a vacation and need a place to stay, I would say that this is the best lodge in Glacier.  It is 5:30 PM here and the weather is now just starting to move in. Perfect timing for us as out hiking is done for the day.