Back in 2012 Clinton and I lived in Spokane, Washington with new puppy, Kyzer. I have always wanted to visit Glacier National Park. Clinton grew up in Spokane so he was able to visit Glacier often. I was just getting experience camping, which I had never done in my life myself (my mom mentions one time maybe in Florida but I don’t remember), and with a new dog I wanted to expose him to our lifestyle. We decided to take a week and drive to Glacier, camping along the way in remote sections of the National Forest where we could take hikes with Kyzer and introduce him to camping. I think this ended up shaping his life more than he thought!
Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana on the Canada-United State border. Considered the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem” and with over 1 million acres the park protects mountain ranges, lakes, over 1,000 species of plants and hundreds of animal species. What of the glaciers, you ask? Today there are 25 active glaciers. Step back in time to the mid 19th century and an estimated 150 glaciers existed in the park. With current climate patterns many scientists have predicted that by 2030 the park will have no active glaciers. What did these glaciers do while they existed? They shaped, positioned, and dictated the size of the Lewis and Livington’s mountains and created the lakes and valleys that are abundant throughout the park. While climate change is a bigger discussion than they blog wants to tackle, don’t think that the marvelous beauty and the evidence of millions of years of work by glaciers will disappear. It is evident everywhere you look at Glacier National Park. If all you do is drive through the park for a scenic tour, make sure to pick one view point to pull over, get out of your car, take a deep breath, and really view the landscape. Don’t forget to breathe!
Like most of our adventures, we always like to take the path less traveled so most of our trip involved back roads and pull outs for Kyzer to run and play. At the time he was maybe a year old and already enjoyed hiking and Clinton and up on Mt. Spokane and in a field next to our apartment complex. Camping, being outdoors and learning how to cope, knowing what to do when encountering wildlife…all of these are important things to teach your dog. Ignorance is not an excuse! Kyzer has learned through so many different life experiences how to cope with this “dog pack”, make sure if you are bringing your dog out with you that you do the same. We were able to find camping in Flathead National Forest and the area was beautiful! Kyzer was easily able to learn “boundaries”. One of your greatest companions when being outdoors can be your dog – never underestimate their willingness to learn. Because Glacier is a National Park we were unable to walk too far from the established trails or view point lots since we had Kyzer, but we always make those types of things work. Kyzer may not like that we step two feet away (and he lets you know) but the park is surrounded by forests and other land where dogs are able to roam a bit more freely. Take care at your national parks!
Some things I look back and realize doing these #ThrowBackThursday posts are how much we have evolved outdoor recreation-wise. The tent we used back then was very small and barely fit the three of us – now we have a tent that is perfect for the FOUR of us. I had been camping before with Clinton, but this was the first time we went with a dog. We stayed a few nights in the same camping area of Idaho and for those nights a lightning storm entertained us in our tent though in hindsight maybe we should have gone into our vehicle. That same campsite had a river flowing behind it and as a water dog, Kyzer absolutely loved waking up and playing in the flowing water. He learned how to cross properly and where NOT to pee. 🙂
Overall our trip to Montana was amazing. Stop along the way for huckleberry ice cream (you won’t regret) and always take that extra moment to stop and see the scenery. It is truly a marvelous place. It gets very busy over the summer and extremely snowy during the winter so if you are looking for a time to go and attempt to avoid the crowds schedule closer to the end or beginning of the season. We went in August and had a great time! Schedule a trip for the future, be a good steward of the land, and always enjoy the view!