glacier. st. marys and virginia falls.

due to a huge increase in the number of visitors (and/or covid), glacier national park had a ticketed entry system in place for access to going to the sun road. the passes could be reserved for a one week window in advance (and i think a certain percentage were sold as a one day pass that could be obtained the day of?). our week started on the day we arrived and ended two days before we left. so, on our last day to enter the park the easy way, we thought we would head over to logan pass to hike the picturesque hidden lake trail. only when we arrived, this was the scene:

soooooo, we had to make a quick change of plans, and settled on hitting up a hike that goes to st mary’s falls and virginia falls. we had done this one before, but there weren’t too many other hikes on our list, and we were internetless and needed to make a decision.
the trailhead for this hike is at a bus stop (for a bus that currently doesn’t stop there), so we parked at a pullout a quarter of a mile or so down the road, utilized my don’t even get remotely close to my family hiking pole deterrent strategy for passing cars, and off we went. this area of the park was burned up in a 2015-ish(?) wildfire. when we hiked it in 2017 it was still pretty barren. this time, the forest floor was lovely and green and clearly recovering.

the first part of the hike is sort of boring. i won’t lie. this is a “the end is the payoff” sort of hike. the first “end” is st. mary’s falls. not too shabby.

we took a break here, along with a zillion other hikers. there were a dozen or so teens jumping off the bridge into water, so we watched that for a good while. then an aggressive chipmunk ran onto anna to try to take her snack and she was traumatized so we started hiking again.

we always hum a little video game tune when we are rock hopping across streams. 🙂

before the final climb to viriginia falls, we experienced a bit of drama and sadness. the last 0.2 miles are no joke. it’s enough to deter a surprising amount of people who stop below the falls and call it a day. but we pressed on and soon enough our efforts were rewarded.

it was so cold and breezy at the bottom. so refreshing.

the big two kids thought it was cool. derek and i spent a bit of time climbing around and getting some extra photos and views. but one person was not impressed. at all.

on the way down, we stopped where most folks seemed to be tapping out, for a snack and some bottom up (and further away) views of virginia falls.

on the way back, we stopped to play in these falls, which were called like middle falls or something generic.

and then we were done. our last little family hike in glacier national park. i may or may not have been using this information as motivation. and since it was our last opportunity to get into the park easily during operating hours, we figured we should probably knock out junior ranger badges. the kiddos all already have a glacier badge, but the book was different, plus they were all in another age group this time, plus who cares? ranger badges are fun!

we dropped the kiddos off and derek and i went back out so i could procure my official glacier national park shirt. i settled on this long sleeve bear shirt. royal blue. you know, because one can never have too many long sleeve royal blue t-shirts. (i currently have five).

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