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Images from Glacier Park

Hiking vacation

A hiking vacation can be a truly wonderful time in your life. It does not need to be expensive, but it is important that you bring the proper equipment. The most important piece of equipment is your hiking boots. But now I’m getting ahead of myself. As you plan a hiking vacation, you must first decide where to go on your vacation. In Glacier National Park you can choose from flat terrain or mountainous terrain. You can choose easy hiking trails or more difficult hiking trails.

In preparation for your hiking vacation, it is best if you can do some exercise and walking before your trip. You will enjoy your vacation considerably more if you are not huffing and puffing along the trail trying to hide your exhaustion by asking your companions the scientific names of all the flowers and trees in an effort to get your breath by slowing the others down. That’s always been my strategy, but it only works so long. After a few miles they seem to catch on to my plan. The rest of the way I must resort to prayer. My prayer is that my companions will see some interesting wildlife that will capture their attention for a few minutes so that I don’t use up my entire nitroglycerin on the first day of our wonderful hiking vacation.

Other than hiking boots, and being in shape, the next most important thing is to bring some waterproof adhesive tape. It is the best thing for blisters. Blisters can stop you even if you are in shape. But if you just take off your socks, dry out your feet, and apply a large piece of waterproof adhesive tape across the blister, you can continue on your hiking vacation without any pain at all. Be sure to get the one inch wide variety.

Blisters can be minimized if you have done considerable walking or hiking in your hiking boots before the hiking vacation. But even in this situation, you can still get blisters because you may be hiking more than usual on your vacation, and you may be hiking on different terrain that will cause more rubbing than you experienced during your preparation for your trip.

So, in summary, be certain to exercise before your hike, preferably walking several miles every other day for a month prior to your hiking vacation. Use your hiking boots as much as possible before your trip to break them in. Bring one-inch wide waterproof adhesive tape in case of blisters. And, just in case, bring a light-weight book that lists all the scientific names of the fauna and flora in the area of your hiking vacation.

One of the local secrets about Glacier National Park is biking on Going to the Sun Road in the spring. The park plows Going to the Sun Road, starting at Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side and Saint Mary Campground on the east side. The Going to the Sun Road gets plowed in short segments, how short these segments are depends upon the weather, and how much snow accumulated during the winter. The secret is that these plowed sections are open to hikers and bikers. As much as I enjoy biking I'm not a fan of sharing the road with a car. Biking on the Going to the Sun Road and using the yellow line as my guide is great fun.

The Going To The Sun Road opened July 2, 2008. According to a Glacier National Park press release 'This is one of the latest openings of the entire Sun Road. The latest opening on record is July 10, 1943, when the snow was allowed to melt out. The earliest Logan Pass opening to motorized traffic occurred on May 16, 1987.'



Moonrise from the North Fork Road looking east into Glacier National Park.