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Montana

Glacier National Park

11 - 16 July 1995

The year we decided to head for Glacier, we took our sweet time getting there.
By the time we arrived, we'd been camping four nights already. The previous night,
we had camped seven miles off of Highway 83 in Lolo National Forest, on a clearcut
hilltop, next to a logging road. A massive nocturnal thunderstorm rumbled in, and St. Elmo
put on a show all over our tent poles and zippers. Nobody knew where we were: makes you think
about what would happen to the kids if their parents get juiced by lightning. Free camping, anyone?

Alissa kept a journal for about half of that trip. The next morning, we drove North into Kalispell,
arriving at West Glacier in the park by 11 AM. We found a site at Avalanche Campground, near
the bathrooms, paying $10 per night (first paid camping so far this trip). After lunch, we jumped in
the van and headed for Logan Pass, on Going-to-the-Sun highway.

I think this was at 50 weeks!
Eat yer Chucky Larms!
Eli in Montana
August 1995
Avalanche Creek cascading down the opposite side, from Logan Pass
Avalanche Lake,
Glacier Nat'l Park
August 1995
Jenna, Brianna & Kara
At Avalanche Lake
Galcier Nat'l Park
August 1995
Jenna, Kara & Brianna
The girls in
Avalanche Lake
August 1995
Naptime is sacred
Eli & Ben havin'
a little nap
August 1995

From Alissa's journal:

...we headed to Logan Pass again, [and] it was cold & rainy. We packed a lunch & took
the Hidden Lake trail. One-and-a-half miles with 460-foot rise in elevation.

The hike took us through a beautiful alpine meadow where we saw seven mountain goats, six
of them up close. The hit of the hike was a marmot looking over the entire meadow.

It was so cold [that] Eli's eyes were teary, but he loved it. We had a snack, & headed back...
We drove to St. Mary's Lake, then went "home." It was raining...

...saw a concert [at Lake McDonald Lodge] by Jack Gladstone... it was pretty good...

Nap?? I don't need no stinkin' nap!
Kara & Jenna
on the trail
August 1995
Big peaks along Going-to-the-Sun highway
Going-to-the-Sun Mtn
with clouds on its head
August 1995
Over the bridge...
Brianna, Dad & Eli
on the bridge
August 1995
Run, Baby, Run!
Kara makes a break
for the light!
August 1995
Wilbur doesn't change much, does it?!
Mount Wilbur in
heavy cloud
August 1995

I wasn't keeping track of things back then. Just happy to have a little family.
Alissa lost interest in being the record keeper after a week of travel, but I figure
that's part of being a mom. Fifteen years later, I wish I'd done better job! The fact is,
we camped nearly two weeks with little kids. The most important thing at the time
was washing the girls' hair, and washing our own feet. It was almost a holy ritual.

Walk, now, & we'll get there...
Brianna, Dad & Eli,
Trail of the Cedars
August 1995
Where's my flight plan!?
Jenna in control
of her landing!
August 1995
Get a MOVE on it!
Kara snaps her
princess fangers...
August 1995
'You got any yogurt?'
Brianna & Kara
explorin' GNP
August 1995
Don't mess with pregnant wives!
Uh-oh.
What'd I do??
August 1995

We were hiking one day when Jenna suddenly took flight: she'd tripped on a tree root.
I have never seen a kid fly like that before, or since. Unhurt, she continued walking with
us. She was only four years old then. Even then, she could hike five miles at a time.

Each morning, except for one or two, the girls ate breakfast in their tent, because of the rain.
I volunteered to be the camp cook, while Alissa tucked all the kids in at night. Our children were
champions, unhindered by the adverse conditions. We got snowed on one night, but the cold
never bothered them. Generally speaking, we had miserable camping conditions, but they were
perfect campers. As they are today, all very tenacious. No whining, no crying.

This sign says 'Don't mess with pregnant moms,' Brianna
Ben & Brianna
reading signs...
August 1995
One of six peaks in the park which exceed 10,000 feet
Mount Jackson
10,052 feet
August 1995
Citadel on the right
St Mary's Valley
The Citadel
August 1995
Love ya, Mom!
Alissa & Brianna
keeping warm
August 1995
She was nine years old
Brianna making
pretty thoughts
August 1995

Every day, rain or shine, we'd hit the trail. Most of the time, our hikes were kid-friendly,
less than two miles in length. We didn't know, at the time, that anything more than that
was too much (they didn't know that either, heh-heh!).
We just took our kids everywhere we went.

I have no idea what mtn this is
Some peak on
the way to Canada
August 1995
1st acsent by whites in 1892
Chief Mountain
9080 feet
August 1995
Blackfeet Indians used to take bison skulls up there...
Chief rises 1500
vertical feet...
August 1995
Bet it's dramatic on the summit...
A mountain
in Montana...
August 1995
Let's go!
Ben & Eli
leaving camp
August 1995

There was a time when I'd memorized every peak we could see from the road.
All that data just sort of leaked out of my brain over the years. This park has two major ranges
within its borders, the Lewis to the east, and the Livingston to the west. There are hundreds
of peaks, not only in the parks, but in the length of both mountain chains. Lotsa stuff to see.

He was almost one year old...
Eli at 51 weeks
in Montana
August 1995
It was a rare, sunny day
The girls on another
long march
August 1995
I think maybe she's caught something!
Brianna leaping for
a little amphibian
August 1995
'Jenna, let's woll this twee ovew thewe,' Kara directed
Kara's & Jenna's
trail project
August 1995
Trying to find a little sun for the photo
Alissa & the girls
among the trees
August 1995

We took a few side-trips while we were there: one to Kalispell's Conrad Mansion,
the other to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. It was a great trip, but when it
came time to head home, we were ready. Alissa didn't even want to spend
a night in a hotel during the long drive home. I didn't like the idea, because I liked to do
all the driving! In those days, Alissa drifted from side-to-side when she drove (staying in her
lane, ofcourse), which made me feel like a passenger on Gilligan's Minnow. Eventually, however,
I got so drowsy that I had to relinquish the wheel.

I had been dozing a bit, startling awake every time Alissa corrected the wheel. Control
freaks don't sleep! She assured me everything was all right. It was about 3 AM, all the kids were
asleep. So I shut my eyes. I could feel the grade of the road change as we left the stand of trees
just north of Glendo, Wyoming. No street lights here. No nothing. Except for deer. Like that one.

She's already learning to peer over the top of her glasses!
High Fashion on
the dusty trail
August 1995
Above the clouds on Going-to-the-Sun Highway
These peaks are
big and tall!
August 1995
Nearing Logan Pass from St Mary's Valley, Lewis Range
Little Chief and
Citadel from the road
August 1995
Heaven's Peak, viewed from Going-to-the-Sun Highway
Flank of 8987-ft
Heaven's Peak
August 1995
One of about two hundred known waterfals in Glacier National Park
The ladies ran ahead
while Eli & I mosied
August 1995

I could hear it coming, with my eyes forced closed. Alissa didn't see it until it was 30 feet away.
I've always been afraid that she, or any woman, would try swerving wildly to avoid slaughtering any
small, furry creature. Most fatal automobile accidents in Wyoming are single-car rollovers: sleepyheads
and wildlife are probably the biggest factors.

Well, Alissa didn't even try to avoid Bambi. She just killed it, kept the wheel straight. Pretty smart!
I never worried about her driving after that. The deer made a perfect hole in the bumper of the van, and
we couldn't make any left-hand turns. We got home safe and sound, where Kara found our pet bunny,
Buster, headless in the back yard. Ofcourse, she was traumatized at first. She later matter-of-factly informed
Jenna that Buster was dead.

"His head came off," she said. Two animals in one day! What a grand journey, anyway.

A little rain doesn't bother this tyke!
Eli & Alissa in a
cold, rainy moment
August 1995
We didn't think trees would grow this big here!
The whole family
under a big cedar
August 1995
A pretty little sight, for a short hike
Avalanche Gorge
Falls, a short walk
August 1995
Whooo-ee! Maybe we should BOTH bathe in the river!
Ben & Eli, over
the big creek
August 1995
'Goodbye, Bambi,' she said
Deer damaged,
but home safe
August 1995

All images 2011 EBBoykin, Jr
unless otherwise specified.

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