Have you ever stepped off the trail because of a loud pair of Chatty Cathy’s behind you? Or taken an extra break to let a rambunctious family get a little farther ahead? If you are like most folks who step on to the trail you are hoping to commune with nature. And that is pretty hard to do when you have a lot of people walking with you. There are trails where I felt that we might as well be walking down Michigan Ave during the Christmas shopping season. I love the hustle and bustle in the city, just not on the trails.
So I was surprised when I found myself loving our hike to Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park. I actually enjoyed the crowded trail. It’s a fairly easy 4.5 mile round trip hike with a wide open trail and an elevation gain of only 700ft. And the end goal is an amazing, beautiful glacial lake surrounded by tall mountain waterfalls. It is the perfect hike for families or less athletic visitors. It’s no wonder that it is a very popular walk in Glacier. Rather than being annoyed by the busy trail, I found myself enjoying the people around us.
Following the Trail
The trail started with 3 families traveling with a gaggle of small children. I turned to Brad and suggested we let them move ahead so we could enjoy the quiet. We were destined to be tangled with them throughout the whole hike. As we progressed we found ourselves enjoying them. Yes they were noisy to which we laughed about their natural bear repellent ability. But they were also interested in the trail. Brad found a standing hollow tree and showed it to a couple of the older children to their delight. It was great fun to observe the trail through the eyes of these youngsters.
About halfway to Avalanche Lake, we came across a large group who were completely blocking the trail as they listened to a ranger talk. Rather than being irked by the trail blockage, we decided to take a break and eavesdrop as the ranger talked about water conservation.
Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park is Magnificent
Upon arriving at the magnificent Avalanche Lake we found several dozen hikers mingling and helping each other with pictures. Each group politely moved out of the way to allow the next arrivals to get the best shots. There was a feeling of comradery and respect you seldom find in our hectic world.
You can’t help but be in awe of the waterfalls racing hundreds of feet down the far mountain wall to feed this lake.
We wandered down to the far end of the lake where the trail is less traveled and found a mountain view that many only dream of. Some crazy kids were swimming in the lake which you can imagine was quite chilly!
The hike to Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park reminded us of an important life truism. It’s so easy to get caught up in working to achieve your goal that we often forget to enjoy the small delights of the trail. Instead of distracting from our opportunity to observe nature at its finest, the busy trail forced us to slow down and see the woods around us.
We won’t be purposely seeking out busy trails as we do enjoy the quiet of the woods. But when we do find ourselves walking with a large group we are going to slow down and embrace what they bring to the experience.
If you have hiked to Avalanche Lake in Glacier, please share your story in the comments. If you are headed to Glacier National Park this summer and want an amazing hike pin this to your travel board!