This is where our love for adventure, travel, and the outdoors really came to life. We kept talking about how much we wanted to go out west and explore. We kept saying Colorado but I took a national parks class in college which led me to do a project over Glacier National Park. I immediately fell in love with this park when we briefly talked about it in class and saw pictures of it for the first time ever. I researched anything and everything about the park, I made a budgeted and unlimited budgeted trip to the park. The more and more I thought about it, I realized that we could make this trip possible. Fast forward to the next summer (2018) we were still talking about going on a trip with all of our friends. Ideas were bouncing around such as Canada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona. All of these ideas were great but I just couldn’t get Glacier off my mind.
Of course, I told them all and then they did all the research and 100% agreed with me that we should go. Six of our friends agreed to go; Kerri, Jake, Meagan, Kaleb, Chase, and I. We were about to take our first road trip 30 hours away to a place filled with beauty. We were all so excited but we had no idea what we were about to get ourselves into…
Chase had just gotten a new car, Toyota Sequoia which was perfect for the amount of gear and food we had to take for this trip. We made sure everything was in check and ready to go for our big adventure. July 31st 2017 at 9PM we headed out to pick up Kerri and Jake who would be riding in the car with Chase and I for the long 30 hours. Meagan and Kaleb were in his truck for loaded down and ready to go too. Kerri and I slept most of the night and honestly the next because what else is there to do when you’re stuck in a car for 30 hours?! Everything is going well but of course something decides to start making a noise on Chase’s car.
A squeaking noise led us to the O’Reilly’s parking lot for a quick break. The boys determined that it was the breaks so Chase bought new pads for the front. We replaced them and it was still squeaking. We had already been driving for 18 hours at this point so we decided to stop in Fargo, North Dakota to camp for the night. All of us jumped out of the car and got all of the gear out for the night. We set up both tents, all the sleeping gear, and finally started to make dinner. I made pancakes since no one was really in the mood to cook while the guys took a closer look at the car. Lo and behold, it was the back brakes making the noise the entire time.
So we are very fortunate to have a very strong friend, who had never changed brakes before, help Chase change them with very minimal tools. He literally pushed in the caliper pistons with his bare hands… After everything was in check and good with the car, we all ate, showered and went to bed. It was a noisy night as we camped literally right beside the interstate but we were very thankful to not be sleeping in the car!
The next morning we decided to just make some oatmeal and load up the car to keep trucking along. 12 more hours. That was all that was standing between us and the most breathtaking place ever. In the car, we decided to make a pit stop at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Snow. There was snow in August here! We ran out of the cars and out to see what we could of the park and then sprinted into the visitors center. May I remind you, we all had shorts on and 100% didn’t expect this at all! Anyways, we got our souvenirs and bolted back to the car.
Back on the road and driving through all of the coolest little towns. You could tell we were getting closer to the mountains as towns were few and far between, we had to keep checking for gas stations nearby, and lots of free roaming cattle. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the amazing view of Glacier coming in due to all of the clouds but once we hit it, man oh man we were speechless.
We drove in through the Indian reservation which was super cool to see and all of the free roaming cattle was cool too. It was truly amazing to see the mountains for the first time. I had my head out the window with the cool air blowing on my face and I couldn’t help but smile. This was it. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I did my project a year ago. I couldn’t believe it. We were FINALLY here.
We drove into the park visitors center and then drove into the park. We could only see a little bit but it was truly awesome. Chase stopped at the campground stores to ask about camping and we were delivered bad news….
There were no camping spots. Literally none for us to camp at tonight. 30 hours of driving to this park and now we have no where to stay?! The only option was to try to find a campsite at 8PM or sleep in the cars. Sleeping in the cars won and it sucked a lot. We tried to camp in the parking lot but we got kicked out by rangers. We drove back to the visitors center and slept there but we got told by a ranger that we had to cover up our friends truck which had a cooler, generator, etc in the back because it could attract bears. He was kind enough to let us cover up the bed with a tarp and sleep. I think he felt bad for us since he knew we drove such a long way, it was late, and we had nowhere to go.
The sun was up and we were all still trying to sleep but gave up quickly. So at 6AM we started up the cars and headed into the park to go to the campground to hopefully get a camping spot for the next couple of nights. The first view of the park that were saw was literally breathtaking.
The clouds cleared and the air was cool as we made our way into the park. Our heads were out the windows taking in every little sight. We couldn’t believe we were here! At 6:30 we made it to the line to try to get a camping spot. We had 4 cars in front of us and we were all very worried. Especially since we had 2 vehicles and 2 tent. Luckily, we got a campsite with one of the most amazing views, right by the bathrooms, and the water. So it was a win-win for all of us (girls)! We set up camp and then we set out to explore the park. We truly weren’t ready for what the rest of the park had in store for us.