It seems Glacier will be our last National Park in this trip. We have plans now for its last leg – last because we already know when we will be returning to Poland. I will not say that the trip will be over because it is the beginning of something new, yet still we do come back to Poland. And no, we have no idea what we will do next but we talk about this more often now.
Szymon made a calendar and crosses out days left till our return. He also makes plans to remake his room. The hungry panda keeps talking about meat-pies, dumplings and dills. Seems like we have enough of American diet and Asian rice.
While in Glacier we all feel like we had enough of camping life and we all dream about just lying in a hot tub and getting a good sleep in real bed for more than one night. Until then we are trying make the best out of our last days, while enjoying the views of beautiful mountains, turquoise-green lakes and countless waterfalls. There used to be more than 100 glaciers here but only 20 survived to the present day. Global warming at hand. Crystal-clear mountain air? Forget it. There are millions of tiny particles in the air. They can be seen with a naked eye in the beam of a flashlight at night – they look like plankton in the ocean. The dust and smoke from forest fires often covers the mountains and one can barely see them. The air pollution is very visible.
There is a ton of animals and all the time I keep hearing stories of people spotting bears with cubs. No luck for us though, no bear nor moose. There are marmots, deer and mountain goats – the latter being the symbol of this park. We also managed to jump into snow and throw snowballs – dad, can we stay here longer?
On the last day we saw a forest fire which started on the previous night due to a lightning strike. A strange cloud was moving towards us and the air started to irritate our throats. Suddenly a ranger car appeared and announced emergency evacuation procedure due to forest fire. We started to methodically pack our stuff while Szymon was running around a little shaken and kept asking “what should I do, how can I help?”. At express pace our camp disappeared in the trunk and we left heading west. Huge, strange cloud covered the sky and while passing Lake MacDonald suddenly we saw the second (of three) forest fire, we were not aware of. The whole mountain was on fire, from the lake shore till the top. A column of red smoke tall in the sky and this was the most scary thing I have ever seen.
Our campsite was first to be evacuated but upon arival to our motel in Whitefish news came that the MacDonald Lodge, the next campground and all private residences followed and the whole road was closed.
We know already that the fires caused by thunderstorms are normal here and nature needs them. Still the power of the element was terrifying and it can easily go out of control if the wind starts to blow stronger. The firemen of Glacier and other parks, we keep our fingers crossed for you!