Today is Day 5 of the Government Shutdown and the frustration level in our family was at a high. You know that things are bad when your six year-old responds to a request to use good table manners with, “what does it matter when Congress has severed our lives”. That being said when it comes to Americans that are getting the raw end of the deal over Congress’ inability to do their job, we are way down towards the bottom of the list. Thinking about the number of people that are out of work, businesses that are losing money, families that are losing assistance, and plans that have been put on hold we feel very fortunate that our frustration simply comes from the fact that we have been denied access to Glacier National Park.
However, here we are in a 30 day cabin rental (that we can’t get out of) sitting sandwiched between the National Park and the National Forest. An ideal spot for easy access to numerous hiking trails, that is now basically like being a kid locked out of a candy store. We can see the mountains, we can drive up to the park, but we just can’t get through the gates. In addition the “educational learning trunk” that we were scheduled to pick up from the park staff today for the Younger Fives next homeschool unit can no longer be made available.
However, we know that we can’t let our frustration with Congress and the shutdown get the better of us. So, first thing this morning we drove down the road, into the park, and directly through the park barriers (with only minor damage to the Mazda 5). Once inside the park we enjoyed a wonderful day exploring the Going to the Sun Road and the magnificent vistas that it provides. It was really great to have the whole park to ourselves. Just kidding!!! We seriously wanted to do just that but civil disobedience with three kids in the backseat probably is not the best idea. So, instead we headed east on Route 2 looking for a way to get as close to Glacier National Park as we could without breaking the law.
We ended up stopping at Moccasin Creek where there is access to the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. While the area wasn’t exactly what you would call an example of Glacier’s stunning wilderness (the railroad runs along one side and Route 2 along the other) the river was gorgeous and we could catch a glimpse of the snow covered mountains inside the park. This was also a really great place to get rid of some of our pent up frustration. So, while other disappointed tourists passed us by on their drive along the southern boarder of the park, we threw countless stones into the river thinking aloud some of the things that we wish we could say to our elected officials in Washington D.C. Feeling a bit better we then headed to the local library where we checked out every available hiking guide that might lead us to some great “non-government” hikes. Hopefully in the days to come we will experience some wonderful Montana trails that aren’t behind barricades and our children will stop feeling like Congress has “severed their lives”.
Here is a link to a petition to re-open the National Parks if driving through park barriers isn’t your thing 🙂