Before 2007, I had never been to Montana nor seen my buddy in 7 years. I thought it was about time and booked my trip. We discussed going to Glacier, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone NPs.
As I arrived in Great Falls airport, my buddy met me and apologized. I asked for what. His reply, "The mountains." I was confused. He further explained that the wild fires on the west part of the park were out of control and the smoke was blocking the view of the mountains. I had no idea they were all around the airport. Not to let it ruin any part of the trip, we pushed onto Glacier. What an absolutely amazing and beautiful landscape. For me, it is still the most beautiful place on Earth.
On a hike back from Avalanche Lake, my buddy uttered the magical word..."Bear." I didn't believe him and craned my neck to see what was above. Low and behold, a mama black bear and her two cubs (who just happened to go opposite directions on the trail in front of us. Swallowing extremely hard as mama bear glanced at us, I quickly made sure I was BEHIND my friend as he made himself "big" and waved his stick around while making noises.
As were settled in our tents for the night, there was only one thought running through my head. If the bear felt threatened and came after us, I only had to run faster than my buddy. :)