Personal Journeys


March 14, 2004|By Special to the Sun

A Memorable Place

By Scott H. Krieger


Meeting the wildlife of the mountains

My family flew to Calgary, Canada, last summer, where we rented a minivan and spent two weeks touring the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park.

This was an area we had been longing to explore, and we visited six national parks -- Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier and Waterton Lakes.

Our children, Kelly, 18, and Jonathan, 16, were better and more enthusiastic hikers than their parents, and spectacular hiking opportunities above the tree line were plentiful in all the parks. We saw glaciers, ice fields, snow-capped mountains, wild rivers, waterfalls, beautiful mountain lakes and abundant wildlife.

Our most memorable day began on our first morning in Glacier National Park, where we awoke to a beautiful sunrise at our hotel overlooking Lake McDonald. After checking out early, stopping at several scenic spots and taking a short hike to Avalanche Lake, we headed for Logan Pass, one of Glacier's most popular destinations.

We decided to hike to Hidden Lake, about 3 miles round-trip from the lake overlook. Halfway up the trail, at the foot of Clements Mountain, we spied a couple of bighorn rams on a snowy bank -- their curved horns were glistening in the afternoon sun.

My wife, Becky, and I walked further up the trail while the kids lagged behind on the path below, admiring the animals from a seemingly safe distance.

Suddenly, the two rams charged in the direction of our children. My wife and I watched helplessly as our startled kids seemed frozen in their tracks on the trail below.

At what seemed like the last possible moment, the charging rams slightly changed their course and whisked right past the kids. The animals stopped on a grassy spot on the other side of the trail.

After that excitement, we proceeded to the Hidden Lake Overlook, where we saw a number of mountain goats. These brawny, hoofed animals were imposing but surprisingly docile. And they made no sudden movements.

The sparkling, teal-colored lake and commanding mountain backdrop at our final destination were breathtaking. The hike back to the visitor's center was all downhill, and we basked in the glow of Glacier's beauty. We would all remember this day as the highlight of our vacation.

Scott H. Krieger lives in Baltimore.

My Best Shot

Break for lunch

Steven R. Frantz, Baltimore

Lunch is taken seriously in Spain, as we learned during a recent trip to Barcelona. At 2 p.m., shops and banks close until 4 p.m., as does the post office and La Boqueria -- the market. It is not uncommon to see Catalans settle in a bustling bar like Cal Pep and order several rounds of tapas along with a cold beer or bottle of wine. What else is there to do for two hours when everything shuts down?

Readers Recommend

Mississippi River

Priscilla Teeter, Westminster

There is a surprising magic to cruising by paddle-wheel steamboat on the Mississippi River. We had dry, warm days and cool nights for tours of quaint towns along the route. And we were not to leave without a grand finale: a gorgeous sunset. Our tour ended all too soon.

Windsor Castle, England

Scott Berkenblit, Baltimore

My wife, Gail, and I recently returned from a trip to London. We spent a few days in the nearby historic town of Windsor, best known as the site of Windsor Castle. Capping off the imposing bulk of the castle is the distinctive Round Tower. The flagpole at the top always flies the Union Jack, unless the royal family is officially in residence, in which case the Royal Standard is flown.

Let Us Hear From You

We want to know about your travels, your experiences, your pictures. Here's how to participate in this page:

* My Best Shot -- Send us a terrific travel photo with a description of when and where you took it. (Cash value: $50.)

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* Readers Recommend -- Briefly tell us about places you've recently visited that you'd recommend to other readers. (50 words or less; photos are welcome.)

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