Friday, August 22, 2008


Oh thank God I am back home. I can't wait to sleep tonight, as well as shower.

Also: Warning. Long post ahead. Let me list out what I write about:
- I got to ride a train
- Grandma on my dad's side is old but awesome
- I go to Glacier National Park
- I hike a lot in Glacier
- I nearly die riding a horse in a storm
- I go whitewater rafting in said storm
- I ride the train yet again.

We took a train over to Montana. Like a clickety-clack clickety-clack wooo-wooooo train. we arrived in East Glacier. I love trains, so getting to ride one was a treat for me. We got two rooms on a sleeper car, since our ride was overnight, and my parents refuse to sleep in chairs if they can help it. I took a ton of pictures out my window of the view while we were still in Washington. I just barely managed not to take a picture of what looked to be a Nudists-Over-Ninety Beach Party that was going on. Who the Hell strolls around a Seattle beach naked? The water here is below freezing.

In the evening we got to eat in the dining car. The booths seat four, and I was in a party of three with my family, so they stuck a party of one in the spot next to me. This extra party turned out to be a nice man named John who was from Great Britain. He tried his best to explain Cricket to me, but I'm still pretty confused. It also turned out that he works in the train industry, and was traveling across America by train for a vacation. His room was right across from my parents', so when they got drunk and noisy in the evening, he helped them put their beds together to encourage them to sleep. Smart, smart man.

Sleeping on a train is the opposite of restful. Just so you know. Also, the next morning for breakfast, John was randomly seated with us again. How good for us, since we rather enjoyed his company.

We spent a couple days in Great Falls, Montana, visiting my grandmother (My father's mother) for her birthday. She is now 96. My grandmother also rocks at Bingo, can put away food like nobody's business and still be skinny like Kelly, can hold her own in a game of cards, and is rather pretty for a woman her age. Which is lucky for me, because we look a lot alike. After a couple days in the city, we went over to Glacier.

... If you're not a Montanan, or know anybody from Montana, then you should know I mean Glacier National Park. To be specific, West Glacier.

There, my grandparents (My mother's parents) are working at Many Glacier for the summer. Grandma behind the front desk, Grandpa behind the cashier's desk. They took us on a lot of fun hikes over the next couple days and seriously wore me out. The third day started out a lot of fun with a hike to this beautiful waterfall. It didn't look like much, but I felt adventurous, so I adhered myself to the rocks and climbed up. The farther I went, the more waterfalls I found. Looking back, I can't believe I let myself cross this narrow not so much a ledge as a point outcropping of rock. One side was a sheet 20ft drop onto a cube-shaped rock, the other side crashing water. Okay, maybe not crashing, but swiftly moving. After balancing, shimmying, and gripping my way to the top, there was this 80-year-old man and his wife. There was a nice, gently sloping trail up to the top of the stupid waterfall. But oh well, because you couldn't see the triple-waterfall thinger unless you climbed some rocks. So nyeh.

Later that day, Grandma took me on a two-hour horseback ride. I like horses, and have a lot of experience with riding them. Grandma and I both worried we would get too hot while hiding in the sun, so we brought plenty of water and dressed for the sun. About 10 minutes in, little droplets of water came down from the sky. (No problem for a Washingtonian like me!) about 30 minutes in, we listened to the thunder crash again the mountains. An hour in and it was raining sideways, horses were running off and trying to buck off their riders, I lost feeling to my hands, and we were completely in the open with no protection from the weather. I didn't really start to worry, though, until I realized the rain didn't feel like needles anymore. I was too cold to feel it hitting me anymore. My horse was a real sweetie-pie, requiring only gentle nudges to the side to make him move, and only a slight pop of the reins to make him stop eating. When the other horses were taking control, he stood there patiently, not even bothering to turn his rump towards the rain like horses do naturally. Something spooked him once, though, and he started to run off in a random direction. But turning him back around was really no problem, since he was such a nice horse I didn't even have to force his head to the side to get him to turn, just pull his reins to the side a bit.

Grandma and I got completely soaked. When it rains like that, you'd expect everything except the spot you were sitting to get wet. But the water penetrated my jeans so completely that even that spot I was sitting was nice and wet. We were both shaking violently, and hypothermia was a real threat. Grandma actually managed to warm up a little bit while in the car, while I noticed when I wrapped up in a towel that I wasn't giving off any heat. she drove me back to my room, where we found that the power had gone out. Despite the fact that you're not allowed to take a shower there while the power is out, I took a really long, really hot shower. I do think it saved my life.

The storm continued for the rest of our trip. But that didn't stop us from going whitewater rafting. We put on wet suits, fleece, and rain gear, and paddled out with our guide on this nice stretch of river. It was wicked fun, the the rain let up a bit for us. We took with us a friend my grandmother had made while working. Her name was Lindsey, and she was just a little older than me. She wanted to go rafting all summer, but couldn't get a ride over to East Glacier. She really helped to make the trip a lot of fun. Our guide for the trip was named Kelly. She said she couldn't understand why anyone would want to go rafting on a day like that. When we told her we were all from Washington, thusly live in weather like that, she got really excited. She reads the series Twilight, which is based in Forks, Washington. The entire time we were out, she couldn't help but think about how much the weather reminded her of that book. So we regaled her with stories about the real Forks, Washington, while we paddled for our lives. Afterwards, she made us buffalo burgers and we all had a lovely dinner by the river.

Also, the rain was a different temperature than the river. So in the calm parts of the river, the rainwater would bead up on the surface, and just float around like pearls. It was amazing.

Rain rain rain, we headed back out to the train. Travel travel travel, I spied a hot-air balloon over some lovely green fields with little cottages and a forest not so far off. It was a nice view from my window on the train, but it must have been just as cool being up in that balloon and watching a train go by. Travel some more, another sleepless night on the train, and I am back home.

Tomorrow, I take a friend out to the fair for her birthday. Unless I screwed up, and she is actually in Pennsylvania. Then, I go out with my mother to find some kittens to adopt.

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