Sell my soul for cell service: AT&T was worthless in the park, getting zero data or cell service. The only hotel with decent wifi strength was the St. Mary Lodge and Resort, which is just outside the edge of the park. The hotels actually in park have pathetic wifi – if you were up for sunrise or up past 10:30 p.m., you could hope to get online, but it was virtually impossible otherwise.
(Yes, I know – in one of the great outdoor playgrounds, shouldn’t I be outside enjoying it? I completely agree – but it would be nice to e-mail my wife or see how the Sox did that day.)
Beer me: Highly recommend the local beers, especially the Going to the Sun IPA. That’s a fine beverage.
Bear me: There are bears (and moose, and other possibly-violent-when-provoked critters). Go hiking in a group. Don't bother with bear bells - ding, ding, dinnertime! - but bear mace is a good idea.
(Not) Bare me: Temperatures change quickly – I noticed a drop of 10 degrees just driving from Columbia Falls to Lake McDonald. Layers are key. (and good socks with liners for your feet.)
Winnah, winnah: Be kind to your servers – they may well have more advanced degrees than you.
For example, our charming waitress from Estonia at St. Mary’s Lodge, who had just finished her masters in etymology with a focus in folklore. And was two weeks from getting married. A word of advice to her new husband - good luck keeping up with her, but she's a keeper.
Class acts and great folks: We didn’t always get the best weather, but I can’t say enough about the group, which is really what makes these trips fun. Jim and Susie Kay kept the ship rolling, and the conversations and camaraderie from everyone were priceless. I can’t wait to do it again.