On the South shore of Lake McDonald, in West Glacier, lies Apgar Village. It's a wonderful little strip of gift shops, cafes, and rental places. Each of three days stayed at Fish Creek Campground, we visited Apgar Village. We enjoyed food at Eddie's Cafe and Huckleberry ice cream at a ice cream parlor around the corner, and souvenir shopping. All these places were wonderful but Glacier Outfitters is the most memorable place in Apgar Village because that is where we rented the canoe...
Before we headed out on Lake McDonald in our red canoe, we were given a warning. Do not canoe down the middle of the lake (a little foreshadowing). The southern shore was the beginner area, along the edges of the lake was 'intermediate', and the middle was simply 'X'ed out. With the wild pushing us, we set for our first destination; Fish Creek beach. The photo before is taken on the to Fish Creek. We got there in only 20 minutes, and we had 1.5 hours to canoe. "Let's go further!"
We reached the second bump out from Fish Creek beach. It was a small beach with 0 people as far as you could see. We pulled the canoe ashore, explored the rocky beach, marveled at the Sprague Fire north of Lake McDonald and decided to head back. At this point we had 50 minutes to return. "Perfect timing," we thought, since it had only taken 40 minutes to reach this point.
Immediately when we tried to push our boat off shore the winds that easily guided us North, where blowing harder than before. The first 10 minutes was spent arguing about how to row the boat. At one point our canoe literally turned 180-degrees and we were facing the wrong way, getting pushed back to shore. I told M we needed to stay close to shore because if we tipped, we wouldn't sink, but it was impossible. Heading to shore meant turning the canoe perpendicular to the wind and the waves, which caused use to nearly capsize. M said, "we have to go down the middle."
Now...here we are, our first time in a canoe, rowing with all our strength down the middle of the lake. Another 5-10 minutes was spent on us arguing on our communication. I couldn't see what M was doing, since I was in the front, so we had to communicate which side to row and when. Let me tell you, this isn't easy while cresting waves and praying you don't sink in the middle of the lake. Then, miraculously, we started to hustle. We found our rhyme, communicated like pros and sped down the center. At one point we passed two kayakers trying to make it back to shore, and left them in our dust. We had to aim for a point left of the shore since that's where the wind was coming from (so we were paddling straight into the wind), and then we would stop paddling to correct position to the shore. And so it went, paddling left, correcting straight, paddling left, correcting straight. It was challenging, but we figured it out.
Finally, the shore was in reach! All we kept imagining people coming up to us in awe after we hit shore, like we just sailed through a hurricane, but all we got was "Oh, that looks fun!" M and I were sweaty, wet from the waves and exhausted. We said back, "don't go canoeing when it's windy."