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PARK  RANGER

Glacier National Park
Northern Montana

Thursday, July 29, 2004

While visiting Glacier National Park in Montana I had a park ranger pay me a little visit. While parked at the Avalanche Creek Campground (having spent the previous night there), he pulled up alongside the van and just sat there in the car. After a while I thought he had no interest in me. Then I heard a car door slam then witnessed a shadowy figure slowly walking around my van to my double doors. 3 swift knocks followed and to my displeasure a ranger had come to call.

I opened the doors and was greeted by him, right off the bat he questioned me about how long I had parked there and if I slept in the van. After admitting I slept in the van the night before he told me that what I did was legal... er illegal. That stumble got me wondering, was he a little nervous? Think about it, he was alone and not knowing what would come to be when the van doors opened, I suppose I can understand his apprehension.

He requested my driver's license (which doesn't look anything like me now, it's almost 8 years old and then I had hair and a mustache) and walked back to his car. At that point I started thinking about what I was told at the ranger station the day before about car camping and apparently I misunderstood where I was supposed to park. Then I started thinking about getting a ticket and if I'd pay it. I mean it was a simple misunderstanding and hey, I don't live in Montana and rarely visit, so what can they do if I don't pay?

Eventually the ranger returned and much to my delight he told me he was going to let me off with a warning. I wasn't supposed to park in the parking lot. Apparently I was supposed to pay $15 dollars for a campsite to sleep in my van. Seems kinda stupid to me. In any event, I saved $15 and I was sent on my way. I think the ranger was happy to hear I was leaving the park that day.


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