First Lady Laura Bush arrived in Glacier National Park over the weekend for a hiking trip along the Belly River, according to one park ranger. The outing is rare for Montana, which has been visited by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney only once during their term in office. The White House announced that Bush’s visit would be “private,” with no public appearances or interviews. Nevertheless, the Independent scoured the park desperately seeking Laura, ultimately to no avail; but a reporter did come across a hitchhiker on the Going to the Sun Road: Whitefish resident Keith Scroczynski.
Clearly not a fan of the Bush administration, Scroczynski said that if he ran into the first lady on a hiking trail, he’d “send her down the trail the wrong way and tell her to rub chocolate all over herself in order to keep the bugs away.”
But seriously, Scroczynski said, he knew someone in Bigfork who had sold the Bushes a lighting fixture made of antlers for Camp David.
“I’d probably just ask her how those antlers worked out.”
Witnesses saw Laura Bush at the Park Café in St. Mary on Sunday, surrounded by what one described as “about 10 ‘Eddie Bauer-casual’ secret service agents.”
Park spokesperson Amy Vanderbilt says Mrs. Bush visited private land inside the park, near Lake MacDonald.
Bush was accompanied by several friends who have vacationed together at national parks every summer for the past 17 years, and Vanderbilt says she also attended a private function at the invitation of the National Park Foundation.
This was Mrs. Bush’s first trip to Glacier National Park, Vanderbilt says.
Repeated attempts to get comment from the first lady’s White House spokesperson were unsuccessful as of press time.
Although the first President Bush lost his reelection bid in Montana to Bill Clinton in 1992, it is nonetheless unlikely that any presidential or vice-presidential candidates will visit the state this election year. However, John Kerry’s sister, Diana Kerry, campaigned in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Helena and Missoula July 18–21. All Ms. Kerry’s events were open to the public.