Our days at Glacier National Park

Trip Start May 29, 2009
Trip End Oct 03, 2009

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Where I stayed
Johnson's at St. Mary

Flag of United States  , Montana
Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our last four and a half days have been at Glacier National Park. It is impossible to relate the amazing beauty of this area.  Pictures and words cannot describe what our eyes could see.

We arrived at our RV park outside of West Glacier Tuesday afternoon.  There was enough time to drive to the Apgar visitor's center in the park and get maps and information to plan our time in the area.   We decided to drive every paved road, some unpaved roads (in the car, not the motorhome), and do some hiking.  We stop for waterfalls, critters, exhibit signs, spectacular views, visitor centers, and even the historic park hotels. 

Wednesday morning we took off running. We drove Going-to-the-Sun road as far as it was open, to Avalanche Creek.  From here, we hiked a 4 mile round trip trail to Avalanche Lake.  What a sight!!  It was our first hint of all the beauty in the area.   This is a glacial lake surrounded by cliffs and snowmelt waterfalls. After a picnic lunch, we got adventuresome.  We drove to Bowman Lake.  To get there, we first went to the town of Polebridge,  and then the Polebridge park entrance ranger station.  That part of the drive was 25 miles, about half of which was on gravel road.  The six miles from the ranger station to Bowman Lake was a real adventure.  The road was a narrow, one-lane, ungraded gravel road, with rocks, potholes, and mud the entire way.  It took us half an hour to go the six miles.  Then we had to come back!  But the beauty, once again, was worth the trip.  Back in the town of Polebridge, we stopped in at the Polebridge Merchantile.  We had heard about their baked goods, so we bought two turnovers and a huckleberry bear claw.  They were as good as we have ever tasted. 

Thursday, we day-tripped to Two Medicine, an area in the southeast corner of Glacier NP.   On the way, we pulled into Goat Lick Overlook.  We watched as mountain goats and their young walked the steep ledges to lick minerals from the rocks. Arriving at Two Medicine, we first drove through the campgrounds.  Jim had camped there as a boy, and was thrilled to see the same campground under Rising Wolf Mountain.  We also hiked to Running Eagle Falls.  This is a trick falls, with the water flowing through a sinkhole and coming out between the rocks.  At this time of year, the excess water flows over the top of the falls, as well.  On the return trip, we stopped in at Isaac Walton Hotel, a charming old railroad hotel. 

Friday, the Going-to-the-Sun Road opened to about 10 miles past Avalanche Creek.  There is still work going on, and because of damage caused by an avalanche in March, we knew the entire road through Logan Pass would not open while we were here.  But we took Friday morning and drove the Going-to-the-Sun Road again from the west.  The section above Avalanche Creek gets pretty spectacular.  There is a tunnel, switchbacks, and countless waterfalls over and through the rocks along the roadway.  The Weeping Wall section is made up of several of those falls.  When we finally had to turn around at the Bend, we could see the snowdrift that had been plowed through.  We hope you enjoy the pictures of some of these sights.  We were very glad we decided to spend the extra half day in the west side of the park.

Friday afternoon, we drove around the park to the south to move the motorhome to our next location, St. Mary.  Our RV park is on a hill with a view, but no cell service, no wifi, and no TV.  Actually, it is nice once in a while!

Saturday, we spent the day driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east.  The road was open to the Jackson Glacier overlook. They predict that all of the glaciers in the park will be gone by 2030.  Again, it was very different, but awesome.  We took a three mile round trip hike to two different waterfalls. There were beautiful wildflowers all along the trail.  The last paved road for us (in the US portion of the park), was Many Glaciers.  There are Bighorn Sheep in this area, but we did not see any.  We stopped in at the Many Glacier Lodge.  It is a beautiful, log hotel. The views from there were spectacular, with the mountains surrounding Swiftcurrent Lake.

Tomorrow, we head into Canada to Waterton Lakes National Park.  Together, Waterton Lakes and Glacier form an international peace park.
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