Somewhere in Time II

Trip Start May 15, 2010
Trip End Jun 10, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Monday, June 7, 2010

Up early 6:00 am for our exit at West Glacier. After our showers in the small closet facilities, we had breakfast in the dining car. Biscuits and gravy, what a start to the day. Back to our room, which you can see is very accommodating but close quarters. Finished packing and took our luggage down to the exit level and when the train stopped in West Glacier at 8:15 am sharp, we got off on the platform. The depot is only a platform, no ticket office. As we contemplated our next move, a shuttle driver asked us where we were going and we told him Lake McDonald Lodge. He was the shuttle driver for the lodge. We plied our stuff in the van and off we went. Just around the corner is the actual West Glacier. As you saw earlier, we stopped here on our way to Alaska but not much was open. There is only two stores and a gas stations anyway. There you enter the park and our National Park Life Time Card again worked to perfection again. It was a beautiful nine mile drive up the east side of the lake to Lake McDonald lodge.

The lodge was built in 1914 when there were no roads in the area. Lake McDonald is the largest lake inside the Park and is 10 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. When built, all visitors had to come by water. You can see it is very rustic but in a beautiful setting. We checking in and our room was ready. We stayed in the Motor Inn down the road. Even this early in the season it is very busy with guests arriving from all points east and west. Once we deposited our bags, we headed back to explore the General Store and lodge gift shop. The lobby is three story and full of game trophies. The front of the lodge faces the water, was a great place to sit and just absorb the view. We checked out the various tours available and found them limited due to the "Going to the Sun" road still being closed and the bear activity. We ate lunch in the dining room and decided to take the “Red Bus Tour” at 3:00 pm. But before we headed on the tour we went back for a short nap. Shorter night than we thought on the train.

The trademark “Red Buses” were made in 1936 & 1937 by White Motors for use in the National Parks for sightseeing. In 2002 they (35 of them) were refurbished by Ford Motor Company and updated with new engines, automatic transmissions, and other updates. The body shells remain original and the frame is actually made of wood and creaks when you make turns. Notice the roll back tops for better viewing. The sun was out so we rolled the top back and off we went. Our driver was Jasman Booker, a young gal from Wisconsin. The drivers are called Jammers. The name came from the time when you had to jam the gear shift into each higher gear and many times got a shrill squeal. This was a three hour adventure. We went up to Avalanche and walked the short walk to the Gorge. The rest of the Avalanche trail was currently closed due to bear activity, bummer Randi. The “Trail of the Cedars” is a beautiful stroll thru tall cedar trees that almost obscure the sky. The under growth and moss are so green.

Back on the bus we stopped numerous times for scenic views of the surrounding mountains. Didn't spot any bears. We did see a deer about 15 feet from the bus at one stop. Near Apgar is a beautiful view of Lake McDonald and the various mountains that surround it. We arrived back at the lodge shortly after 6:00 and decided it was time for dinner. After a great meal we turned in early.
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