Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Glacier National Park

Well, took me long enough to get back to the blog. As many of you know, we've left Montana, visited Dayton, and are now in Brunswick, Ohio visiting Brenda's family. So, journey with me back in time to our visit to Glacier NP........
While in Montana, Glacier was a four to five hour drive away from the refuge, so we decided to wait and spend the better part of a week on a visit. Since around 2 million people visit the park each year, we waited until September 11th so that the kids would be back in school and most of the vacationers would be gone. It turned out to be a good choice, as we found a great RV park with plenty of room, open parking spaces even in the most popular places, and sale prices on all of the tourist trinkets. We've been fortunate to visit many of the big parks; Yosemite, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and others, but Glacier was to us, a place apart from the rest due to its size - miles and miles of huge, chiseled mountains and glaciers; with the ability to travel into so many beautiful areas without having to look from a distance. We started our visit on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile road that hugs the mountains as much as 3000' above the valley. The road winds around curves, is barely two lanes wide, and has only a short rock barrier to separate your vehicle from......space; the final frontier. Brenda enjoyed staring at the floor for most of the trip; she did look down once, babbled something intelligible, then wrapped a floor mat around her head and began to weep. Along the route are stunning vistas of high peaks, lakes, and glaciers. We took a break near the top of the pass where we heard what loud whistles back and forth between the canyon walls - turned out to be Marmots, which look like a groundhog on steroids with beaver teeth. At the top of Logan pass is a large visitor center and an area of beautiful alpine meadows stretching off into the distance. We watched hikers as they made their way to a glacier and lake three miles away; because of the altitude (7000') we decided to pass on the hike and save our energy for shopping. From there, we made our way down the pass, waiting for mountain sheep to move out of a tunnel and off the road, and down to an area of the park called Many Glacier. Here, we had lunch at one of many huge lodges built during the early 1900's which stands on the shore of a beautiful lake - sort of looked like the lodge from the movie "The Shining" . Imagine waking up in the morning and seeing the view across the lake. During our time at Glacier we drove the backroads looking for wildlife (Brenda's still "mooseless in Montana"), explored the eastern side of the park and contributed money to an Indian casino, and found the best bakery we've had in years at a 50-person village at the end of a 40-mile dirt road. One of our best experiences happened while we had stopped to look at an avalanche path. We heard something coming through the brush, and were amazed to see two black bear, one a juvenile and the other a small cub, climb trees right in front of us to eat berries. The cub didn't seem bothered by us, just ate berries for about 20 minutes and then scurried back into the brush. Apparently mom was around somewhere, but we never saw or heard her. We saw so many incredible sights here that we agreed that we have to come back and spend more time. We hope you've enjoyed sharing our visit to Montana & hope you'll continue to check in with us in the future. Thanks for all the positive feedback on the Blog. It was great seeing all of you back in Dayton & we'll be in touch as we continue our adventure!

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