Day 60 - Glacier National Park
Trip Start May 01, 2013
172Trip End May 01, 2014
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We head off from here at 7:30 a.m. (Kalispell) and head up to Glacier for an 8:30 check-in time for the Red Bus to Glacier for an 8 hour tour. We are also picking up Donna and Harold (who will also be in Alaska with us) and off we go. The day is perfect!!! Sunny and nice. We are told to dress in layers as we are going to be in an open top vehicle and it will be cool while driving and it also may be so at the top. We talked to a man getting off the bus the day before and he said it was about 40 degrees on top. I have about 4 layers on and I brought my winter hat just in case. The ride up is cool, but they give you Pendleton blankets to put over our legs so that helps. It was cool in the beginning, but by about 10:00 I was already shedding layers and it just got nicer as the day went by
This place is also known as the "American Alps" and when you see the photos, you will see why. And, since I have been to the Alps, I have to agree! I will spare you the over 600 pictures that I took and pick the ones that will tell the story of this amazing place.
This park shares a border with Canada and is also known as "The International Peace Park". Yellowstone was the first N.P. in 1895 and Glacier came along in 1910. It became the IPP in 1932. This is also a World Heritage Site as of 1995. The park is immaculate. You don't see a piece of trash anywhere. So refreshing!!! There were three Indian tribes that existed in this area: The Blackfeet; the Salish and the Kootenai. We actually went outside the park on our ride and through the Blackfeet Reservation Land.
Two names instrumental in making this park a reality were George Bird Grinnel and Fredrick Godsal...through their efforts this land was protected for all of us to enjoy. We viewed at least 8 glaciers in the park, which were amazing to see.
Some of what we saw:
Triple Divide Peak (where depending on which peak the water comes from) to the left it flows to the Columbia to the middle peak, the Missouri and to the far right peak to the Saskatchewan. We actually witnessed one of the streams running North! Geologically some of the oldest rocks are called Red or green Argilite and these are considered "ancient" rock.
"Going to the Sun Road" - which is carved out of the side of the mountain and very steep on one side and rock ledge on the other is best done with someone else doing the driving. As of July 1st the park service will also run a bus service (free) up to several locations and bring you back throughout the day. This is the first time they are trying this and they feel that it will cut down on congestion on the narrow road.
We see and learn so much as we take our drive along this roadway. We pass Lake McDonald which is 10 miles long and 1500 feet deep! The elevation is 3,153 feet.
Avalanche Creek (lots of downed trees); Clements Mountains (el
Weeping Wall (where you get wet with the amount of the water coming down in the spring); Triple Arches; Logan Pass (Continental Divide - 6,646'); Reynolds Mtn. - 9, 642'); Going to the Sun Mtn - 9,642'); Mt. Siyeh - 10,014') Lake St. Mary - 9.9 miles and el. 4,484') and the Garden Wall.
We see over 8 glaciers (all in the distance mainly) but impressive none the less. The snow is still pretty thick up on the mountains and at the Logan Pass. The Going to the Sun Road only opened one week ago, so we lucked out there!
Oh, and one more sign: We went to a meat marked called:
PERFECT CUTS - We'll Meat All Your Needs! Apparently people in Montana have lots of time in the winter to think up these clever sayings!!
Enjoy Glacier National Park!