Glacier Stories begin...

Trip Start May 09, 2009
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Trip End May 27, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Montana
Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yesterday, we left Glacier National Park after being there a week. We've moved to a private campground in West Glacier, just a few miles outside the park so that we can camp near our friends, Brenda and Mike Hartley, who are arriving here today from Ohio.  We will stay until Friday when we leave for the Canadian part of our excellent adventure.  Because of the length of our stay here and the number of photos we have taken, I’ll be posting multiple entries for our time in Glacier. 

We are glad that we were able to come to Glacier before all the glaciers disappear from the park.  There used to be 150 glaciers when the park was established and there are now only 26.  Climate scientists are predicting that there will be none by 2030.  It’s hard to believe that there are still a lot of people out there who don’t believe in global warming and ignore the detrimental effects it is having on our natural treasures.

We arrived in the park on 7/5 through the west entrance and set up camp at Apgar Campground.  We loved our campsite as it was spacious, wooded and near a bike trail that went to Apgar Village and to the transit center where we could get the free shuttle for the Going-to-the-Sun Road (more on that in later entries). 

On our 2nd day, we drove back out of the park to get showers (no showers on the west side of GNP) and do grocery shopping.  While out, we stopped at the Hungry Horse Dam on the South Fork of the Flathead River.  The dam was built in 1953, and is Montana’s highest (564 ft) and the 11th largest dam in the US.  Apparently, the dam’s name comes from a story about two husky freight horses working in the rugged wilderness of the Flathead River's South Fork area. They wandered away from their sleigh during the severe winter of 1900-01. After struggling for a month in belly-deep snow, they were found so starved and weak that considerable care and feeding was needed to nurse them back to health.  

That evening, after supper, we walked down to Lake McDonald which is the largest lake in Glacier – 10 miles long and a mile wide.  Since it has a lodge, it is quite popular, but we were at the opposite end and were able to enjoy it without the crowds.  The lake was formed by glaciers during the ice age and sits in a bowl with mountains surrounding it.  The water is clear and quite cold, fed by the snowmelt waters of McDonald creek.  The only disappointment was that much of the forest surrounding it had been decimated by recent fires and was just beginning regrowth. 
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