Saturday, July 23, 2011

Glacier National Park

The last post was from eastern Washington near Spokane.  We didn't do much there but walk around the Gonzaga campus to see what had changed and go to Jack and Dan's for a beer, just cuz that's what you need to do when in Spokane.
A view from the Going-to-the-sun
A view from the Going-to-the-sun

On Monday July 18 (I took a week vacation) it was on to Hungry Horse Montana and Glacier National Park.  It was about a day drive so we got in late afternoon just in time to get to the GNP visitor center to pick up information for planning our days. 

A view from the Going-to-the-sun
Road at Logan Pass
The next morning we were entering the park gate a little before 8 and cruising the Going-To-The-Sun Road.  The drive was spectacular, magnificent, amazing... well you get the drift.  Of all our world travels we have not been on a more beautiful, scenic stretch of road.  On top of that it is a marvel that they could even build the road where they did.  You climb thousands of feet over Logan Pass and back down clinging to the side of the mountain the entire way.  I can't really say any more, just check out a few pictures (that don't do it justice).
A view from the Going-to-the-sun
Road - Jackson Glacier

Virginia Falls
We had a great hike a trail that went by a series of waterfalls.

We started driving back at just the right time because as we got back down the mountain a nasty thunderstorm came through which caused flash floods up on the mountain where we had just been a half hour earlier.  We were lucky to be down in safe area and just pulled off in a turnout and let the worst of the storm pass. 

Avalanche Creek gorge
Avalanche Lake
The next morning was rainy so we sat tight for a while until it stopped.  After lunch we ventured back into the park to see if we could get in another hike that we wanted to do.  We got to the trail head to get a parking spot (hard to come by) and waited until we were sure the rain had stopped for good before heading out.  This trail went along a gorge for a while that was roaring with water.  It was a great site.  At the end of the trail was a lake with a bunch of waterfalls flowing down the mountains into it.  It was magnificent.  We sat there for quite a while and the sun started peaking out through the swift moving clouds causing what looked like spot lights moving across the mountain causing the water falls to shimmer.  Not enough words to describe the scene.

The next morning we were off on another hike.  This time it was a nature hike through burnt forest to see how the forest was recovering and ended on the shore of Lake McDonald to enjoy the view.  We spent most of the day at various places around the lake just enjoying the lake and vista of the mountains shrouded in various densities of clouds.

Our final day again started with rain and fog until around noon.  As the rain subsided we decided to go to the Hungry Horse dam which was only about 7 miles away.  It is one of the worlds largest concrete dams.  It controls flooding on the Flathead River and provides power to a very large part of the northwest states.

So, we saved the east side of the park for our next visit.  The park is too vast to try to do in the amount of time that we were there.  When we come back we will do the other side and then go on up into Canada to their side of the park and then on to Banff.

Today was travel day again. We drove through the Rockies on US 2 and on to Fort Benton Montana near Great Falls.  We plan to take in a lot of Corps of Discovery and other history of the area.

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