Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Days 36-39: Glacier National Park!!!

Glacier National Park is our favorite of the National Parks we've visited so far.
It's big but not as spread out as Yellowstone, the scenery is specatacular, and just easier to navigate.  Friendly people too, including both staff and visitors alike.

We entered thru the Southeast entrance at "Two Medicine" which seemed to be a lesser used entrance and campground.  We drove right up to the gate and had no problem finding a campsite.

Critter Cam!  Love these little guys, he greated us at our campsite.  Only looks like a prairie dog, it's a squirrel.  They're not annoying like the squirrels back home.

Our first Glacier NP night at Two Medicine Campground.  Not a bad view!

 Two Medicine Lake

Pretty boats

We hiked to Appistoki Falls and then on to Appistoki Peak.

That's us at Appistoki Falls.  Much bigger in person, the falls not us...

Us again, at Appistoki Peak

Appistoki Peak lookout, beautiful.

Day 2 in Glacier.  Got up early and camped at St.Mary's and also stopped at the visitor's center.  They have quite a bit of information about the native peoples that inhabited the area and how the park came to be, not all of it positive.  Not sure you can zoom in and read this but suffice it to say that there was a lot of confusion and misunderstandings when the treaties were signed to create Glacier.  It makes the park bittersweet but I'm glad it's acknowledged openly.

Next we drove the
"Going to the Sun Road"
Remember the vintage Yellowstone tour buses?
Glacier has their own red ones, and they're powered by propane!
Take that Yellowstone!

"Going to the Sun Road" tunnel.  Quite a feat to build this road in the 1920's.  They're constantly maintaining it during the summers because it closes for the winter.

"Going to the Sun Road"
 Logan Pass, the highest point on the road.
Big horn sheep posing for the camera...

"Going to the Sun Road"

"Going to the Sun Road"
They call this the "weeping wall".  That's snowmelt!

"Going to the Sun Road"

"Going to the Sun Road"
Another snowmelt waterfall.  These are everywhere!

"Going to the Sun Road"
Angie and Kipper taking in some scenery.

"Going to the Sun Road"
I was there too!  Note the bus in the background.  That would make a sweet RV.

"Going to the Sun Road"
Just off the road, we got a closer look at this stream.
The water really is that blue, even bluer than the photo actually.
The color is evidence of glacial activity because the glaciers have ground the rock into a fine powder which absorbs everything but the blue color, so that's what we see.....just BLUE!!

Lake McDonald or St Mary, not positive, both equally stunning.

Nighty night LeTigre.

Kipper doing his thing.

Camped at "Rising Sun" campground for 2 days.
Took a lesson from Yellowstone and got up early and secured this sweet camp spot.
Camping was definitely not as competitive at Glacier.

We received passes to a "Star Party" from a Ranger at the visitor's center.
This was a highlight of the visit.  It was held at Logan Pass, the highest point on the "Going to the Sun Road" where the star gazing is some of the best anywhere.

A local astronomy group set up about 15 telescopes and high-powered binoculars for the visitors to use.

It was taken very seriously.  We had to arrive by 9:30 so that our eyes could adjust to the darkness and stay until it ended at midnight.  That's a NP Ranger addressing the crowd.  About 200 people showed up.  We were split into groups of 50, given a constellation tour, and then got to look thru the telescopes at different nebula, stars, galaxies, comets, etc, etc.
It was great.

This little guy attended the Star Party too.

Kipper having a stare-off with a deer.  They wandered thru the campsite pretty frequently and seemed pretty curious about Kipper.

This is how you get an email out to Mom in Glacier.  She's coming to see us in Banff!  More on that soon.

Hiked up to Okotomi Lake.  11 miles and 1900 foot elevation change!!  Take that Harney Peak!!

This is the lake without us in the way.  (BTW, Ania, this is a natural lake, without any dams!)

Angie slip sliding on some snow on the way down.

Deer encounter on the trail.  This isn't the only thing we encountered.  We don't have a photo but we also saw a grizzly!  Some other hikers just behind us got a photo and will hopefully send it to us.

We exited the park on the west side so we got to drive the "Going to the Sun Road" once more.  Treacherous and oh so beautiful.
Thanks Glacier.

1 comment:

  1. Aren't natural lakes PRETTY???? What do you think? How do they compare to the "pretend" Texas lakes? :) You are greatly missed here!!! Keep these posts coming, and say hi to Banff from us! We will get to visit one day! Kisses and hugs from the Oven called Austin