Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Smoky Glacier National Park (September 6 & 7)

This photo brings you up to date on our progress by map (three weeks into our eight week trip).

The wind must have changed in the night because the east side of the park was also in a smoky haze, but we were not deterred.  We drove about 50 miles, partially through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and an open burned out area... get to the Many Glacier entrance to the park.  I can only imagine what the dramatic landscape of steep, jagged mountains and rocky slopes look like in clear weather, but it was still beautiful in a mysterious sort of way. 

We explored the historic Many Glacier Hotel, built in the Swiss Alpine style back in 1915.  Now at over 100 years old, it’s still beautiful and completely booked with tourists.  Here it is on the shore of Swift Current Lake

and inside the lobby...
This is one of their famous red tour "buses"(with an open canvas roof) ready to take tourists on a scenic ride.

Doug and I had a delicious lunch overlooking Swift Current Lake.  Here’s a photo of Doug’s “Moose Drool ale” and my “Poor Farmer’s Hard Cider.”

We made reservations for a boat tour and guided hike the next day, and, since it takes so much time and many miles to drive around this park, we headed on to the next entrance at St. Mary.  This is the east entrance to the “Going to the Sun” road, but it was open only as far as Logan Pass, 18 ½ miles in (due to wild fire activity).  These photos taken along the way are a testament to the stunning scenery!

Here we are at Logan Pass visitor center, where the road was closed.

 And  photos of the fire posted on a bulletin board...

I loved seeing the Canadian and US flags flying side-by-side.  At this point, we heard that the Canadian portion of the park (Waterton) was closed due to fire activity, as well.

We back-tracked on the "Going to the Sun" road and enjoyed a whole new set of views from the opposite direction. 

The next day a large black bear crossed the road in front of our car.  I barely had time to get my camera out. 
Then we were back at Many Glacier, ready for our boat ride and hike, but you can see it was still smoky and hazy. By the way, when the park first opened, there were over 130 glaciers in the park.  Now only 26 glaciers remain--evidence of climate change.
While waiting for our appointed time, we ate a picnic lunch and noticed a chipmunk waiting for a handout. 

The Glacier Park Boat Company has been in business since 1938.

This is the boat we took across Swift Current Lake to the second section on Josephine Lake...

And then the hike to Grinnell Lake began.  We chose a guided hike with a group of people because I'm not ashamed to admit I was nervous about hiking alone with the threat of grizzly bears around!   Greg, our guide, sang out warnings on a regular basis. We did not meet up with any grizzlies, but a couple of braver hikers on our return boat did have a near encounter with one on their more remote hike to a glacier.

Here Doug has just crossed the swinging bridge...
near this spot...
Notice the colorful rocks in the stream...
A final photo near the end of our hike.

Next our last day in Montana...


  1. It's a shame that this beautiful area is being ravished by fire and that you weren't able to enjoy it to its fullest, but it sounds like you made the best of it anyway and enjoyed your stay. The colorful rocks are a wonderful surprise. Do you know what causes the different colors?

  2. Yes, we did enjoy our time there as much as possible, Cathy! As for the different colors of the rocks--our guide told us that all the rocks were sedimentary, and algae had something to do with the formation of the red ones. I'm afraid I don't know all of the geology, but they certainly were pretty.


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