Monday, August 29, 2011

Glacier National Park Day Trip

Last Wednesday Miss Carol and I took a day-trip into Glacier National Park.  From where we are camped, it is a 35 mile drive to the  West Entrance.  We wanted to visit the area called Many Glaciers that is north of the East Entrance. Our overall day-trip took 9 hours  to do and not sure how many miles were driven.  In order to get from the West to East Entrance (or vice-versa) you have to go over what is called “The Going To The Sun” road.  There is a limit on vehicle length and anything over 21’ long is not permitted.  This road was built so long ago when cars and trucks were much smaller.  There were times when meeting oncoming traffic, we had to fold our mirrors in order to clear. 

 

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  The road actually gets narrower than this.

 

 

 

 

 

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   This river runs along side the main road through the park. It is from snow and glacier melt.  At the current rate the Glaciers are melting, they will only last another decade or two.

 

 

 

 

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Tunnel along the “Going To The Sun Road”.

 

 

 

 

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The road is a constant 6% grade all the way up to Logan Pass at 6600 feet of elevation then all the way down to the East Entrance.  As we approached Logan Pass we spotted 3 long-horn sheep grazing just off the road.  We pulled on into the Logan Pass Visitors Center and parked, grabbed the camera, and Miss Carol told me to go on ahead and get some pictures before they move away while she tended to Joe & Miss Sophie.  I managed to get there just in time to get some good pictures before some other photo hungry tourists kept trying to get as close to them as possible and ended up spooking them away.  Miss Carol and the dogs got there too late. The sheep moved off in the direction of the Visitors Center so I told Miss Carol we’d walk back over there and around behind the building and see if we could see them.  Sure enough, they were there and Miss Carol got to see them also.

 

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After our Sheep Encounter we headed on for the East Entrance.  We were taking in more beautiful scenery than our brains could absorb. Every few feet we traveled, it looked like a new post card picture. Do they still make Post Cards??? 

 

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After we dropped out of the mountains and into more level ground, we drove along side a beautiful lake that was 9 miles in length along a lazily winding road with thick brush and lush green trees.  We came around a gentle curve and suddenly right in front of us standing in the middle of the road, was the largest BEAR that Miss Carol or I had ever seen.  I’m not a good judge of size and weight but I’m guessing this to be a Black Bear weighing at least 600 to  700 lbs.  We had our camera laying on the console between us (what we thought was ready for taking pics) and before Miss Carol could grab it and snap a picture, it was gone.  I immediately pulled forward to where the bear moved off the road and into the brush and it was totally out of sight.  Miss Carol rolled down her window and could hear it crashing through the brush but could see nothing.  It’s amazing how they blend in with their surrounding.  That absolutely made the whole trip worth while. 

After we departed the East Entrance and headed north to Many Glaciers, you have to drive on public land/highway for about 8 miles then turn off back west to the Many Glaciers Entrance.  On our way in, we spotted another Black Bear grazing on berries right on the road. We stopped and snapped pictures of this one until he too disappeared into the brush. 

 

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We then proceeded on to the huge Lodge on a gorgeous lake with huge beautiful jagged mountains in the background.  This was around lunch time so we decided to drive on to the end of the road and see if we could find a picnic area to have our lunch that Miss Carol had packed for us that morning.  We had cheese & crackers, tuna fish, and vienna sausages, and Flathead cherries for dessert.   It’s amazing how good those little wieners can taste when you’re out in the outdoors.

 

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After lunch we decided to head back as we had a long drive ahead of us backtracking all the way back to West Glacier.  On our way out of Many Glaciers, I spotted another Black Bear on the side of the road pilfering around. We managed to get stopped and backed the truck up and snapped a few pics of him.  He was in such thick brush, in the pics you can only see a brown/black area hidden in the brush.

 

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All in all, it turned out to be a really good day-trip seeing lots of beautiful scenery, 3 big horn sheep, and 3 bears.  By the end of our 9 hour journey, we were pretty much exhausted. We managed to eat some dinner then to bed early.

 

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3 comments:

  1. What an absolutely beautiful area!! Mike's mom and dad have done this trip and loved it as well. Mike and I can't wait to see this beautiful place!!
    Thanks for sharing with us!!

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  2. Great scenery and wildlife. You can't beat that! :)

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  3. Beautiful pictures!! We drove the Going to the Sun Road when we were there a couple of weeks ago and didn't see any wildlife to speak of so you were very lucky - I am jealous!! And the long horn sheep and bear are two of the ones we have yet to see anywhere!!

    Thank you for sharing and safe travels to you!!

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