Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Crown Of the Continent.

This title Glacier National Park certainly deserves. It consists of over 1.000.000 acres of this country's most beautiful landscape. It captures a pristine mountain paradise in its most raw form. While visiting we saw numerous emerald and turquoise colored glacial lakes, stunning jagged peaks rising into the clouds covered in glacial snow, cascading waterfalls down harsh rocky cliffs, and wildlife as varied as it was numerous. We saw black bears, moose, deer, beavers, big horn sheep, osprey, loons, ducks, as well as various other birds and mammals.

We approached the park from the west, having gone north from Flathead Lake. We decided to circle around the southern border of the park along US2 so we could hit Two Medicine which is located in the south east corner and is not accessible by the going to the Sun Road. Sam, an East Glacier resident let us set up camp in his backyard for two nights so we could visit Two Medicine the next day and save camping fees. While in Two Med, we hiked the Upper and Lower Two Medicine Lakes as well as visited No Name Lake and Twin Falls.

From there we went north up to Many Glacier and stayed there for a day. Here we hiked up the Grinell Glacier and Ptarmigan Tunnel the next day. Each hike was breathtaking. The Grinell trail climed 1600 ft and skirted the side of the mountain. We could look down and view the chain of lakes and see Grinell Lake which had a beautiful turquoise hue.

It was an amazing experience to dangle our feet in a Glacier which covers an expanse over 300 acres.

Ptarmigan tunnel trail took us up 2300 ft, and at its top climbs through a 80 ft man made tunnel. Through the tunnel you can view the Belly River Valley, an area which many people belive is the most beautiful are in the park and is only accessible by hiking in.

From Many Glacier we went south backtracking to St. Mary. We were lucky enough to talk Dan Jacobs, the trail crew boss for all of Glacier to let us camp in his backyard for a couple of nights (again to save money). Here we explored the St. Mary Lake and the surrounding waterfalls.

I also did a solo hike (Ira wanted to sleep in) up to Otokomi Lake, another beautiful pristine mountain lake...but cold!!! I jumped in and immediately had to get out. Now I grew up on Lake Superior, and can handle the cold water. However, when you can see the Glacier above which is feeding the lake water, you know its going to be COLD!!

From St. Mary we finally started on our way across the Going-To-The-Sun-Road for our final continental devide crossing at Logan Pass. This road cuts Glacier directly in half. The views from this road are amazing, stunning, incredible. My photos just could not capture it. I can honestly say, this stretch of road was the most beautiful and scenic of the trip and the 12 miles of descent, one of the most amazing of my life.

In the photo above, you can see the road cutting its way down along the mountain side as you view the beautiful valley below.

We rode out to Sprague Creek and camped there for the night. We departed the next day for Trego to stay with friends. Leaving was very bittersweet. There is something in this park which can really grab a hold of a person, almost like an obsession. Ira and I both agree, we are coming back and soon!

It is impossible to describe the scenery, so I haven't really tried. Here is a link to our pics from Glacier, so please just explore these, although once again, not even these photos really capture the majesty.

click here to see the Set of Glacier Pics:
click here to see a Slideshow of Glacier Pics


Anonymous said...

Good lord that's amazing. I bitterly resent you and your fun-loving carefree adventure.

janice said...

Andrea, your photographs are amazing!
I love you both and think of you often. You really know how to enjoy life!