Glacier National Park

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Today was our first day visiting Glacier National Park.  We decided to spend it driving from west to east through the park on Going to the Sun Road.  Don't you love that name?  Our first stop was at the Apgar Visitor Center to pick up a hiking book.  While we were there, we strolled down for a view of Lake MacDonald.

We stayed in the lodge that is on this lake when we were here with Erik and Matthew (who were teenagers at the time) in the mid-nineties.  These are the rocks you see when you stand at the edge of the lake and peer into the water.  To the Stanbro Men, this was a rock-skipper's paradise.

After that, we began our trip over the Going to the Sun Road.

We were disappointed to find that there is a lot of road construction on Going to the Sun Road, and we were required to stop and follow a pilot car maybe half a dozen times during the 50-mile journey.  Further, many of the turnouts one might use to stop and see the scenery were completely blocked with construction vehicles.  While the parks service clearly needs to maintain the road, this was quite an inconvenience and it will restrict what we choose to do in the park from here on.  We ended up leaving the park when we reached the east end and driving around the park to get back to our trailer rather than drive back the way we came.  Nevertheless, we saw some spectacular scenery today, and I'll show you some of the images I took.

The thing to remember about Glacier National Park is that these deep valleys were carved out by glaciers.  Clever then that they would give it the name of "Glacier National Park" isn't it?  But the thing I really want you to notice as you look at these images is that valleys carved by rivers, such as the Grand Canyon, tend to be "V" shaped.  Valleys carved by glaciers are more "U" shaped.  As our tour book put it, they look as though they've been scooped out with an ice cream scoop.  I think you'll see exactly what I mean as you look at these pictures.

It was something of an exposure nightmare today with the shadowy valleys and the bright clouds in the sky.  That, and the fact that I'm editing them on my laptop computer, means that I may not have the balance of light and darkness just right.  I'm hopeful that these will be good enough for you to get an idea what a beautiful place this is.  

We could see a few glaciers from the road, but this next one was the largest, known as the Jackson Glacier.

You'll learn as you follow along that I am a lover of these international symbols on signs that demonstrate the next way we're going to die today.  As for this particular sign, here's my question:  What exactly does the posting of our impending drowning have to do with what the little man in the picture is doing?  Hmmmm?

If you want to see wildflowers, you'll need to be here in July, not September.  But we did see a few little things.

The thing I love about the national parks is that everything is immense.  It is very humbling to stand in the presence of such gigantic formations and to consider that the rocks we are looking at are billions of years old.  That is "billions" with a "B".

Excuse me, but did you actually go to college to do this?  These civil engineers were testing the integrity of the roads and walls in the parks.  Sheesh.  I don't want this guy's job.

I like this next image because the scratch marks from the glacier are so evident in that big cliff in the foreground.  Do you see them running vertically up the face of the cliff?

Here's another image of another cliff face, where you can see them running vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.

This is St. Mary's Lake on the eastern side of Logan Pass.  It was so beautiful.

Here's the next way we're going to die today.

Here's another image of St. Mary's Lake taken from the other end.  I love how you can see the layers of cliffs in this one.

This big cliff was above the parking lot where we had our lunch.  Notice how the cliff face is rough and etched by glaciers, while the top is scraped smooth.  The forces of nature never fail to fascinate me.

There was evidence everywhere of forest fires that swept through the area in 2003.  In many places the landscape had been completely burned right down to the water's edge.

That's about all we saw in the park today.  We discovered that our heated hose needs an adapter, and since the temperatures will fall below freezing tonight, it is a significant problem.  Not an unsolvable one, however. We'll have to bring in the hose tonight and use the water in our tanks.  Tomorrow, we will need to drive into Kalispell to a hardware store to get the fittings we need.  This isn't all bad, however, because while Mike peruses the hardware store, I'll be perusing the quilt shops.  Thanks to Heartsease54 for cluing me in about two good quilt shops in Kalispell.  Looking forward to doing some shopping.

Also, here are a couple of housekeeping items for you.  First, when we traveled last time, I wrote a blog post showing you the inside of our rig.  It occurs to me that my blog was less than a year old back then, and many of you were not following along at the time.  If you're curious to see our home on the road, here is a link to that post.

Second, and literally on the housekeeping front, allow me to demonstrate how the dishwasher in our rig works:

Dirty dishes:

Dishwasher is working now:

Dishes clean!  (Dusting off my hands.)

Okay, now Smitty is half starved to death, so I need to give him his dinner.  But before I do this, I wanted to show you their dinner dishes.  George picked our these Spiderman bowls from a Goodwill store on a previous trip.  Smitty likes his Spiderman bowls as much as George liked them.  

Good old George.  He had excellent taste in items for the home.

26 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

Wow, wow, wow, lol.
I love your photos and the play of light on shadow, like being there.

I think the little man is walking across rocks and he might fall in and drown;)


IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Ok...you really, really, really got me today. Tears are pouring down my face as I look at your beautiful photos. Glacier National Park is one of my most favorite places on earth. I was there in Sept once and it snowed. I camped in the back country in the snow...it was nuts! We had to shovel snow from the dock before we put our kayaks in....what an amazing place. I can't thank you enough for sharing your trip with us. If it is not too much to ask....would you please send me a few pix of your trip to my e-mail so I can print them and continue remembering how much I love Glacier?


Teresa in Music City said...

Thanks for the wonderful tour Barbara! I'm left wordless in the wake of such grandeur.

The Slow Quilter said...

Your pictures are so alive, I feel like I am right there with you.

Nancy said...

Your photographs are almost as breathtaking as being there. They are gorgeous! They make me want to travel in the west again.

It won't help with your dishes but I read this laundry tip from Steinbeck in Travels with Charley: He put his dirty clothes in a large lidded bucket with some laundry detergent and water, sealed the lid, and let it sit in the back of his vehicle all day. At the end of the day the clothes had jostled around enough that all he had to do was rinse and hang them. I suspect your rig rides too smoothly to be useful in that area.

Oh, just now, I'm thinking of your rig on those high, sometimes narrow, mountain roads! Be safe!!!

Thanks for sharing. I'm enjoying your trip vicariously.

Anonymous said...

what awesome scenery, I would love to go there.

Terry@ a quilting blog said...

Barbara, I so enjoyed your pics (and tour info)! What a beautiful place...hubby and I wanted to visit there last week but only had time to drive up to Yellowstone (which was beautiful as well). Look forward to seeing more pics!! TFS

kc said...

WOW! We never got around to getting here before I started my medical journey thru hell, so a big, heartfelt THANK YOU for sharing it with us! Between your pix & your narrative, I feel as if we were in the truck beside you!!!

Beautiful scenery, but, BELOW FREEZING? ummmmm....you know there are warmer places to go, right? bbbrrrrrrrrrr!

Diane Wild said...

I'm in awe of the vastness of this park and the scenery. I think rocks are the enemy to man if I read the signs right. Watch yourself. How do you drive a big rig around there? You are brave people. Thanks for the tour. I'm loving it.

Rosa said...

Awesome place.That`s a paradise.Thanks for sharing those fabulous photos.Have a fun days!!

Snoodles said...

Like some of your other commenters, I am speechless, looking at the beauty in those photos....now I'm thinking about shopping for an RV! LOL

giddy99 said...

What gorgeous photos! I just went to Glacier Park this summer (end of July/beginning of August) for the first time, ever, and LOVED IT. Truly amazing.

I wish I'd thought to warn you about the road construction (sorry about that). Evidently (per our tour guide), they have to dig the road out (from under snow?) every May, so they can resume construction. The park seems to be continuously trying to take the road back into the wild. :)

Dana Gaffney said...

It's all just beautiful and I love the signs on how you're going to die today, my favorite has always been the flying people on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Rachel said...

OH, wow...another awe inspiring day!
Love all of the scenic pictures (can you imagine the quilts?)Bummer about the road construction!
Signs-I am pretty sure the first one means Tip Toe Through the rocks (as I didn't see any tulips) and the second one, well, I think you are safe. My take is "rocks fall on CARS"
Cliff Engineers-um, no, no, no way. Ever.
OK, I will go drink more coffee, since I currently seem to think I am funny.

Denise :) said...

Bahahaa!!! Loved the 'dishwasher' photos! Yours works _just_ like mine!! Your landscape photos are gorgeous. Just breathtakingly gorgeous! :)

Needled Mom said...

What spectacular scenery!!! Yeah....I can pass on that guy's job too.

Love the dishwasher.

Nita said...

What a wonderful holiday you're having!

Julianne said...

My husband was born and raised in Montana. We have been to "going to the sun" road. Its just magnificent, so gorgeous...your pictures bring back many memories of just how beautiful it is there. When we were going up that road, there was a disabled man in a wheelchair wheeling himself, it was amazing!

quiltzyx said...

I think the rocks/cliff/bridge with engineer hanging off are so cool looking! I love that kind of texture, don't you? And the pictures of the rocks just under the water - wouldn't that be awesome fabric?
I think you could write a great travel guide!

Kate said...

It is just breathtaking! I so wanted to retire in Montana and be close to the park but with medical issues it looks like it will never happen. I am happy that I have been to Montana several times, just sad that I wont be able to go back like I hopes. Hope you are having a wonderful time! A big huge I wish I was there!! :)

ytsmom said...

Love the Spiderman bowls. Nice cat bowls at a decent price are hard to find.

Judee said...

Fabulous! Thanks for taking us with you.

Judy1522 said...

I love Glacier National Park thanks for the beautiful pictures. I also think that the Going to the Sun Road is a great name.

Junebug613 said...

As always, your photos are fantastic! I like that dishwasher too! Good old George!

Milena Irshad said...

i wanted comment, but i have no words - such a beauty!
Our Lord is All-Mighty!

Marty Lawson said...

I just ran across your pictures after researching Going to the Sun road. I have always wanted to go there after seeing The Shining. This is the road used in the opening sequence of the movie. We are cat magnets as well and would love to take our kids with us while traveling there. Great pics