Early September, 2007
Kirk and I took Ford out to Montana for the week. It was a last-minute trip, with bare two days to come up with a plan. We decided on Glacier National Park as neither of us had been there. We based “camped” out of Kalispell at the Hilton Garden Inn. Ok, it wasn’t roughing it but we were on vacation! We got a great deal as well (thank you internet!)
We spent most of the time up at Glacier. The haze was prevalent from the forest fires in the area, but added a lot to the look early in the morning. Lake McDonald after sunrise:
On the way up the Going To The Sun Road:
Gorgeous pelt on it –
Looking back West from the Continental Divide:
Mountain Goats on the trail, sharing nicely:
Pretty tarn at the pass over Hidden Lake, above Logan Pass:
Looking down at Hidden Lake:
On the way back:
More Mountain Goats. We saw 9 on this hike, plus another 3 later on in the trip:
We also saw Big Horn Sheep as well.
Fell in love with this area:
We took Going To The Sun to East Glacier, and due to my questionable map reading skills…drove back to Kalispell via Hwy 89, 49 and then 2. While Hwy 2 is a great drive…I would NOT recommend 49. It was a steep, curvy road with no guard rails…and in dire need of fixing! Lumpy, bumpy with gravel sections. On Hwy 89 out of East Glacier I spotted two bears in the burned areas where logging is occurring.
The next day we hiked to Avalanche Lake, along side Avalanche Creek. We tried out the free hiker shuttle system and loved it. We parked at the Apgar Transit Center, near the West Glacier entrance. It is a great way to get to clogged trail heads! On the way back we waited maybe 5 minutes and had a shuttle pick us up.
It was pretty cold in the basin, to the point of jackets coming on. To the left in the photo, on the other side of the lake a forest fire was brewing. We passed a fire crew running up the trail in full gear.
The next morning we took a side way in, coming in via Huckleberry Mountain/Camas. The North Fork Flathead River is gorgeous to follow in from Columbia Falls, MT. One of our reasons to come here was to spread my father’s ashes which we did.
This was the site of a very hot fire, just after you enter the park, and cross the Flathead on a bridge.
We had decided to go back over the Going To The Sun road again. We saw more Big Horn Sheep.
We drove to Many Glacier, via East Glacier. I can now say that I have hiked on the three main long distance trails! Standing next to the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) sign:
Looking across the lake to the lodge:
Our Mercedes at Swift Current Lake taking a break. She did really well for her first long distance trip, especially one with so many steep mountain passes to cross
At Many Glacier, looking up Swift Current Lake:
I didn’t want to leave Many Glacier, it was gorgeous up there. The lack of forest fires and people left it feeling remote. We headed back as the sun was setting, back up and over GTTS road. St. Mary Lake in the shadows, before we started the run for Logans Pass:
We stopped at Logans Pass for a little more hiking.
Looking West down the Weeping Wall Trail. That is one cool trail indeed. You can see the GTTS road below the trail, which is cut right out of the wall. It was very, very windy up there.
In the mid-evening Logans Pass was oddly quiet. Most tourist had headed home, and it was just the wind.
Sadly, the truth is Glacier NP has few glaciers left, though in the evening light you can see the remaining ones easily. Truly, the North Cascades have more glaciers left…but there is something about Glacier NP that is incredible. The Going To The Sun Road is worth a trip just to drive it. Driving it early in the morning, and late in the day got us views with few other cars. You know roads like that would never get built now. It is an incredible feat that they built it.
Kalispell is a nice small Western city. But you can see change coming, and it is coming fast. The far end of the city is all chains and box stores. But I won’t complain…there was a Starbucks. Most places we stopped at were great and the little towns were neat to see that they still exist. The little bump in the road, Paradise, was an interesting one. We found B99 Biodiesel in Columbia Falls, MT as well.
(Note: This was published in 2007, before the Recession came)