Monday, June 30, 2014

Glacier National Park-Many Glacier

Jan and I headed next from Two Medicine Campground on the east side of Glacier to Many Glacier Campground further north on the east side.

In order to get there we need to go back to Route 2 east and then take Route 464--about 70 miles or so.

This is part three of our Glacier visit. To see the previous visits at Apgar and Two Medicine, look at the issues below. These two antique cars were at the entrance to Two Medicine as we left.  When these cars were new, the owners were guaranteed to be stopping every so many miles for tire repair and other mechanical fixes.  All we can think of is that they are far,far from any help.

East Glacier is on the way out to Route 2 and there are some enticing stops such as Brownies.

They were advertising Huckleberry pie.  Well, who could resist?  We picked up two slices of pie for our dinner later, some cinnamon pastry, and a blueberry cream pastry that was absolutely delicious!

For any of you making the trip, Route 464 is a great way to Many Glacier. The road is 70mph( still a narrow 2 lane road)but the views of the mountains and the wide open "big sky" are breathtaking. The picture above is from the entrance road to many Glacier.  The one glacier that would be visible is covered by snow. By the way, this road was terrible , probably from the snow and heavy rains.

Lady Blue is happy in a very comfortable site.  The elevation here is about 5,000 feet.  We are a very few miles from Canada and there was a temptation to go to the Canadian entrance for Glacier, Waterton Park.  But we decided ,no, for this trip.
As in the other campgrounds, we have no phone or internet.  Surprisingly, we also had no satellite radio.

We also learned, after seeing how full this campground was, that this is the most popular campground in the park.

There are trails all over and some right out of the campground.  Some obvious new signs of beaver.

Jan and I stared at these beaver cut stumps for a while , wondering about how big these beaver were.

Yup----you already guessed it.  These were cut in the winter or spring with a fair amount of snow still on the ground.

Signs of spring all over.

Even a variation of Indian Paintbrush.

Along our trail around Swiftcurrent Lake is a great view of Many Glacier Hotel.  This was the "gem of the west" when it was built in the early 1900's.

We were picking up a trail map at the ranger station when we overheard a couple in front of us describing their encounter with a grizzly bear on the Grinell Trail.  Evidently the bear didn't want to leave the trail and some hikers turned around.  The woman had a picture of the grizzly. Jan was not in favor of that trail.  Bear spray is highly recommended here.

You have to stop frequently to take in the views here.

The entrance to the hotel has a Swiss feel to it. Again, these hotels were built by the railroad owners to encourage tourists to come to Glacier.  They were all within a days horseback ride since there were few roads in the park.

Jan and I had to take a peak at the dining room. An elegant place with linen on the tables and that huge fireplace at the end.

We did not dine here, but I'm sure it would be very good.

There were mountain goats outside the hotel, but no sign of the Bighorn Sheep.  Some regular campers had mentioned seeing the sheep on the hillsides now and then.

A plaque here gives a little hint of what it might have been like in the early 1900's , visiting on horseback.

The views around the lake are definitely impressive.  Is there anywhere else that trees can look so small?

Jan is checking out a different view back to the hotel.

A young man who passed us on the trail is headed back the other way.  He says there are two bears ahead. Someone else is mentioning a moose and a young moose off the trail.  We go on, but we see only beautiful Glacier views.

We will leave you with a panorama from the porch of the hotel.  Yes, a great place to stay if you are not into camping.  There are boat, canoe, and kayak rentals here as well as boat rides.  Even in late June, some of the trails were not considered passable due to snow, but there are many trails to choose from.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Glacier National Park--Two Medicine

This is the second of three issues about Glacier National Park.  To see the first--Apgar--go to the following issue below.

To get to Two Medicine, we joined Route 2 east out of West Glacier and then Route 49 north.  Signs made it clear that we could go no further than Two Medicine on that route--limits of 21 feet in length and 8 feet in width.  This is on the road into Two Medicine

The sites were all on a first come , first serve basis.  There were open sites, but the campground was busy.  Again, many hikers.

For those who have not been into Glacier, there are many trails--some go for miles and miles.  There are designated backpacking campsites, called backcountry campgrounds, along the trails. They do require you to register -a safety measure.

There are a number of Bighorn sheep that visit the campground.  This is a mom and lamb.  The males have the big rounded horns--so the ranger told us.

We were thinking mountain goats.

Some of the trails start from Two Medicine Lake.  The views are breathtaking.  Glacier is huge!!  Over one million acres with 12 large lakes and a total of 700 lakes in all.  It is bigger than some states, but there are few roads and much wilderness.

Jan and I headed up the Aster Park Trail.  That was to give us a great overview of the lake and campground.

Along the way are small flowers --some that we saw blooming weeks ago at lower elevations.  We are now at  about 5,000 feet of elevation.

We kept crossing paths with a nice young couple.  We offered to take their picture--it was their 14th wedding anniversary--and they offered to take ours.

Didn't break the camera--so I guess we're good.

These blue flowers, we had not seen before.

Any ideas?

Lots of colors.

Jan had a chance to use the new camera.

Good job, Jan!!!

We remember that Grampy used to say, "Atta girl!"


"End of Trail"  sounds a little scary.

Oh, I guess they didn't mean "that".

We finally make it up to the viewpoint, close to the treeline.   This panorama shows you the bordering mountains-some  of them 9,000 feet or more.  Our Lady Blue and the campground are at the right end of the lake.
So now you can see some of the campers at the end of the lake?

Always like to add pictures of old cars.  These are adventurous antique owners, because it is a long, long ride to a town of any size.

Two medicine was a great stay.  You could spend a day kayaking on the lake, climbing trails, or just sitting and enjoying the scenery.

But the next trip is all the way out to Route 2 again and then up to Browning and Route 464 for a way into Many Glacier.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Glacier National Park-Apgar

The sun returned and Jan and I headed for Glacier National Park--the West Glacier entrance and Apgar Campground and Apgar Village.

Some beautiful scenery just on the road into the park.

Once again, our America the Beautiful pass allows us free entrance to the park( the normal fee is $25.00).  Also our camping fees here will be half price or $10 per night, dry camping.  One downside to keep in mind is that we had absolutely no phone signal, TV,or internet at any of the campgrounds.

We find a site on loop A, the only one open on Friday.  But, if you have a choice, we would recommend B or C.  Still, this is a very comfortable site.

The campground is an easy walk to Lake McDonald. southside, and also Apgar Village and the Visitors Center.  All within a few miles walk.

This is one of the cottages along the shore.

A half mile from our site is this view.  You can see some kayakers on the lake--also enjoying the splendid view.

Since 1914, tourists have been able to move around this huge park in the Red Bus vehicles.

Considering the mileage , the price is not too steep.
Unfortunately, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is still closed for snow removal and will be for a while.

Our second day is a bike ride around the south of the lake and over to Fish Creek on the west side.

Every corner in this park elicits a "Wow" for a different view of these snow covered mountains.

Jan was not too excited about these signs on the bike trail.

Grizzly Country???
 It didn't help that the ranger at Fish Creek Campground asked if we had seen the bears on the trail.????

It seems there were black bears on the bike trail earlier, but we missed them.

Jan kept the noise level up all the way back!!

Some views from the bike trail--and road.

Lake McDonald goes for miles.  As in other national parks, there are many, many hiking trails around the lakes and into the wilderness.

Some interesting flowers pop up along the way.  This is, we believe, beargrass.

After checking with the rangers, we find that Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to Avalanche Creek.  Little Lady Blue is too tall and too wide to travel all the way over the road, but  she can go to Avalanche Creek.  And everyone else has to stop there as well because of the snow.

This is a rapids on the McDonald Creek.

Lady blue really enjoyed the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
This link will take you to information and pictures on the Road.  Scroll down on the left on that site for a link to the pictures. .

We had mentioned the snow the week before.  Most of it has melted, but also there is a large snowmelt with the warmer temperatures. 

The river is really moving.  If you look to the left of this picture, you can see how small the people are along the far bank. Also, remember, you can click on the pictures to enlarge.

It was the weekend and unfortunately, we could not park at Avalanche Creek.  But , we did find a spot at McDonald Lodge, right on the lake!!

The Lodge is celebrating its 100th birthday this summer.  Back in the early 1900's, the railroads built a lot of these lodges or hotels within a day's horseback ride of each other. The idea was to encourage tourists to stay even though there were few roads in the park.
From the front of the Lodge, you can take a boat ride or rent a canoe or kayak.

You can imagine how the tourists in the 1900's loved this lakeside part of the hotel. 

It's probably a good time to mention here that we are working with a new camera now.  The camera is wonderful, but I've noticed that the large files are changing some of the colors when they are minimized for the blog.  I'll be working on that.

Inside, at Luckes Lounge, Jan and I decide to take advantage of a window seat and a great view of the lake.

Jan had a glass of Dark Horse Cabernet from California( and I have a glass of Going-to-the-Sun IPA ( ).

With those, we have a great Wild Salmon Dip with home made bread and vegetables.

With so many pictures from Glacier, Jan and I decided to divide them into three issues.  This one--Apgar-is the first. The second, in a few days, will be Two Medicine on the East Glacier side. And the last will be Many Glacier , a little further north on the east side.

Back out on Route 2 Lady Blue climbs easily to the Continental Divide at Marias Pass.

We are so glad that we waited for good weather.
It would have been a shame to miss these wonderful views.