"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

West Glacier, MT

Whitefish, MT
Whitefish State Park



The Going to the Sun Road is probably what Glacier National Park is best known for.  It is an engineering marvel in itself, 50 miles long.  It is the only interior road connecting the west and the east side of the park.  It takes about 2 hours to drive without stopping.  That would be difficult though as there are so many beautiful views and pullouts along the way.  There are restrictions: no vehicles longer than 21 ft, taller than 10 ft or wider than 8 ft are allowed.  It is very twisty and was challenging enough in a dually truck.  If you prefer not to drive, there are shuttles and private buses you can take.  In the fall of 1932 after 30 years of building, the road was open.  You can read much more about the history of building this road HERE.

 
The smoke from all the fires are still here.  We were a little bummed out that it hid a lot of our view, but it was amazing nonetheless.  Since we were still camped at Whitefish, our plan was to drive up to Logan Pass at the top and drive the eastern side later.  Mario and Ellen only had this week with us and we wanted them to see what they could before they headed out to Yellowstone and the Tetons.  McDonald Lake was the first lake we passed and we pulled over to admire the beautiful colored rocks along the shoreline.  As you can see, you'll have to use your imagination a bit to picture the emerald color of the lake and the beautiful shore on the opposite side of the lake.

 
McDonald Falls were next.  Beautiful clear water.




The colors of little rocks and much larger boulders were gorgeous.  Lots of reds and greens.

Beautiful deep blue.


Smokey views along the way, but still very amazing and beautiful.  I'm sure if it were clear it would be amazing how far in the distance you could see.





This guy was doing a great job painting the peaks at one of the pullouts.

 
Steep, tree covered slopes and sweeping valleys.



Plenty of waterfalls along the way to the top.

Another view of the Going to the Sun Road built along the mountainside.

Colorful stripes in the rock peaks.

We arrived at the Visitor Center at Logan Pass at the top.  Above is a picture of the hike we were about to do.  We'd be hiking to just below the snow.  The skies were a little clearer so we were happy to get out and hike.

We thought how cool it would be to see a Bighorn Sheep this close (above). Then while Lee & Trace were parking, a REAL Bighorn Sheep showed up in the parking lot right in front of their truck!  Trace got some amazing pictures of it while the rangers tried to shoo it back to the wild.  You can see them at her blog Camper Chronicles.

While it was exciting to see, we were warned that people have been butted by them randomly.  People forget these are wild animals.  Those horns can be deadly!
 

This cute little guy was very entertaining.

At just under 3 miles roundtrip, the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail was a good start to our future hikes.  It was listed as "easy", but with the elevation gain of 540' I would rate it more in the moderate category.

 
          Beautiful alpine meadows and peaks.   Here is Ellen starting out on the boardwalk.



 
 
 
Snow melt creating lots of little waterfalls.

It's a very busy trail. 

 

How lucky to see this collared Mountain Goat! 


A lot more smoke in my picture.


Yay! Steve, myself and Lee made it to the top! 

Heading back down.
Next week finds us staying at Fish Creek in the West half of Glacier.
And more hiking.

12 comments:

  1. Wow! I can't get over how much smoke there is. I've never seen the views so obscured. But the beauty still came through:) The Bighorn like to hang out at Logan's Pass. Sometimes there are whole herds. Glad you got see one:) The mountian goats are so pretty.

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    1. The smoke was awful. Capping over a month we'd been in smoke in ID, MT and WA. We want to get back sometime to do many of the hikes we missed. We were lucky to get a second chance at the west side and were happy to be able to make out the trees on the mountain sides and see more detail.

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  2. Even with the smokey conditions Glacier is still beautiful. Looks like you've had a great visit. I've been there several times and can't wait to go back!

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  3. The road to the sun looks amazing. We were there in July of 2011 and because of the record snow fall that year they hadn't gotten the road open by then. So someday we will drive it.

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    1. Wow, that would be an incredible amount of snow! We did get some snow while we were there and they did close the road for one day.

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  4. It's too bad about the smoke but the views are still beautiful.
    Ingrid@ LiveLaughRV.com

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    1. The West side was very smokey and hot. But once we got to the east side, the temps dropped, stormy and clear!!

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  5. Great photos, Debbie! That is an amazing road!

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    1. We drove it a couple of times. Just amazing!

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  6. So much fun hanging out with you guys!!

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    1. We had a blast! Some cool "firsts"! First Grizzly bear!!

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