"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

Sunday, September 6, 2015

On to East Glacier - Waterfalls, Old Lodges & Snow

East Glacier, MT
St. Mary's Campground

It's time to move over to the east side of Glacier now.  We're really looking forward to some great hiking on this side of the park.  Luckily for us Hwy 2 was back open and so we didn't have to double our drive time.  It was sunny but much cooler.

The land opened up and we were in more ranching territory.  Cows and bison were all around.

As you get closer to the park and back in the hills you find yourself on Indian land and fences don't mean too much.  There is a lot of free range going on.  Cows and horses graze where they want.
St. Mary's Campground is just inside the East Glacier Entrance.  When we arrived they had moved us to a different loop as they had to close it due to extreme bear activity.  This allowed them to consolidate campers and keep a closer eye on things.  We had get a great site.  A little snug, but Steve tucked us right in.  Lee & Trace have a spectacular view from their rig.

The views from our site.

These berries are the reason the bears are so active.  They are everywhere!  The bears are gorging to get ready for hibernation.  There were a few seen in the campground while we were there.  Bear scat was everywhere.  On one of the lasts days, Lee & Trace were walking back to their trailer and there was a large grizzly at the edge of their campsite!  Too bad Trace didn't have her camera!
Over the next couple days we took some drives.  There is Medicine Lake area and Many Glacier Area on this side of the park.  We had quite a cold storm front move through and most of our time we had very cold rain, wind and snow.  This limited our hiking quite a bit, but we did get some trails in.

St. Mary's Lake

The lake is beautiful but the winds were so crazy the water was like an ocean.  No kayaking here!

You can also see the devastation of past and more recent fires here.  Lucky for us the fires were out for the most part and we could travel throughout the park.

Burned areas higher up.
Some sections of the Going to the Sun Road were damaged from the fires and were repaired and reopened just before we got there.  Some areas, like below, are still off limits as the ground is unstable and trees are still smoldering.  A dangerous area.

Another drive down to Two Medicine would bring us to Running Eagle Falls.  Now and then the sun would come out, but mostly it rained. Autumn is coming quickly up here!
New growth from a long ago fire.

Along the way we pulled off to admire Lower Two Medicine Lake and there were some crosses off on a point overlooking the lake.  They were American Indians that were buried there so they could look over the land they so loved.  It was a beautiful spot.

The clouds hung very low, blowing down over the mountains.

This colorful van was parked in the lot and I had to look it up later.  They have a very amusing website and rent out vans in several different countries.  If you want to see what they are about you can check out their company, Wicked Campers .  Here's some of their advertising:
Fight off old people and souvenir shop owners with one of our killer campervans. Check out the Grand Canyon in a Wicked Camper – cheaper than an RV and faster than the bus – these babies are built for speed – like Lindsay Lohan. Travelling to North America on a budget?  With a giant bed, a sexy kitchen and a paintjob that would make Van Gogh cut off his other ear – Wicked Campers are the BEST way of cruising around America and Canada! Cheaper than an RV and sexier than your Dads new girlfriend – these vans are decked out with everything you need for a kickass roadtrip!

This falls are named after Running Eagle, a Blackfoot tribeswoman who lived around 1825. She had the skills of a Blackfoot warrior and became a great hunter.  Running Eagle was instructed by the village elders to go on a vision quest in order to find her true calling. It is said that she went on this quest near the falls and was able to tell of her adventures in the Medicine Lodge ceremonies while also becoming a member of the Braves Society of young warriors. She led successful war and hunting parties until she died in a battle against a party of Flatheads near the Sun River.

During high water, the water pours from the top, hiding a second hidden fall that roars out of a cave half way down. This is what we saw when we were here.  During lower flows as this, water only spills out from the cave leaving the top dry.

There was a young man there with a tripod set up.  He told us he was going to release his friends ashes and video tape it for his wife.  Very touching.  It is a beautiful place.  There was also a self guided nature trail which displayed native plants that grew in the area that the Indians would've used.

A little further we arrived at Two Medicine Lake and the Lodge/Chalet that is now mostly a gift shop and store.  There is a marina where you can launch canoes and kayaks.

As the week went on the temps continued to drop and some snow fell across the mountains.  It rarely got out of the 40s and was very windy.  A drive up to Many Glacier brought many animal sightings.

And more waterfalls.  These falls were near Many Glacier Entrance.  I don't know if they have a name, but they were very pretty.  Just a short walk.

A bear not minding the blinding rain at all.
Big Horn Sheep on a rocky ledge.

We decided we needed to check out the Babb Bar Cattle Baron Supper Club Steakhouse.  It was a strangely built building.  Large and rather cold inside.  A nice fire in the large fireplace would've been great.  Steve and Lee's meals were great.  Trace and I decided to split ours.  It didn't quite live up to the others.


The Many Glacier Hotel sits alongside Swiftcurrent Lake.  The great northern railroad built this historic hotel in 1915 to accommodate the many tourists passing through Glacier National Park. Many Glacier Hotel is built in the Swiss Chalet style.

Inside is a beautiful dining room where we had lunch one day with a lakeside view.

Another day we joined Lee & Trace for coffee and sat by the huge unique fireplace to warm up.  The large copper acorn looking thingies hanging above the hood are for holding water to create moisture.

Views from the back deck looking out over Swiftcurrent Lake.

A black bear on the mountain side.
Snow on the mountains.

We also took a drive to the Canadian border.  You pass the beautiful Chief Mountain, which is very sacred to the Blackfeet Indians.


Last up for Glacier is a hike to Iceberg Lake.  The rain and snow had stopped and the next day was supposed to be partially sunny.  We stayed an extra day just to do this hike as I've been really looking forward to it.  Stay tuned!


  1. Sorry your weather has been so cold and rainy/snowy. We have had the same weather down here in Park City. But the snow does make the mountains beautiful. The campground where you are staying is where we saw several black bears and cubs. A great berry area. There also always seems to be a black and cubs hanging out near the Many Glaciers Lodge. Grizzlies are usual there also along the bank across the street. Isn't that fireplace neat. We took our books along one rainy day and sat there and read with coffee:)

    Hope you see some Bighorns up close and personal along the Iceberg Trail. They hang right on the trail. We thought the first lake we came to was it and we were so disappointed. Thanks goodness we kept going...an unforgetable view. I hope my comment a while ago helped a little with trail suggestions:)

    1. Very challenging weather, but we hit the trails when we could. Oh those berries were in full ripeness and the bears were everywhere. They closed our loop and moved us to a different spot because of them. It was really awesome to see them all around. Sitting around reading a book by that fireplace sounds like an awesome time! Yes, saw some bighorns too. Yes, your suggestions were great and I'm glad we stayed an extra day to do Iceberg! (next post)

  2. So many great photos Debbie! Looks like a beautiful area. I love the Running Eagle Fall and Chief Mountain - such spectacular and spiritual places!! Glad you're getting to share a lot of it with Lee and Trace - even the bears :-))) We had a chance of snow in the mountains around us last night but it didn't happen. Safe travels!!

    1. We were so happy the smoke cleared and even though it turned very cold, we were still able to get some nice hikes in. We had a great time being with Lee & Trace again. Sounds like you'll be back home to see that adorable grandson before you know it. The weather will be interesting for you going down 395. It's such a favorite drive!

  3. Wow, what a beautiful place! Even with the rain the views and scenery look spectacular. We are going to go through Glacier on our way back from Alaska next year and are really looking forward to it.

    1. It was great and I wish we could've gotten in some more hikes)The fishing is free within the park. We couldn't even do that with the bad weather. Hopefully after AK it won't be a let down ;-)

  4. I had been following you guys over on Lee and Trace's blog. What a wonderful trip - made even better with good friends along.

    1. Thanks Mark, it was a great place. And yes, it's wonderful to be with friends along the way!

  5. The snow on the mountains looks beautiful. Happy Travels!

  6. The snow on the mountains looks beautiful. Happy Travels!

  7. Great looking country where you are! We hope to get there the year after next. It looks like it gets cold pretty early there too! Stay warm guys!

    1. It is gorgeous! I'd definitely come late spring/early summer before wildfire season kicks in! It might be a little cooler, but at least you can SEE and breath!


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