Sunday, May 15, 2016

Glacier National Park - Stop 8 on our Trek North to Alaska

Brrrrrr!  We woke up at 6:30 on Wednesday to 19 degree temps.  By the time we left our campground in Yellowstone at 8 a.m. it warmed up considerably--to a whopping 27 degrees!  About 20 minutes into our drive, we saw a bear lumbering through the woods—but, as usual, no time to snap a photo.


The scenery along the drive was breathtaking!  The sparkling white snow drifted down gently to rest on the strong limbs of the evergreen trees. I thought I was transported into a Bob Ross painting!

Just a little dab of white on those trees!

In Polson, about an hour outside Glacier National Park, we traversed along picturesque Route 35, which winds along the shoreline of Flathead Lake.  At 27 miles in length and 15 miles in width, this is one ginormous body of freshwater!  It is said to be one of the cleanest lakes in the populated world for its size and type.  There are lots of cherry, peach, and apple orchards nearby.  I wonder if they offer “pick your own” fruits in season?  Back East we visited lots of “pick your own” farms for blueberries, apples, and peaches—an activity this rat enjoyed immensely!  

 Speaking of fruits, I just visited Willow’s Huckland, an adorable café, gift shop, and place to get everything huckleberry—from coffee, to candy, to soda, to milk shakes!  Before visiting here, I knew nothing of a huckleberry—except of Huckleberry Hound from my years of watching Cartoon Network!  Now I know this berry is found only in Montana, Washington, and Idaho, which actually claims it as its “State Fruit”.  It looks similar to a blueberry and, based on all the free samples I munched on, it is quite tasty!  So I couldn’t leave the place without a huckleberry ice cream cone and my own jar of huckleberry jam.  Good stuff!


Sorry, I digressed.  Rambling RV Rat does that quite a bit when it comes to food!

We arrived at North American RV Park and Yurt Village and got ourselves set up.  That’s when we learned that the owners of the rig parked next to us, Brian and Chippy, are on their way to Alaska as well.  Their RVillage North to Alaska 2016 sign is displayed proudly on their rig, just like ours. 

 RVillage North to Alaska-Class of 2016 Members

And even more coincidental—they just left a month-long visit at their daughter’s home, which happens to be in our old hometown in Jersey.  It is a small world!
We were disappointed to learn that many areas of Glacier National Park are still closed for the winter, including the historic lodges, the Visitor Centers, and a good portion of the renowned Going-to-the-Sun highway.  This meant we had to go around the Park, not through it, to get from one entrance to another, and we would not be able to see Logan's Pass.  But we were offered a sampling of all the majestic beauty provided by the Park.
Some highlights from the West Glacier entrance:
McDonald’s Falls:  Stunning, dramatic views of crisp, turquoise waters rip-roaring over rocks, trees, and sediment.


McDonald Falls...


...Feeds McDonald Lake.  Check out the Mirror Image    in the Water!

Avalanche Creek Trail of the Cedars:  Hiking among ancient Cedar, Hemlock, and Cottonwood trees and babbling crystal-clear water.  No Brita filtration system needed to purify these drinking waters!

Really Tall Trees...


...With Trunks so Huge in Circumference Two Wide Loads Can Fit Inside!





Avalanche Lake:  2.5 miles of hiking uphill through the wilderness to culminate with a  spectacular view of Sperry Glacier!  We stopped for a picnic lunch, which the chipmunks were hoping to share.  What a spiritual place, a feeling of oneness with nature and with the great Creator.  Seeing a mule deer buck munching on some foliage nearby and mountain goats relaxing high up on the hills made the 2.5 miles downhill go by even quicker (sadly, not a one of us in the bunch got a good pic of either of these animal sightings).
Johns Lake Loop.  A 3-mile hike with forest on one side, lake on the other.  The power of these glacial waters is quite evident once again.

Amid some dreary, damp weather, we spent a VERY LONG day traveling to the Park entrances at East Glacier and St. Mary’s, and also to Many Glacier.  Thankfully, the weather improved as the day went on.

Views from East Glacier Amid Dreary Weather


St. Mary Lake

Evidence of Past Fire at St. Mary Mountain

We viewed several glaciers, including Jackson and Grinnell—or at least that’s what I was told.  With so much snow still on the mountains, the crystal blue frozen waters of the glaciers are hidden.

Can you find the glacier?  There must be one in there somewhere--photo taken at Many Glacier

The wildlife was more active on this side of the Park.  We saw two wolves cross the meadow at Two Dogs Flats.

I did some “poop patrol” while hiking along Swiftcurrent Trail (a 2.6 mile loop that turned into 3.4 miles because of a wrong turn we made at a trail intersection), which led us to several big horn sheep munching on garbage in a construction area.
A couple more were grazing by a rock wall.
But we really hit the jackpot when we got back to the parking area.  A whole herd of these sheep surrounded the car, looking for some food.  When we didn’t provide any, they decided to lick Mike’s car.  Guess they like the taste of Fabuloso, which Mike used to wash his car the day before!

I think the Serta Sleeper Sheep Herd Have Some Competition

And my wildlife viewing got even better!  We saw two herds of elk in the distance.  A generous local couple gave us a gander through their scope to see a mama bear and cub romping around high up on the mountain!  They also said a moose could be seen at Sherburne Lake.  We hurried over there and I saw a moose--finally!  Of course, this little female was on the other side of the lake and only viewable through binoculars, but it still counts—I saw a moose!
Tomorrow we cross the Canadian border!  Wonder if they will accept this as my “passport”?  LOL

Talk to you soon!

1 comment: