(Reminder: this post is being published well after our visit, we are currently in Portland Oregon until Sept 4th)
One day during our stay in Montana, we got up early and left the house around 8!am and Rick drove the four (oops, Poppy made 5) of us to Glacier National Park where we rode the “Going to the Sun” road.
This 50 mile long road road was built from 1921-1932 purely as a scenic road across the mountains as a way for tourists to experience the beauty of the park. More about it in a bit.
Along the way we stopped at Lake McDonald Lodge for a break and a nibble. Like the lodges we visited in Yellowstone, this historic building had some of the same interesting log details but was more intimate. It would have been great to stay a night or three here.
The lake is beautiful and one can take sightseeing cruises along the shore or swim in the clear (COLD) water.
At the lodge and throughout the park we saw the red (Yellowstone has yellow ones) open topped historic “buses” that were the initial way to take the road. Now in addition to these which cost a bit, there are free shuttles or one can at least at the moment drive your personal vehicle.
From the lodge we started the road to the sun which would take us up the mountain Vanna is showing you below.
The sights along the road are incredible but the civil engineering of the major portion is what is truly incredible. Rather than a series of switchbacks that would have resulted in a significant harm to the views of the mountain, there is only one switchback near the base and then a long, long, long continuous grade up the side which follows the curves of the hillside. This single slope allows the road to be camouflaged making for a more natural scene. Though it was significantly more expensive than the switchbacks, $2.5 million in 1933 dollars or $50 million today.
Through out our stay in Montana, Gail had been showing is small patches of white blooms of “Bear Grass” but she said she hated we arrived too late to see it in full bloom. Little did she know that at the higher elevation it was just starting to do so. Such an interesting and beautiful flower.
After the long and beautiful drive up the side of the mountain we reached Logan Pass. From here one could see mountain goats on the hillsides above.
Unfortunately, couldn’t get a photo zoomed enough to show you the goats, but we did see (and hear!) marmots which are a big species of squirrel.
Below Vanna is pointing out the same peak as shown in the original Vanna picture closer to the top of this post.
Since it was getting late, rather than driving down the other side of the pass, we retraced our drive stopping at several places including a jumping rock where we watched some fools.
We had a wonderful supper at the old train station at the park entrance that included delicious bison meatloaf-unfortunately we were so hongry that I forgot to take a picture.
Poor Rick, he then had to drive the 2 hours back home where we arrived about 9. It was a long but wonderful day seeing another part of our beautiful country.