Friday, October 2, 2009

Road Trip Day 16- Glacier National Park

When I woke up on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park, I had no idea that I was about to see a little piece of heaven on earth. Sure, I knew it would be pretty, but there are no words that truly describe Going to the Sun Road. It is magical. It is jaw dropping. It is so much more than I could ever imagine.

Our first major stop on the road was a trail that led us along a  raging river in the Sunrift Gorge down to Baring Falls. It was a perfect little hike for families but a word of caution- the bridge over the river to the falls only has a rail on one side. We decided to let the adults cross one at a time to view the falls while the other two adults watch the kids safely on the other side. This went well until it was my turn to go. Mari was not happy about being left behind and tried to get on the bridge herself. She only got one foot on the bridge but that was enough to cause me to nearly die from fear. I decided it was safer for all involved to just let her come with me to pose for a picture.

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One would think that Glacier National Park would be full of glaciers and at a time, it was. In actuality, most of the Glaciers in the park have melted and the few remaining are expected to disappear as soon as 2030. Don't let this discourage you from coming. The park is more about the awe inspiring landscape the glaciers have carved rather than the glaciers themselves. Still, everyone wants to see a glacier when they visit the park named for them. Luckily, you can see Jackson Glacier from Going to the Sun Road and the appropriately name Jackson Glacier Overlook.

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I expected glaciers and trees and mountains but I never could have anticipated so many waterfalls. Water gushed off the faces of cliffs, down steeply angled mountainsides, and into the valleys and meadows below. Some waterfalls fell off in the distance while others seemed to almost crash down directly into the road.

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The highlight of the entire day for me was Logan Pass. Yes the visitor center was crowded, but if you start following the boardwalk trail you quickly escape the crowds. Suddenly, you are swept away into a sub alpine world carpeted with glacier lilies. Snow still lingers along the trail in many spots which is a treat for kids who haven't seen it in a few months. The snow melt creates a multitude of little streams weaving their way down the mountainside. 

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It seems like even the animals in the area know they live someplace special. The deer seemed to skip from wildflower to wildflower to graze.  A marmot posed on the rocks with an expression that seemed to say "I make this look good". Mountain goats mozied  on down the road without a care in the world.  Even the squirrels seemed to be filled with cheerful laughter.

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From Logan Pass we headed west, going from one scenic vista to the next.

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In some spots the walls alongside the road dripped with water. I encouraged my friend Chrissy to roll down the window and get some shots of the water. Suddenly we made a turn and the water started coming down with a bit more force. She got a great shot alright.  She also happened to get a face full of water in the process. I laughed until I cried.

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Our day at Glacier ended alongside Lake McDonald. We stopped to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the lake. Unfortunately by the time we had ordered and paid for our food, a huge thunderstorm rolled in and put an end to our day. Still, it was one of the  grandest days I will ever experience.

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If you would like to see more amazing travel photos check out Delicious Baby's Photo Friday here.


12 comments:

wandermom said...

Hi Sharlene,
Those are just fantastic photos from your time at Glacier Park. The wildflowers remind me of the fields around Paradise in Mt Rainier. It sounds like if you're in Washington you'd enjoy visiting that park also.
Thanks for sharing and writing a great review of the park.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Breathtaking photos! What a fabulous adventure to have with your kids. One amazing thing after another. I especially love the snowman.

Cate said...

Superb scenery and photos. It makes you appreciate the natural beauty out there.

Amy @ The Q Family said...

What a view!! You are right the view is breathtaking and that's just from the pictures. I couldn't imagine how amazing this will be in person.

maria said...

Your photos of Glacier Park are superb. It must have been an amazing trip to share with your kids.

Glennia/The Silent I said...

Beautiful photos! I love the way you arranged them into little collage groupings. Nice job!

Wanderluster said...

Those wildlife photos are amazing!

My first "real" ride on a motorcycle was on the Going to the Sun highway, without a helmet, with my cousin. I was hooked and bought a motorcycle not too long afterward. Haven't been back but it is still very vivid in my memory.

Lorraine said...

Fantastic! This post is so well-rounded because you included so many different angles and landscapes.

Dominique said...

We enjoyed the short time we got to spend in Glacier National Park a couple of years ago. I'd love to go back sometime when we have enough time and $$$ to spend more than just a few days out that way.
Your photos brought back a lot of nice memories. Thanks.

Sarah V. said...

Absolutely beautiful! I love the picture of your daughter in that lovely setting. She looks so thrilled!

kerry dexter said...

thnaks for showing me parts of Glacier I had not seen

BoufMom9 said...

Shar... OMGOSH! Your photography is FANTASTIC!
You should've won that Best photograher on Multiples & More!
These pics are awesome!