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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Logan Pass we headed west, going from one scenic vista to the next.
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.
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.
If you would like to see more amazing travel photos check out Delicious Baby's Photo Friday here.