Glacier Park

Friday I got out of work early thanks to all after hours meetings I’ve had all week. I drove up to Kalispell to visit one of my old Sensi’s who retired up in that area. It was a long 5 hour drive up there, made longer by my discovery that if I traveled at most 65 miles per hour I would conserve gas. I drove through vast farmlands and forests surrounding lakes. I reached Sensi’s house just before sundown. 

He had a cool little house that was very eco friendly. The wood in his house was harvested from trees already on the lot, and had a cool blue marble in it from fungus growing in the trees. I meant to take a picture but I forgot. Next time I go visit I will take a picture. But as you can see from the picture above, he’s got a great view of Kalispell. We decided to do a more remote hike on saturday, and some of the going to the sun road at the end of the day.

We got up really early and drove to Bowmen Lake in the park. Along the way we drove through some heavily burnt areas from recent forest fires. It was kinda of eerie to see forests of burnt white poles. We stopped at Lodgepole Merchantile to get a pastry. Craig Sensi said they were the best pastries in the area. I have to agree.

We arrived at Bowman Lake. I was amazed how blue the water was, and how crystal clear it was. You could easily see a log in the lake a good twenty feet off shore. We than hiked up about 5 miles to view quartz lake. We also found tons of huckleberry bushes to feed on during lunch. They kinda taste like blueberries except more tart.

After hiking down from Quartz Lake, we traveled the western part of the going to the sun road. This road crosses the park and is known as one of the most beautiful drives in the country. The western side of the park is full of tall lodgepole pines. The road also drives by McDonald Lake. Here we got out to look at the lake and McDonald Lodge. Built shortly after the railroad came through the area, vacationers could take the railroad to the entrance to the park. Then they were picked up in jammers and driven to the lodge.

We continued on the going to the sun road and stopped at avalanche gorge. Did you know that Glacier has it’s own rainforest? The trail of cedars winds through a tall cedar forest with a raised wooden platform. Most of the forest floor is usually submerged in the spring. However with all the flooding, the avalanche river undercut many trees by the river knocking them down.

The next day I finished the rest of the going to the sun road. The road wound it’s way up the mountain up to Jordan’s Pass.

Here I got out to hike the Hidden Lake Trail. This trail works it’s way up the mountain and around to the other side to an overlook of Hidden Lake surrounded by mountains. Got to do some “skiing” on the way back with slippery snow covered slopes. I saw lots of cool wildlife. On the overlook of the lake, a mountain goat was snoozing about 5 feet away hidden by some trees. When I told some small kids who were exclaiming about mountain goats down the hill, about him, they squealed in delight. On the way back from the lake there was a herd of big horns grazing by the trail.

Continuing on the going to the sun road, I stopped at the St. Mary/Virginia Falls trail and hiked in to see the falls.

I finished the going to the sun road as it opened up to spruce trees and finally plains. I drove by St. Mary’s Lake and Goose Island.

Taking it easy this weekend to catch up on sleep and cleaning. Next weekend is the county fair with lots of rodeos. Stay tuned.

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