Friday, July 17, 2009

Glacier National Park Adventures

We checked out of our condo in Canmore on Sunday morning, July 12. Took the scenic drive through Kananaskis country---3 provincial parks. As we left, this sunrise greeted us.
Typical scenery of the provincial parks...

We arrived back in the U.S. and it felt good to see mileage signs and lower gas prices. The border patrol asked us to declare what we bought in Canada. They seemed surprised that all we bought was a book and a few groceries....We carried no firearms, nor alcohol, nor tobacco. Looking at the map, we saw a road going into Glacier from Babb, Montana. We chose to stay away from the GTTS (Going to the Sun) road that is a traffic nightmare. We had driven it about 12 years ago. The road we chose had some lakes and looked kind of "out of the way". We asked the park attendant on our way in for a suggestion on a hike. She gave us maps and highlighted a trail around a lake. We drove further and ran into some washed out road areas that were gravel covered and dusty. We didn't feel like driving a long time on dusty roads...almost considered turning back. The road got better and imagine our total surprise when we arrived at Swiftcurrent Lake and saw this HUGE 200 + room hotel and lodge that was totally unexpected.

There was a threat of rain, so we chose to eat lunch inside the lodge. This was our view. The food was good and fairly inexpensive compared to Canada and...goblets, cloth napkins.

Many Glaciers Lodge....very famous...built in 1915.

We chatted a while with the owner of the Trail riding outfit, finding out that his horses were all Percheron crosses. I liked this shot of the horses patiently waiting.

It was beginning to sprinkle, so we thought we'd do a very short hike partway around the lake. We planned on being gone about 2o mins. so we didn't take water or snacks. We didn't miss the snacks, but by the end of the 3 hour hike, it was hot and we were thirsty. I pretended it was a pioneer trek and sang "for some must push and some must pull."

We didn't realize that the trail AROUND the lake would be so long. We hiked ALL the way around Swiftcurrent Lake and partially along Lake Josephine...shown below. As you can see, it was beautiful.

It stopped sprinkling and the sun came out.
Lake Josephine was not very cold and had somewhat of a beach, so I played in the water and looked for stones. It felt good to squish my toes in the sand and walk on the pebbles. See Cowboy Bob's blog for pictures.
We got back to the lodge, then the car and left to find a place to spend the night. There was no National Forest that we could just pull out into. It was either Indian Reservation or National Park. Again, we looked at the map and had our choice of a primitive campground, Cut Bank Creek or a civilized campground at Two Medicine Lake. We chose the one at the Lake and snagged one of the last campsites. We relaxed, ate peanut butter sandwiches, then went to a campfire presentation on the legends of the area. Apparently, "Two Medicine" refers to the river being between two Medicine Lodges, so it was sacred and powerful medicine.

We spotted the image below on the mountain called "Rising Wolf". It looked to us exactly like a climber.

This lovely shot was of "Old Man" Lake with mountains in background. We camped by this one.

After the campfire stories, it was almost dark. We decided to just walk down to the lake. I left the camera in the car. As we stood looking at the lake, a beaver swam toward us, got out on the shore, snagged some shrubbery and munched for about 15 minutes before sliding back into the water and swimming underwater for what seemed like 5 minutes. It was a great moment, my first view of a beaver in the wild....but no camera to capture that moment.
The next morning, I took a photo of the place where the beaver got out of the water.

After packing up (which involved moving the coolers and bags from the front seats to the back), we went for a hike to Running Eagle Falls. It is also called "trick falls". I assume because it appears to be coming out of the rock.

Of course, I looked for rocks in the river and it struck me how there were so many green and red ones. It occured to me that this was "Two Medicine" river and the red and green were "Two Medicine". We could see the different colors on the mountain above. (note the red and green in the plant, too)

Wonderful time in Glacier....then we drove to Three Forks. On our way out, we came across some spectacular clouds and eventually rain.


Canyonsrcool said...

Love it all. I want to go up there someday.

Pulcheria said...

What a fabulous trip! Thanks for sharing your amazing photos!