13th Day – and what a magical day it was

Sun streaming into the camper, but we slept through the first 3 hours of sunlight until 8:30am. Pancake breakfast on the picnic table.

Then off to Glacier National Park. I thought the foothills we could see from the campsite were great, but we hadn’t seen anything yet. A lot of traffic leading up to the park. Comparing our campground to the ones we saw closer in – I think we chose well. Seems very commercial, esp just before the park entrance (in a 1970 sort of way).

Once we caught a glimpse of Lake McDonald, I knew we were in for something amazing. A surface like clear glass – it’s actually hard to photograph, for some reason. Blue/Green water reflecting the surrounding mountains perfectly. Top down driving for a while, but…

Unusually hot day for a place of this altitude. 95 in Kalispell, and in the upper 80’s even at the top of the Logan’s pass. Checked out of the Lodge, and had an early lunch with a lake and river view at the 1930s-style restaurant. Great food. Lucky we ate, since we wouldn’t see food again until the other side of the continental divide.

After Lake McDonald, the road goes up. And up, and up. And more up. Dramatically up. Did I mention up? Thousand foot drop-offs on one side, and glacial melt on the land side. Sometimes, it even sprayed the cars and the road. The first 10 miles or so were paved beautifully. Soon, that all changed. They’re undergoing a multi-year re-build of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. One lane passes with escorts, dusty gravel, and a little TMI about the construction process and fragility of the current road. Wow. It’s held on by a thread.

Each view and glacier was more spectacular than the one before. I’ve never felt to tiny and vulnerable. The scale of the mountains blows my mind. I’ve been to the Swiss alps, but this seems even more extreme.

The car gasped and clawed its way up to Logan’s Pass, which was mobbed. Parking was tough to find, but the chance to hike a bit on a glacier in 85 degree weather in late July could not be passed up. Pretty slippery and blindingly bright.

We asked the ranger to receommend a small hike, and she pointed to one on St. Mary lake, which we headed for – down the other side of the pass. More steep grades and the “Weeping Wall”, which showered all vehicles on the inland side with freezing doplets of refreshing water. St. Mary Lake was gorgeous. We went on to the next rest-stop to grab a granola bar and soda before making the 75-mile journey back to our campgound (back up and over, and on the other side of the divide). Saw some billy goats at Logan’s Pass, then another show-off in a construction site further down the road, creating traffic mayhem and each car stopped to take a picture whill the oncoming cars waited for the photo-happy convoy to clear so they could go down the single lane.

Someday, I’d like to return and hike and camp more here (on a more “normal” weather day). Today seems like a dream.

3 thoughts on “13th Day – and what a magical day it was

  1. Wow – what a day you’ve had – wnderful! Are you having fun yet, Glenn?
    See you someday soon? Thursday? Friday?
    Stay safe –
    Love,
    Mom

  2. Absolutely amazing!! I’ve never seen a highway sign before warning of water drops!! Heat
    here is atrocious – 4:30 AM went out to get the paper and you can barely breathe. Won’t be any outside work today. Am always struck by pictures of people in summer clothes standing on snow – and in 80/90+ heat. Stay safe – sounds like the driving was a little tricky here and there.
    Me

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