After my husband and I visited the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument--click here to read that post-- we drove on towards Billings, Montana to spend the night. The next morning we left our hotel early, knowing we had a lot of driving ahead of us as we drove across the state of Montana towards its north western corner to begin our visit to Glacier National Park--called the "Crown of the Continent." Much of eastern and central Montana consisted of wide open skies and large ranches and farms. Montana's major crops are wheat, barley and hay, and we saw many miles of those crops on our journey.
(All photos will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)
Finally, after almost a day of driving, we entered the eastern boundary of Glacier National Park, which is the Blackfeet Nation. The Blackfeet are one of the tenth largest tribes in the United States. Blackfeet reservation was founded by treaty in 1855 and consists of 3,000 square miles--twice the size of the national park and larger than the state of Delaware. On the Blackfeet Country Welcome web site you can read more about the Blackfeet Native Americans, their history, and points of interest on the reservation. We could see the Rocky Mountains ahead and our anticipation grew, but we also saw heavy clouds growing in the distance and we feared we might have inclement weather of the beginning of our visit to the Many Glacier part of Glacier National Park.
We entered the Many Glacier section of Glacier National Park, which is located on the eastern section of the park, and north, but not connected to the "Going to the Sun Road," which is the major road within Glacier National Park. Many Glacier is surrounded by the high peaks of the Lewis Range of the Rocky Mountains and numerous hiking trails can be accessed from the area. We knew we arrived too late in the day to venture out on a trail so instead we planned to take a boat ride on Swiftcurrent Lake within the park, and headed towards the Many Glacier Hotel to buy the tickets do this.
Along the road inside the park we passed magnificent mountain peaks...
...of all shapes and colors.
We were on the lookout for wild animals, as this part of Glacier National Park is supposed to be the best area to see them.
I was really hoping to see a grizzly bear, from a distance of course, but unfortunately we did not see any.
We drove around to the end of the road in Many Glacier and back to see the sights, and saw our first glaciers within the park.
Click to enlarge
This placard within the park explains what glaciers are and how they form. Unfortunately, the changing climate has reduced the numbers of glaciers remaining within Glacier National Park and scientists predict they may all disappear by 2030 if climate conditions continue as they are. That will have a large impact on the entire ecological system in the park
It has been estimated that there were approximately 150 glaciers present in 1850, and most were still present in 1910 when the park was established. In 2010 there were only 25 glaciers larger than 25 acres remaining in Glacier National Park and those remaining are melting at a faster than expected rate.
If you look closely at the photo above you can see the steams of water pouring down from the melting glacier, water that eventually empties into the lakes.
We enjoyed looking at the views around the Many Glacier Hotel, although the sky was dark and threatening. Beautiful Mount Grinnell loomed high above the lake.
Between the chalet style of the Many Glacier Hotel and the high jagged mountain peaks surrounding it, we felt as if we were visiting Switzerland. We just wished we had better weather for our visit!
When we passed through the hotel to look at the lake, we decided not to purchase tickets for the boat ride we had previously planned.
It began to thunder, and big drops of rain began to fall.
From the porch of the hotel we watched the boat sail off with just a few hardy passengers on board.
Since the weather was inclement we decided it would be best to drive west towards the Belton Chalet in West Glacier and have a nice dinner there.
We drove out of the park, passing by Sherburne Lake.
We passed Sherburne Dam and entered the town of Browning in Blackfeet Nation, where we saw the first of many cattle that roam free along the side of the road and the scenic tipi campground.
As we drove along the outside of the park, towards West Glacier, the rain continued to pour.
This was the only way I could take any photos.
When we turned into the town of West Glacier and saw the historic Belton Chalet, where we would be staying for the rest of our visit, we sighed in relief. It had been a very long day. The rain had finally stopped and, happily, we had beautiful weather for the rest of our trip to Glacier. We were going to enter the park again tomorrow morning and drive on the "Going to the Sun Road" that traverses the major part of the park. Come back next post to see that exciting drive!
I'm linking this post to the following blog events:
Seasons, Weekend Travel Inspiration, Amaze Me Monday, Blue Monday, Through My Lens Monday, Mosaic Monday, Life Through the Lens Monday, Mellow Yellow Monday, Inspiration Monday, Good Random Fun, Nature Notes, Grand Social, Our World Tuesday, Ruby Tuesday,Wanderful Wednesday,Wordless Wednesday, Oh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Outdoor Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday,Little Things Thursday, Thoughts of Home on Thursday, Travel Photo Thursday, Friday Photo Journal, Skywatch Friday, Sweet Inspiration, Friday Features, Share It One More Time, Pink Saturday