Monday, October 31, 2016

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park Part 4



Glacier National Park, located in Montana in the United States, is so unique and beautiful that it is hard to show all of its features in just a few blog posts. I am already up to part four of our trip to this park and I know I could write dozens more to show all we saw. So to condense our visit a bit I want to show you some of the highlights we saw along the 50 mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road, that allows visitors to travel in both directions from west to east, and east to west, through a major portion of the park. On the west side a large portion of the road is surrounded by towering pines and cedars forests, with large mountain peaks looming ahead.  I showed the western entrance, Lake McDonald and the Trail of the Cedars we walked on my Part Two post--click here--so I will not repeat that part of the drive here.


(All photos and photo collages in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


After leaving the Lake McDonald area we traveled along the McDonald Creek


We parked in a viewing area and as I was taking photos a large female moose walked out from the trees!


She waded through the creek onto the shore directly below where I was standing, and then wandered off very peacefully.


Back in our car and continuing on east after that exciting encounter.


We soon passed through a mountain tunnel...


To be greeted by the majestic sight of Heavens Peak. If you click on the photo collage above you can read more about the peak.


We stopped again in a viewing area to take photos of Heavens Peak. The viewing area was surrounded with the most delightful wildflowers!


In fact, wildflowers were in profusion all over the park!


As we drove along the Going-to-the-Sun Road we saw many waterfalls descending form the glaciers in the mountains above.


They were breathtaking sights to see!  This waterfall is called Bird Woman Falls


A close up of Bird Woman Falls, that descend 492 feet into the Hanging Valley


As you can see in the photo above the road winds around ...


...and over some of the waterfalls.


More photos, above and below, of the peaceful Hanging Valley--McDonald Creek, where I earlier saw the moose, and Heavens Peak, are seen in this photo.


Please click on this photo to enlarge it to read more about this area.


Looking back at the Going-to-the-Sun Road, as it winds around the mountain. Construction on the Going-to-the-Sun Road was begun in 1921 and was formally dedicated on July 15, 1933.  Without stopping, it takes two hours to travel the 50 mile road.


Another view of Bird Woman Falls and Hanging Valley from another point along the road.


We now were approaching another marvel to see within the park--the Weeping Wall.


We were visiting in late August so the waterfall that seeps out through the Garden Wall, from snow melt abovewas now mostly a trickle, but enough to create a glistening rock wall and wet road.


More views of how the Going-to-the-Sun Road twists and turns around the mountains.


The views from all points are spectacular!


The Triple Arches is a rock bridge support built on the side of a mountain that was a solution to an early engineering problem. While we were visiting the park there was construction repair going on to replace part of the rock railing that had been dislodged by an avalanche during the prior winter season.


Traffic was in one lane only, at this portion of the road, and while we were stopped to allow west bound traffic to pass I took the photos above and below...




....of some of the glaciers across from the Triple Aches.


Continuing to drive east...


...we saw a couple of mountain goats frolicking on the rocks.


We now reached Logan's Pass.  At 6,648 feet, it is the highest point on the Going-to-the Sun Road. Logan's Pass is 32 miles (51,5 km) from the west entrance and 18 miles (29 km) from the east entrance to Glacier National Park. It is a popular place to visit and the parking lot often is completely filled between the hours of 9:30 am and 4pm.  We did manage to park at Logan's pass on one trip on the road and we took the beautiful Hanging Garden Trail to Hidden Lake--click here to see that blog post.

This part of the Going-to-the-Sun road is also one of the most difficult to plow in spring. Often over 80 feet (24 m) of snow can lie on top of Logan Pass, and more just east of the pass where the deepest snowfield is refereed to as the Big Drift.


After passing Logans Pass, we now were headed towards the St. Mary section of the park


When we saw this waterfall right on the side of the road we stopped to take photos. It was running quite strongly, and we had fun touching its spray and taking a video of it.  If you'd like to see a short video of the waterfall you can click on this facebook link or this Instagram link.  I'd also be very pleased if you follow me at either, or both, links!


Continuing to drive east...


...more spectacular views!


We soon approached the Mt. Jackson viewing area where Jackson Glacier, the seventh largest glacier in Glacier National Park is located.  If you click on the photo collage above you can read the park placard that tells how the glaciers are all shrinking over the decades, and sadly it is believed by the year 2030 none of them will remain.


As we drove toward St Mary Lake we passed into an area that suffered a serious forest fire in 2015. Over 4,000 acres of forest burned.


It was a sad and sobering sight to see, but fires are natures way of renewing the forests and someday there will be new trees growing here again.


St. Mary Lake is the second largest lake in Glacier National Park and lies on the eastern end of the park.  It is 9.9 miles long and 300 feet deep. In winter is is often frozen four feet deep.


The little island located towards the middle of the lake is called Wild Goose Island.


The St. Mary Valley is so picturesque! 


I loved the reflections of the mountains on the lake water.


The eastern most part of Glacier National Park is now less dramatic, with rolling hills and plains.


We visited the St Mary Visitor Center at the end of the Going-to-the-Sun road. As this visitor center boarders the Blackfeet Nation reservation it has interesting Native American information about the meaning of the natural aspects of the park to the native peoples.  Every year there is a special program called Native American Speaks where tribal members share their knowledge of the history and culture of native America with Glacier National Park visitors.


A view of the eastern entrance to Glacier National Park from a distance.




We would make the drive from the western part of Glacier to the east again the next day as we were headed to the Canadian portion of the park called the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.  See more in my next post!

To see posts in this series that you may have missed--click the links below:

Glacier National Park -Part One--Many Glacier
Glacier National Park -Part Two- Trail of the Cedars
Glacier National Park-Part three--Hanging Garden Trail to Hidden Lake

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59 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat! Awesome photos from your Glacier Park visit. The Going to the Sun road was one of my favorite parts of my visit. I love the moose and the goat shots. The views are stunning. Thanks for sharing your trip! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Maggie said...

Good morning Pat,
I really enjoyed this latest visit to this part of the park it brings back very happy memories of the RV trip that we took back in the '90's. The scenery is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and I love the random encounters with the wild life that inhabit the area.
Thank you for taking me away to the other side of the world with you today.
Happy Mosaic Monday!
Maggie.

Taken For Granted said...

Thank you so much for posting your excellent photos of this drive. The Going-To-The-Sun road is one of my favorite drives. Your pictures brought back pleasant memories.

Snap said...

Hi Pat!

Stunning post. Love all the waterfalls...there is just something special about them ... the sound! So glad you are enjoying the wild west! Happy Monday.

simply bev said...

Gorgeous! I live near the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are not so high due to being older, but still awesome and one of my favorite places to be. Your mountains are stunning. Thanks for sharing!

LV said...

You make the day so nice being able to travel to all these interesting places. I enjoy it so much.

Linda W. said...

I love driving the Going to the Sun road - it's scenery can't be beat! Your trip posts are making me want to plan another trip here next summer.

Ruth Hiebert said...

I am enjoying these posts so much, as I can recall driving through that area on two different occasions.The scenery is stunning.

Maria Parenti-Baldey said...

Those wild flowers are so beautiful. Fantastic view of another part of the world.

likeschocolate said...

I have been to Montana, but never to Glacier National Park. Gorgeous!

Vee said...

Magnificent country! Is Bird Woman Falls named for Sacagawea? I have a vague memory that that was her nickname. Perhaps this place was visited by the Lewis and Clark expedition, which I am just making up off the top of my head and now must go educate myself. Glad that you know your way with a camera and with getting around the country.

mick said...

Magnificent scenery! The wildflowers are beautiful as well.

librarylady64 said...

What a beautiful park and amazing sites. Love the pretty flowers mosaic.
Happy Halloween!
Joy @ Books and Life

carol l mckenna said...

We do live in a beautiful country and you are finding many of those places ~ Great photography ~ ! thanks,

Wishing you a wonderful week ~ ^_^

happywonderer.com said...

So much beauty in this great National Park. Thanks for all the beautiful photos...

The Furry Gnome said...

Simply spectacular! I think this road is going to have to go on our list!

NC Sue said...

Beautiful photos.
Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/10/guess-where-i-went.html

jeannettestgermain said...

Hello Pat, Beautiful views of the mountains and the waterfalls - I'm in love with them! Thank you for your comment, and I think you intended to link up your thumbnail pic after you comment, but I don't see it! Tell me if I'm overlooking it...
Anyways, a beautiful post and am thanking you in advance to linking it up to ALL SEASONS. The linky list is open till Wednesday evening:)
Have a great week!

jeannettestgermain said...

Oh, won't you know it, I found your thumbnail right after my comment to you!! Lovely reflection of the mountain in the lake! Sorry, for the false alarm!

Jeanne said...

Hi Pat, If one never gets to see Glacier National Park in person, your posts have truly shared the beauty of this huge and amazing park. Thank you for your wonderful ability to share everything you do and see 'so well.'

Happy Blue Monday.
Hugs, Jeanne

Lorrie said...

Wonderful photos, Pat. They make me want to jump in the car and head out for a road trip to the Rockies!

Lady Fi said...

Wow - such gorgeous scenery and shots.

Mary Cromer said...

Oh Pat, you shared so much, and I loved it all. As you probably remember we have been three times and we could go so much more if it were closer. One time we went and they had the government shutdown and we could not go in, really bummed journey that year.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Glorious views! I love seeing your travels :)

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots from National Park. Very scenic.

Sylvia said...

Pat, Wow that was a great opportunity to photograph the moose. The burned out forest is sad looking. Thanks for sharing. Sylvia D.

Molly said...

This landscape is absolutely breathtaking

Mollyxx

bettyl-NZ said...

That's a lot to see! I love the mountains and hillsides along with the waterfalls. I can relate to the one-lane traffic as we have many slips down the mountainside to cover the road in the spring.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

Everything you have posted in here looks amazing! I am so happy you shared with us. Not sure what I like the most (wildlife, mountains, valleys, waterfalls). But I guess variety is what I love about National Park.

Felicia said...

Thanks for sharing. I loved Glacier. wish we could go back.

riitta k said...

Glacier Park seems to be an amazing place with stunning views - wow. And your photos show its beauty so well. The Triple Arch bridge looks interesting and the traces of forest fires so sad. Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed very much.

Lori @ Dining Delight said...

I enjoyed seeing all your pics of this fabulous area! We went there on our motorcycle last summer right after the fire. It was sad to see but once through the burned trees, the rest of the scenery was spectacular. We had made our way over and down from BC, Canada and went across Montana, Idaho and Washington. Your highways and state parks are terrific! Thanks for sharing this post as I got to re-live our wonderful trip.

diane b said...

Wow!!! What an amazing park. The scenery is awesome. Thanks so much for showing me this part of the world.

Mother of 3 said...

WoW! Those pictures are just stunning! I've always wanted to see a real life moose (as long as it wasn't super close).

Karen Del Tatto said...

Wow!!

These pictures were spectacular!!!

I had forgotten about Glacier National Park, but after seeing your post, I don't think I realized how amazing a place it is!!

This is definitely going on my bucket list!!

Thanks for sharing!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I think the visitor count at Glacier will go up hugely as a result of your beautiful posts! Amazing pictures...it really is an astounding place. Lucky for you (and us) that you were in such a good spot for pictures at that construction stop. Again, I really love how you show us the grand views and the small wonders at your feet. And of course the wildlife!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I always enjoy going with you on your rides…spectacular scenery.

Carol Z said...

I've enjoyed all of your posts about Glacier. It's not been on my to-visit list, but I'm thinking it may be the place to go next summer. What a fabulous trip!

Lisa Kerner said...

We really, really want to go back in the summer time so that we can see everything we missed. It will probably be one of our first trips once we buy a camper so that we can spend a couple weeks and camp. GNP is still my favorite, there was something about that park that called to my soul.

Soma @ whimsandfancies.com said...

Such a beautiful place! I had a fabulous time travelling through your photos. I hope to visit this park one day.

-Soma

Kreete said...

What an awesome drive! It looks so serene! Loving all the photos! Especially the ones of the mountains and the moose!! I have had a similar experience in The Australian Alps diving on a windy mountain road, camping amongst the mountains and observing brumbies drinking from the alpine river. One of the highlights of my entire life!

Stacey said...

Your photos are so beautiful! I'd love to go on this trip right now. I would die to see a moose drinking and roaming in a stream. Nature is so wonderful. :)

Michelle said...

Beautiful pictures! It must have been so nice to experience this with your heart and your camera!

Michelle said...

Sorry my link brings you to an old blog. You can find me at michellebfizzard.com

Lyn Lindfield said...

The Going to the Sun Road has been on our wishlist forever. We tried to drive it once but it was closed for repairs. One day we will make it back there. In the meantime I really enjoyed your photos - especially the moose.

Rhonda Albom said...

This park looks beautiful. I always like the wildlife in the national parks and the shot of the moose is my favorite photo.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, stopping back to say thank you for linking up your post. I love the moose images, they are a cool sighting. Wonderful photo from your trip! Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

pheobackyardphotographer said...

Beautiful scenery! Thanks for sharing! :-)

Rambling Woods said...

Oh wow....what beautiful photos and so much of nature's best... Michelle

krishna said...

Extremely beautiful pictures of Glacier national park.. love to see the photographs...

Please vista: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com

Lori Sedwick said...

I used to live in Kalispell for 3 years before I moved to Germany! This makes me miss Montana a lot! Used to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road a lot especially in the summer! You're pictures are beautiful! #Wkendtravelinspiration

travelsewhere said...

Such beautiful photos, I'd never heard of Glacier National park before. I love how the waterfalls cut through the forests and just those landscapes. And St. Mary Valley, oh man!

Sara - My Woodland Garden said...

Truly spectacular, Pat! It's almost incredible how beautiful places there are on earth. (Admiring these lovely views, and thinking how we humans don't protect this wonderful planet very well, made me also a little bit sad.)
The names of the places are also very interesting.
This breathtaking post made me dream. :) Thank you for sharing! Happy Sunday!

indah nuria Savitri said...

Oh my God..it's beautiful indeed. I have been putting Montana on top of our bucket list! Breathtaking..

the cape on the corner said...

whoa! the st. mary valley looks amazing. i'm hoping for this years trip that we do all the national parks in mid/west coast area.
b

Jann Olson said...

Love the wonderful adventures you share Millie! Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

LadyE said...

Hi, Pat! Thanks for the beautiful tour. Your photos are gorgeous. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

Pat what an incredible trip and you have taken amazing photos to preserve this special memory. It must be so exciting to travel and see so much on your way to the top.

Corinne Vail said...

Going to the Sun is one of my favorite drives, anywhere! You got some incredible wildlife shots on your journey. #wkendtravelinspiration