Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Glacier National Park: the Crown Jewel of the National Park system

(Note: this blog was written off-line days ago and just posted today from Banff, where we have a fast wifi connection.)

We departed from Badlands National Park on Sunday, June 17 and arrived at Glacier National Park on the 18th. Back in 2010 we spent the better part of one day driving in the park and were so impressed with the beauty that we vowed to return as soon as we could. We are so glad we did.

We decided to stay at Many Glacier Hotel because of its location. It sits in a valley surrounded by mountains and remnants of glaciers. The hotel faces the Swift Current Lake and all together presents a picture postcard setting.

If you have plans to visit one of the western national parks, I strongly urge you to see at least this park. At 1,000,000 acres it is immense and vast. There are so many mountains and 25 remaining glaciers. If I could only visit one park, this is the one I would go see.

There are countless hiking trails and activities to engage in as well as a beautiful 97-year-old lodge to sit in and soak up the atmosphere around the huge fireplace. You won't be bored. Food is good to excellent and the staff is on top of their game. We've done boat rides, hikes and a day-long tour of the park in one of the famous old Red Buses.

We have been at Glacier since late Monday afternoon. There is so much to see and do.  It is good that we are here for a week.  We are staying in Many Glacier Hotel, which is soon to be 100 years old.  The building is charming and just what you would expect.  On the other hand a lot of improvements are underway.  Guest rooms are being totally renovated (we didn't get an updated room) -- but that is okay as we just sleep and shower in the room.  There is a lot of construction going on outside.  
The main dining room has been totally renovated and it is stunning.  We were here two years ago and I remember the dining room being a real disappointment: from seeing a suspended ceiling, to dirty and beat up walls, and stones missing from the main fireplace. Now all of that has been corrected.
Yesterday started out gray and gloomy with periodic showers, but we decided to take an enclosed boat ride in spite of the weather.  It was a good decision as the ride we took lasted 4 hours, most of which time was spent hiking.  During this time we saw a mother moose and her calf (Sandy spotted the calf, but I could not get a pic of it soon enough), later we saw a young male moose and quite a few big-horned sheep up on the mountain sides.  We also spotted a pair of loons on Swift Lake.
The hike was great and took us into the woods where there is still plenty of snow.  The snow pack and glaciers are melting so the woods are filled with small and large rapidly flowing streams.  That made for a muddy and sometimes slippery trail.

A view of Many Glacier Hotel early morning. 

 Lobby of Many Glacier Hotel.
 A swift river we crossed one hiker at time on a suspension bridge.
In the hotel is a display of photos taken of glaciers in the very early 1900s and then taken from the same position between 80 and 100 years later.  These two photos will give you an idea of how climate change is making glaciers disappear.  When the park was founded in 1910, there  were about 125 glaciers.  Today the count is about 25.  Note.  The park has the exact count on glaciers, I just did not remember the correct numbers. 
This is the only bear we saw.  For some reason Sandy was not disappointed.
We took a day trip and drove north into the Canadian side of Glacier.  Their park is called Waterton Lakes.  This is the Prince of Wales hotel. The small town was clean and charming.
 The Prince of Wales Hotel overlooks this lake. 
Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.  This is considered the most photographed point in the park

We took a day-long guided tour within the park in one of the famous Red Buses and drove past many of these spring snow-melt fed waterfalls.  When the top was rolled back on the bus we caught some cold spray.
Thanks to the Ford Motor Company the entire fleet of these old buses was entirely rebuilt a few years ago and brought up to 21st century standards at a cost of $7,000,000.  How fortunate that companies like Ford are willing to "share the wealth."  The drivers of these buses are extremely knowledgeable and personable.

The Red Buses were originally built by the White Motor Company, but since they now ride on a Ford F-450 chassis, they certainly deserve to wear the Ford blue oval logo
Taken from the Red Bus.  This person is not my Sandy.

On our guided tour along Going to the Sun Road we spotted this Mountain Goat.
One of the larger glaciers still remaining. 

 Bear Grass blooms on a 5 to 7-year cycle.  The forest was loaded with Bear Grass flowers this spring. 
 Indian Paint Brush

 Another view of our hotel
This waterall was at the end of Red rock Trail.  Most of the hikers we passed had seen bear.  But not us. 
 On Red Rock Trail.
This is the lobby of  East Glacier Hotel, one of the other great old lodges in the park.
 Unique table in East Glacier Hotel
 We spotted this mama moose and her two babies one morning.
 Is this little guy cute or what?
The constantly changing weather presented so many photo opportunities.  

We are now in Banff, Alberta, Canada.  This is a very upscale small town within the Canadian National Park of Banff.  Photos to follow in a day or two.


  1. That smile on my face is my "didn't see any bear" face. But I swore I smelled them.

  2. George, thanks for sharing your excellent blog and photos on Glacier NP. I stopped by the Many Glacier Hotel when I was there two years ago and there was a very loud group of people there having great fun. I asked them what the occasion was and they told me it was a reunion of all the people that had worked there over the years. I told them I would have liked to have been part of their group.

  3. Both drugs have also been denied FDA approval the first time around and are
    awaiting news on their second attempt. Authorities inside the area will need
    to have an intensive understanding of laboratory and
    labeling techniques, infection security precautions, appropriate blood attract approaches to the elderly and
    for infants and even more. When you're about to start on your weight loss plan, it's a good idea to think about your end
    goal and chunk it down into smaller goals.

    My web site; http://Www.5-10kgabnehmen.de

  4. Body is solid and is made up of magnesium alloy which makes this camera durable to last longer.
    The EOS 50D's body design allows the camera to fit perfectly in hands while taking even the most difficult shots. The Difference Between Digital and Optical Zooms Many digital cameras feature both digital and optical zoom.

    Here is my homepage: just click the next website page

  5. If your camera doesn't have this option, try going outside where the light is usually better. It includes the feature of red eye reduction and the various white balancing features include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L, Tungsten and Custom. This often enables consumers to review each camera individually to get all the details and find out what is included with their purchase.

    My blog post; http://mediabass.tv/read_blog/4555/secrets-for-digital-camera-the-basics

  6. If with the classic version, you only get to play the same game over and over again, with Simon 2 game,
    you get to play more games with more challenges ad game highlights.
    This means to sell your mods would be considered the same as pirating the game itself.

    Making your game play is the next phase you'll be focusing on.

    Look at my weblog; Www.spielespielen24.De