Glacier National Park was our first planned destination once Hoyt and Bernice joined us. They arrived on Saturday, just as the weather changed from the balmy seventies of the past week to a high on Sunday that didn’t quite reach 60, with clouds, fog and a stiff wind. The forecast was not predicting improvement for several days, so we decided to spend Sunday in Glacier despite the weather.
Glacier National Park was our 8th national park established (1910). Earlier, Canada had established Waterton Lakes National Park (1895). In 1932, the first International Peace Park was formed when the two parks became linked.
Aptly named the “Crown of the Continent”, the area remains sacred to the Blackfeet, Salish and Kootenai tribes, and it’s easy to see why.
The Going-to-the-Sun road is one of the most spectacular highways in the U.S. Traveling its 51 miles, one moves from dense cedar and hemlock forests at lakeside….
past alpine meadows with glacier views…
to emerge at the edge of the western prairie.
A fascinating feature in the park is Triple Divide Peak. Three raindrops falling less than six inches apart on its summit can travel in vastly different directions: into the Columbia River, the Mississippi or the Saskatchewan.
We drove the Road-to-the-Sun from west to east. The fog continued to worsen at the highest peaks during the day, so at the eastern end of the road, we elected to drive back via Highway 2 around the south edge of the park (covered in previous posting on Marias Pass), rather than back over the peaks.
A stop at the Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier was fascinating. As we walked through the establishment, we marveled at the huge logs used in it’s construction. Built in 1913, it contains 60 Douglas Fir columns 40 feet tall, and ranging from 36-42” in diameter. Each column was brought in by rail from the Pacific Northwest.The floor plan is patterned after early Christian basilicas. It is quite impressive.