Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, January 6, 2014

National Parks - Week One - Glacier

Glacier National Park, Lake McDonald dock ©Mary Montague Sikes
There is something mystic about a misty mountain lake in the morning. That was especially true of this view of Lake McDonald at Glacier National Park. Many of the magazine photographs of mountain lakes I have admired over the years appear to have been taken in Glacier. It was rewarding to be in this picturesque treasure taking my own pictures.

Glacier National Park, located in northwestern Montana, was established in 1910 and spreads over around one million acres. About 700 miles of trails wind through this glorious land of wilderness and wonder. Mount Cleveland, the highest peak in the park, rises 10,466 above sea level.

In 1933, the Going-to-the-Sun Road opened in Glacier. This narrow and treacherous roadway stretches for 52 miles up Logan Pass and over the Continental Divide to the other side. It connects the eastern and the western sides of Glacier. Each spring, preparing the road for reopening is quite a project that involves clearing snow at lower elevations and progressing upward, meaning that some parts of the roadway must be cleared more than once. It's usually mid-June before the road is completely reopened. Because of weather conditions, reconstruction along Going-to-the-Sun Road has to take place during the high tourist season, so visitors can expect delays from time to time.

Going-to-the-Sun Road ©Mary Montague Sikes
The free park shuttle that starts at the Visitor Center parking lot at Apgar is a great convenience to use during a visit to Glacier. The Going-to-the-Sun Road can be a bit intimidating to drivers and passengers alike, so it's nice to leave the driving to those more experienced.

For those who don't wish to stay inside the park or who can't get reservations, Kalispell is a lovely little town located about 30 miles from the west entrance to Glacier. There are many good restaurants, hotels, and other conveniences there. Plan well ahead of time if you want to visit this park and experience the many outdoor activities available there.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet there is a lot of damage to the road if it's covered in snow over eight months of the year.
Beautiful photos, Mary.

Sarah Chafin said...

Beautiful pictures! Now I'm homesick... I grew up a couple hours south of there!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex, there must be a lot of problems with those roads, clearing and then repairing them.
Thank you. I love taking pictures.

Sarah, thank you. The scenery is beautiful there, but I cannot imagine the hardship of the winters!

Inger said...

A beautiful place I would love to visit.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Such lovely pics...

Thanks for sharing with us Monty!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Inger, thank you. The National Parks are fabulous.

Thank you, Michael!