Glacier National Park is in our backyard. It is known in Montana as, “The Crown Jewel of the Continent”. Northwestern Montana has a lot to offer: huge glaciers, grand sweeping views, enormous mountains, spring meadows full of wild flowers, grizzly bears, mountain goats and beautiful waterfalls. Glacier National Park is a popular destination for travelers visiting Montana, it has large campground areas , scenic drives, and lots of beautiful trails to hike.
The Park celebrated its centennial Birthday in 2010. I was there enjoying the birthday cake, a short hike and all the hoopla. I will always remember that day fondly, because that was the day that I saw my first and only Grizzly bear and her three cubs in the wild. Not in the park, but on the drive home not very far from where we live.
Most of the photos below were taken at West Glacier National Park, some at the south end of Lake McDonald, while visiting Apgar Village. The other spot is a few miles down the east shore of the lake at Lake McDonald Lodge, also a popular tourist destination. If you click on one photo it will bring up a gallery for easy viewing. It’s amazing to me that such a grand view is offered right away with such little effort.
The Going to the Sun Road is full of amazing and breath-taking views. It is a long and winding road, but worth the drive. I enjoy the Park in all it’s Seasons. Fall is probably my favorite Season with nobody on the lake and a noticeable quiet and peaceful feeling in the air all around.
Fall in Montana offers a unique feeling for me of mixed emotions about the winter being right around the corner. Every year one of the first signs of fall is the geese flying overhead in their large V formations. The slight weather changes can produce an array of feelings an almost primal check list in my head knowing that winter is on its way, Ready or Not. Good winter tires a must, wood for the stove, a certain realization that the summer fun is coming to a close and the seriousness of icy roads, below zero temperatures and less work available. These are just some of the thoughts that come to my mind when the weather starts to change. Those first few days of chill in the air starts me feeling fall with all my senses, it’s almost like a loud ticking clock and I feel a sense of urgency, “Am I ready?”
The going to the sun road is closed in the winter, and is soon to be piled with very deep snow. It’s always a major ordeal clearing the road each year for the spring visitors with lots of heavy machinery being used. Apgar Village is open year round to drive to, but the shops are closed. In the winter it is not much of a drive into the park and you can be sitting at the water’s edge under the cedar trees looking at the iced edges of the lake. It can be a great break from the every day hustle and bustle. It’s a place I can take for granted and at times have to have someone visiting from outside of the area to remind me that this indeed is in our own backyard and how lucky we truly are.
I like John Steinbeck’s quote about Montana: “I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love, and it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”