|What the morning of the third day looked like from our campsite|
(Continued from previous post)
Day 3: Glacier National Park
This trip was bittersweet for me for many reasons. One reason was that my second son had to work and was not able to be with us so I thought about him the whole time. It was bitter because he wasn't able to be with us but sweet because he is taking his responsibility as a man seriously. Another reason was that my oldest son had been gone for two years serving a mission for our church and had recently returned. This trip was for him. He had been gone for two years, then he was home for three weeks and now he is gone again to Philadelphia to work until school starts in the fall. Parents can't keep them little forever. There's a little pride in watching them grow up well but a little sadness too when they don't need you so much anymore. Another reason was that my oldest daughter, her husband and their four boys couldn't be with us either. On day two, I knew I might be in trouble as one of my bottom teeth started hurting. By day three it was in full blown abscess. Every thing of beauty I saw on that day was balanced by the pain of the tooth. I alternated ibuprofen and acetaminophen throughout the day to try to dull the pain and I was able to function in that way. Like I said, bittersweet.
Day 3: First Light
On day 2 we arrived late and found an open campsite in the Fish Creek Campground and camped. When we awoke in the morning we discovered our campsite had been reserved for the next evening so we had to move. We spent the morning locating a new campsite, moving, showering and getting ready for Glacier National Park. It probably looked weird to the other campers to see a tent still set up, moving through the campground. Each of us grabbed a corner and a pole and we moved the tent. It was better than striking it and pitching it again.
After we had done all that, I took my daughter into West Glacier, just outside the park boundary for ice, wood and some tooth numbing agent. On the way back to camp we saw some young bucks at the side of the road. I think they were whitetail deer. The younger boys decided climbing trees was the thing to do. I guess that's what boys do. I did.
|First campsite in Fish Creek Campground|
|This creek was down an embankment behind our tent. We missed the sound of running water in the next site.|
|Beargrass. One of the most common wildflowers I saw in Glacier.|
|A scab on a tree|
|This may be one of the many varieties of paintbrush in the west|
|And it's brothers|
|My son in a tree|
|and the other one in a tree|
|Colors and textures of nature|
Day 3: First Leg All things McDonald
We camped at Fish Creek, which is a tributary to Lake McDonald, the first big lake you see in the park from the west entrance. For the first part of the day we drove along the "Going to the Sun Road" which is a very famous road in Glacier National Park. The first part of the road skirts along Lake McDonald and at the northeast end there is Lake McDonald Lodge. The lodge is in a Swiss chalet style. After that we hiked to McDonald Falls. We saw several angles of the falls from both sides of the river. I said river because that's what it looked like. The real name is McDonald Creek. We followed McDonald Creek to Avalanche Junction.
Lake McDonald is a glacial lake and the largest lake in Glacier National Park. It is roughly ten miles long by one mile wide and 476 feet deep. Since it is a glacial lake, I assume it is pretty cold. All the water running into it was kind of green, but not a sickly green, more of an "I'm really cold" green.
|Colorful pebbles that Lake McDonald is known for|
|More of Lake McDonald|
|Wild rose along the shores of Lake McDonald|
Lake McDonald Lodge was built in 1913 in a time when railroaders were building destination resorts in scenic areas to attract rail customers. There was no railroad here in Glacier but guests were transported to the site by steamboat from the Apgar Village. I dunno, that sounds cooler to me than the railroad. After the Going to the Sun Road was completed, guests started arriving at the lodge from the rear. Now the old back door is the front door. Still looks like a back door though.
It was done up in a Swiss Chalet style and has a rustic interior. Charles M. Russell was a frequent visitor and left some permanent artwork which was destroyed in a flash flood in the sixties. The interior is quite rustic and seems to be a little brother to the Old Faithful Inn. The inn at Old Faithful is massive though and this one is small and quaint.
|This is the view over the hotel|
|This guy was the sentry. Keeping track of us the whole time|
|This guy didn't pay us any attention|
|Lake McDonald Lodge, back of the building, facing the street|
|Totem pole outside the lodge, even though the tribes in this area didn't make|
|Interior of the lodge|
|Original rustic furniture|
|Golden eagle mount|
|My son in the lodge|
|Bighorn Sheep mount|
|Really cool, really old topographic map of the park. Might be made of plaster|
|Exterior, walkway and stairs to the lake|
|Front of the building, facing the lake|
|Bridge over troubled waters|
|I like the light fixture. That's an old pay phone|
|I believe this is a cinquefoil|
|A mountain from the parking lot at McDonald Lake Lodge|
McDonald Falls Trail
As I said in the previous post, I'm a journey guy as much as I am a destination guy. The trail to McDonald Falls was very pretty. It was an easy hike, mostly level. There were several people or groups of people that we encountered along the way but it was by no means a crowded hike. From the parking lot to the falls may have been a mile, maybe less. We made the whole loop, though so it ended up being up to two miles. Pretty hike through shaded woods. I commented to the Hot Chick (she's from Seattle) that it kind of felt like a rainforest. In fact the whole time we were in Glacier it felt like a rainforest. I'll try to keep the images to a minimum, though because there is a cooler hike coming.
|Trailhead to McDonald Falls|
|Even the fungus is cool here|
|Like I said...|
|This boulder was left behind by the glacier that carved this valley|
|My boys on the glacial boulder|
|Alpine forget-me-nots. One of the most common wildflowers I saw in Glacier. I believe it was a bit early for wildflower watching.|
|The moss on the ground made the Hot Chick homesick for the Pacific Northwest|
|Starflower, I believe|
|Don't know this one|
|Another glacier boulder covered with moss|
|One of the mountains on the other side of the river|
|Evidence that I was actually on this trip|
|Glacial carved mountains|
|The brink of McDonald Falls|
|My son wanted a picture of the trees growing from the rocks|
|McDonald Falls from the other side.|
The road along McDonald Creek/river
The road continued along this river until we reached Avalanche Creek. That was where the road was open to. Beyond that it was closed. All along the road there were places to turn off and look at river features. Mini-waterfalls and rapids We stopped at several. One of them had a footbridge across the river. There were places where the glaciers had worn the ground down to the bedrock. It was like a really cool geology textbook opened to the chapter on glaciers. Everything I had ever studied was there and made absolute sense.
|Waterfall along the road|
|Glacial scoured bedrock|
|More exposed bedrock|
|Another water feature|
|Moss on the bedrock|
|My son at the bridge|
|Wild white roses at yet another waterfall|
|There were areas like this everywhere. I thought there were a lot of waterfalls in Yellowstone. I was wrong.|
|The power of the water was thunderous|
|Beautiful waterfall. The water is so green/blue|
I had thought I could finish this trip on one more blog post. Turns out I was wrong. This is not the stunning conclusion of our Glacier Trip. That will be in part III