On the road again: Leaving Glacier National Park

Right now, I’m sitting inside my air conditioned trailer courtesy of the National Oldtime Fiddlers Association in Weiser ID. It’s hot outside and people from all over are coming in to view tomorrow’s solar eclipse. Whether I will be able to shoot it is still up in the air.

In the meantime, I’m going to show you some images from the Going To The Sun Road that are new, a couple from a pull out on the road heading into Idaho and one of a new fire.

I’m glad we went to Glacier National Park. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time. I can wish there was no smoke and no fires, but I’ve learned to deal with what I’ve got. That was my part of the trip and now we’re on to Richard’s part. Not that he didn’t enjoy Montana, and I’m certainly going to enjoy my once-in-a lifetime eclipse.

So here’s the end of Glacier National Park and, looking forward, perhaps, a way for me to shoot the eclipse.

 

On the road again: Two Medicine Lake & Twin Falls, GNP

It was a lot easier coming down on twisty Highway 95 than going up. We left Columbia Falls yesterday and are now in Weiser, Idaho for the solar eclipse.

But, before we get into the preparation for the eclipse, I need to close out our adventures in Glacier National Park (GNP). The first day of no smoke we, fortunately, had arranged to take a boat ride on Two Medicine Lake and hike to Twin Falls. It was an easy 1.8 mile hike each way, but our guide was young and walked fast. We had seniors and young couples with small children with us, and he sometimes had the group lagging behind. I almost had to run to keep up–short legs!

It was an enjoyable hike with beautiful scenery. The falls were nice, but not spectacular. I tried some handheld slow shutter on the wider one. I think I’m saying they weren’t spectacular because it was difficult to shoot. Nature had put barriers in the way and kids were climbing on the rocks.

Coming back, we missed the boat and waited with some others about 30 minutes for the boat to come back. I didn’t mind because it gave me a chance to relax and rest. It also gave me an opportunity to shoot some more of the lake. Of course, I was shooting, out the boat’s open window, all the way there and back.

We had one more day of sightseeing in Montana and a day of re-stocking and cleaning before our trip to Weiser. That will be in my next post.

On the road again: Kalispell, Bigfork, & Swan Lake

Can I grumble just a little? No! Well, it’s just frustrating to be in a beautiful place and shoot through a smokey haze. In fact, Richard has been unable to star or sun gaze. There, I grumbled! Now, let’s continue with our Montana experience.

In this post, I’m showing you three of our day journeys. The fires and smoke made it almost impossible to shoot in Glacier National Park (GNP), and we went wherever a truck could take us.

Again, unless you can hike miles, the Going To The Sun Road is the main attraction. So, one day we took off to Kalispell, a city larger than we’ve experienced in the region. We found a State Park and, at the overlook, saw the valley below. We also found Foy Lake. Lunch was at a small Italian place, and we enjoyed great pizza. Here are some images from Kaliispell.

 Bigfork was the following evening. It’s a small community on Flathead Lake–the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi. Cute is the word to describe the town. We found a Forest Service picnic area and went down to the lake. You can see the smoke almost covers the horizon on the lake.

Also more towards evening was our visit to Swan Lake. Another quaint community, not far from Bigfork. Here we surprised a doe feeding locally. What a trip that was for me. She allowed me to get close, and was only scared away when Richard started the truck engine. Families were packing their picnic supplies and rafts, etc. We talked to a fireman who said the fires will end about October. This was the worst of the smoke. The featured image is from Swan Lake.

That night, we had a storm and heavy rain. The next morning, the sky was beautiful. Fortunately, we we had arranged for a boat ride at Two Medicine Lake and hike to Twin Falls in GNP that day. You’ll find out about that in another post.

Thanks for letting me grumble for a little bit!

 

On the road again: Try again, Glacier National Park & Hungry Horse Dam

I admit it, I am tenacious. I don’t give up easily. I mentioned in my last post that we went back into the Park to find Polebridge and Bowman Lake but the road was closed because of fire. So instead, we took a path near Lake McDonald. It was smokey, but not that bad.

After, we stopped in West Glacier and found the Canadian Visitor’s Center. We were going into Canada the next day to visit Waterton Lake National Park and needed to know the best route to take. The gal was very helpful, and, loaded with maps, directions and confidence, we left.

On the way home (the trailer), we decided to drive up to the Hungry Horse Dam and Hungry Horse Lake. It was a worthy trip. There are so many lakes in this area, and they are beautiful. While there, we met a family from Kansas doing a whirlwind road trip. After they left, I realized how lucky we are to be living on the West Coast. In Sacramento, we are 2 hours away from mountain life and beaches. We enjoy visiting several lakes and are surrounded by rivers.

Back to GNP and surrounding area. This trip would be perfect if it wasn’t for the smoke and the haze it creates. When you see the clouds emerging from the dissipating smoke, you realize what a beautiful sky it is. However this trip, we’re not seeing it. I’m hoping that for at least one day, it will clear. I don’t give up!

On the road again: Inside/out, Glacier National Park, Montana

Well, we tried. We wanted to get to Polebridge on the west side of Glacier National Park (GNP). We followed the signs within the park, and then we were out of the park. We like to take the challenge of going off the plan and drove on. The map said that if we drove 37 more miles we would get to Canada; Polebridge was before that. Easy? No.

A sign told us that the dirt road we were about to go on was going through private property, meaning—no trespassing. That’s okay. We passed farms and rural scenery, but no livestock. Do people live here all year round? We asked a gal who lives in White Fish, she said that a lot of them only summer here. So, now I’m curious as to why so much property for living around GNP for 3 to 4 months a year!

We did take the road that was supposed to take us back into GNP at Polebridge. After enjoying a delicious cookie at a gift shop, eatery and bakery, we embarked on the dirt road, but it soon turned into the road from hell. We turned back!

That was a couple days ago. I double checked the map and saw where we made our mistake. So today, we took off to find Polebridge and Bowman Lake on the west side of  GNP. We didn’t make it. A fire had forced the rangers to close the road and campground.

After dinner we went into White Fish to experience an evening Farmer’s Market. We did buy some chocolate huckleberry jam–delicious.

I’m not going to tell you what we did next; that will be in a post a few days from now. We just keep trying! Never give up!!

 

On the road again: On the Going To The Sun Road, GNP

We had three options when deciding how to discover what we could along the Going To The Sun Road (GTTS) in Glacier National Park (GNP). We chose to drive it ourselves and not take the free Park shuttle (which really didn’t stop at places we wanted it to) or the pricey Red Bus. It’s been my experience that when on tours, the photographer may want to take a slightly longer time to get the shot, so……..

It took us at least four hours to get across the 50 mile road through the Park. Yes, a lot of it was spent shooting. Richard even pulled out his cell phone to take some pictures. I’d lie if I said it was an easy drive. It was for me, the passenger, but not for Richard. Once we got to the east end of the Park, Richard was exhausted. An ice cream sandwich later, Richard felt better. We decided to go back to the RV park in Columbia Falls by going outside the park. A little over 2 hours later, we were back to the trailer–both tired.

It was worth it. The scenery was beautiful. Our National Parks are amazing and we need to do everything possible to protect them.

Because of our age and physical capabilities, I knew we’d do two days in the park and rest another, and things are happening that way. Today, I’ve been editing, walking and editing. Here’s the first installment of images. I’ll try to keep up by editing while Richard naps and on our days off.

Tomorrow we go into the park to discover what other options we have other than the GTTS Road.

On the road again: First glimpse GNP

Excitement churned inside me. This was to be our first time in Glacier National Park, located in Montana , but as we approached traffic was backed up 1/4 mile before we could show our senior pass and get in. I thought, not another Yosemite! I have seen many traffic jams in Yosemite Valley.

All we knew was that we needed to go on the Going To The Sun road that stretches across the park. Because we arrived late, we wanted to do something else for our introduction to the Park. Our friendly Park ranger kept telling us to either ride the tram or drive on the Going To The Sun road (GTTS). “You’ll see everything,” she said.

“But what about this area?” I asked, pointing on the map. She mumbled something about the GTTS road. I knew that conversation was hopeless. So we took our maps and literature back to the car. We mapped out a plan while we ate our lunch.

Since there was a 2 1/2 hour wait to get on the shuttle, we decided to walk to Lake McDonald and do the loop along  McDonald Creek. Well, we didn’t get on the right trail, but we weren’t alone. Two other couples were walking the wrong trail. It was pretty and moseyed along the creek.

We wanted to build up our walking/hiking legs slowly after sitting in the truck for four days. And this walk was the perfect distance. Tomorrow, we’ll get there early, hop on the tram, go all the way across the Park, and decide where to get off on the way back. I’m also thinking that if we wait until Monday, there may be less people.

We’ll decide tomorrow. At least for today we got our first glimpse of GNP.