Glacier National Park
Flying the Edge of America
Wednesday, July 9, 2008: Glacier National Park
Steve enjoying his encounter with a Commander
were glad to leave our dingy little room in Oroville this morning to get
some eggs. While eating our breakfast we began to realize that just about
everyone in town was over 60 years old.
We postulated that everyone under that age had left
Oroville to pursue options elsewhere. When we returned to our room and
called the taxi we were surprised when the cabby informed us he could not
pick us up for another three hours!
Seeing he was the only game in town we were stuck. Julia
called the FBO at the airport and asked if they could help and they
accommodated us. Soon Steve the FBO manager and long time test pilot picked
us up and dropped us at 51-Juliet. It turns out Steve was a fan of Commander
Airplanes and soon we were exchanging flying stories and telling Steve about
Mountains along our route
fueled up and left Oroville behind us with Kalispell, Montana and Glacier
National Park firmly in our sights.
We left the field a bit later than I had expected, due to
the excellent conversations we were having with Steve, so 51-Juliet climbed
rather slowly into the warm air and blues skies. Once we were at altitude we
turned east towards our destination. Along our route we saw magnificent snow
capped mountains, blue lakes, and breathtaking countryside.
Julia looking ready for hiking
After landing at Glacier International Airport, unpacking
the airplane, and picking up our rental car we were on our way to the
National Park. The
scenery just kept getting more amazing as we approached the park.
Giant mountain horns uplifted eons ago from sea beds and
then carved by massive prehistoric glaciers into humongous valleys now all
covered with lush green trees. We could not resist it so after settling into
our cabin we headed out to hike 6 miles to Avalanche Lake. This is a high
mountain lake with a picturesque setting. We saw many waterfalls on this
hike some so shear that the water did not touch a rock until it hit bottom.
On our way back to the cabin we stopped by McDonald Lake
to catch the sunset, which was extremely rewarding.
Avalanche Lake Video
From Julia: We had an exciting flight to Glacier over
more mountains with winds making the plane ascend and descend. There were
amazing views of the hills below. Some looked like Californian hills and
made us think of home. Glacier National Park is very beautiful. Although it
is early July it seems as if It's springtime here. There are meadows of
blue, white and yellow wildflowers and lots of melting snow. Wherever you
turn your head there are waterfalls and glacier carved mountains.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The Weeping Wall
After breakfast we drove the amazing "Going-to-the-Sun
Road" route up high into the park. We
found ourselves surrounded by massive mountains and enormous waterfalls
which made those at Yosemite seem small in comparison.
We figured this is the best time to come to this park as
it is more like spring time here given how much snow this place gets in
winter, so all of the water was flowing at peak.
The Beautiful Hidden Lake
soon reached "Logan's Pass Visitor Center" where we began our three and a
half hour hike to "Hidden Lake".
This hike took us by surprise as we had not expected it
to consist of many snow covered traverses, slippery and icy conditions,
followed by steep descents and ascents. But it was worth the trouble as
Hidden Lake is a pleasure spot to visit. I have to put it down as the best
hike I have ever done. We ate our lunch at the lake. It was a simple lunch
but it was the best view I have ever had while eating a cheese sandwich.
Hidden Lake Video
A Mountain Goat we encountered on the hike.
As we returned to our car the weather began to change
quickly for the worse as it does in these high places. We
were glad to be back at our car and surprised at how tired we were given how
short the hike was.
I figured it was the altitude and the constant slipping
under foot that took its toll on us. We returned to the cabin via the long
way home so we could see more of this stupendous place.
From Julia: We hiked in snow to a frozen lake and saw
various critters including a hoary marmot (very fat and rat-like), mountain
goats, moose, big-horned sheep and a solitary coyote. While driving through
Montana, on a small road near the park, we were exuberant about the natural
beauty of the place. The road was very pretty. Perhaps we could come back
and stay for a month and explore. At that moment, David pointed out bullet
holes on nearly all the road signs we were passing. We thought that they
must get used for target practice from passing cars. Montana is an amazing
Friday, July 11, 2008
Many Glaciers area
drove through the park again this morning to arrive at the Many Glaciers
This section of the park is the most northerly and
connects to the Canadian part of the park. It turns out that Glacier
National Park was created in the 1930"s as a celebration of peace between
Canada and the United States. This would explain why you see a Canadian and
USA flag flying at all of the ranger stations.
Glacier fed lake
hike took three hours and ten minutes through a high mountain pass covered
with spectacular wild flowers and surrounded by giant mountain peaks.
At the end of the trail was a high mountain lake and one
of the many small remaining glaciers in the park. We could not make it to
the glacier as the trail was closed due to snow and ice; but it was a
fantastic hike even without seeing it.
Many Glaciers Video
Miles Hiked: 51
Miles Flown: 1,361