July 17th, 2023
Our first time into Glacier National Park, we took our truck. We like to scout out the parks and see what we might want to come back to experience. We entered the park after 4pm and were immediately met with 10 miles of…no road. Not only are they rehabbing or replacing 13 bridges throughout the park, but last year they laid a new sewer line from the Lake McDonald Lodge to the west entrance of the park. It took all last summer to lay the sewer and is likely to take all this summer for them to replace the road. I know their construction season is short, but this seems like a LONG time to do 10 miles of roadway.
So our first impression was a dusty one.
On our second trip in we went on one of the red tour busses and before we got to the construction, the driver stopped at the Apgar Visitor’s Center at the base of Lake McDonald.
On our tour, when we hit the construction – we stopped. For a full hour. There is no way around the traffic, you just have to sit and wait for them to open the road back up. Our fantastic tour director told us stories to keep us entertained and we also shared stories with each other. She had no idea that there would be this sort of delay, but she handled it very well.
Once we got through the construction we stopped for lunch at the Lake McDonald Lodge. The food was great and the service at the restaurant was wonderful. They are very stingy with the wifi password and only give it to the guests of the lodge, but overall it was a good experience. I recommend the elk burger!
We made a stop at this beautiful river. Our guide told us that the water is so colorful because of “glacier flour” or ground up bits of silt that does not dissolve completely and reflects light to cause this beautiful turquoise color.
The Road to the Sun is a twisting, turning, narrow road with gorgeous overlooks. Tim did a great job of navigating on our first drive through, but of course he could not look at much while keeping us all safe! On our tour, he could look out from the open top bus and try to keep his fear of heights in check.
Logan Pass is a large visitors center with some great short hiking trails. I understand that big horn sheep are frequently spotted here, but we did not see any this time.
When Glacier was named a national park, it had over 100 glaciers within its borders. By 2015, only 26 met the criteria to be called active glaciers. On Road to the Sun road, we got a nice view of the Jackson Glacier from this viewpoint.
In 1850, Jackson Glacier and what is now the Blackfoot Glacier were one and covered 1875 acres. The Jackson Glacier is now just 250 acres.
There were so many stunning viewpoints in Glacier.
We took a short hike to an overlook over one of the lakes on the east side of the park. Apparently the east side is the windy side. I could barely stand up!
We did not make it over to the Many Glaciers entrance and I understand that is beautiful. Next time! (Don’t tell Tim.)