Thanks for following along on our trip and hopefully we will not bore you too much with our “vacation photos” but rather inspiration for what incredible beauty lies beyond the computer screen. I cannot say it enough, but seriously this place was beautiful. I will share a few excerpts from our travel journal authored by Ryan:
“After sleeping well in our new camp spot at Spague Creek, we awoke, grabbed a quick yogurt and started the drive from West Glacier to East Glacier along a road called “Going-to-the-Sun”. A single two-lane road snakes through Glacier NP and the scenery is breathtaking….There are no developments, no houses, only the one road.”
Ryan continues, “Rather quickly you come to understand the name ‘Going-to-the-Sun’. The road contains a 180-degree hairpin turn which is carved out of the mountain rock and lifts you above the tall trees and exposes the valley’s vast beauty and tall peaks. There are ‘turn-outs’ every 1/2 mile or so and we used basically ALL of them to take pictures of the views – they were remarkable! We had a tough time getting to proper exposure because the peaks would cast large shadows across the valley, a stark contrast to the bright morning sky – we hope we got some good pictures.”
The road had it all, many waterfalls, very tall peaks and even snow that hung on from the last winter. Our destination was Many Glacier lake which required that you leave the park and go north about 30 minutes to re-enter the national park. The road follows yet another lake and stream, along which we were fortunate enough to spot the first BEARS of the trip!
A mother black bear and her two cubs were feeding on huckleberries on the opposite side of quickly moving 20ft wide river. The river gave a false sense of security, as we continued to snap away taking pictures. Ryan was soooo excited after seeing these guys and was continually on the look out for more of them, unlike me who was perfectly content admiring these creatures from a more protected position such as inside the car! I struggle because I love seeing all of the animals, such as bears, and could watch them for hours but I am SUCH a chicken and try to pretend to be brave despite my pounding heart and clenched hands. When all is said and done and I have returned back to the comfort of my bed, I am so happy about the adventures we did and animals we saw, but gosh it still doesn’t help calm my nerves!
The east side of the park was more arid than the west and much more windy. We parked at the Many Glacier lodge and decided to begin the Swiftcurrent Lake Loop hike as the popular Iceburg Lake trail was closed due to bear activity. Though it was a well traveled path with several other hikers, we were happy to have our bear spray and bear bell.
Along the hike we saw this pristine lake and refreshing waterfall. I was thankful I had my polarizer filter for the camera and was able to slow my shutter speed just enough, despite the midday sun, to get the water to blur. I am no nature photographer, but I was pretty proud of this one!
Um, seriously this place was filled with so many colors and textures. I imagine this is how the settlers saw it over 100 years ago and it awed them just as much as it has awed us.
Can you see the road???? Yes, that horizontal line (on a slight upward diagonal) is the “Going-to-the-Sun” road. The road exists like this for about 25 minutes as you snake your way through the other side. This road makes the “scary” part of Highway 50 Tahoe seem like peanuts!
After a day out exploring the park, we returned back to camp and enjoyed one last sunset over the lake – this time opting out of the night time photo session.
This is how we ended our day, snuggled together admiring this beautiful site together excited for the new adventures that tomorrow would bring!