Tuesday, July 5, 2011

National Parks Wander/Wonder: Glacier National Park Montana

I have wanted to visit Glacier National Park ever since I watched the Ken Burn's National Parks series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea."  Well that is where I spent the past week.  Feasting my senses on the beauty of the park and its surroundings.

I made the decision to go less then a month ago.  I really didn't want to travel there alone, so I asked my niece Hayley, who just graduated from college the week before to join me.  She shares my love of nature and an energetic love of adventure.  Her company was the icing on the cake, so to speak, to a perfect adventure vacation.

We arrived at Glacier National Airport in Kalispel, Montana on Friday June 24th, and we drove directly to Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta Canada.  The two parks make one continuous eco-system of rugged mountain, glaciers, Crystal blue waters and an abundance of wild life.   In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park were officially linked across the international border to form the first International Peace Park

We stopped at the ranger station on our way to get trail and road information.  Some trails and roads were only recently opened or still closed due to snow and/or flooding.  The Going To The Sun Road, which bisects the park east to west across the Continental Divide, may not completely open at all this season.  As of last week there was still over 40 feet at Logan Pass, that meant we had to take the long way around the park to get to our destination in Canada.

The drive to Waterton was breathtaking.  We arrived at the Prince of Wales Hotel to gusting winds and temps in the low fifties. Needless to say we were worried we hadn't packed enough warm clothes.  The low that night was around 39*F. 

The following morning we took a brisk boat ride across Waterton Lake the the Goat Haunt dock in Montana's Glacier Park.  After clearing customs at Goat Haunt, we hiked back 10 miles along the lake back to the hotel.  We warmed up quickly as we walked and the temps climbed into the mid-60's.  On the way we almost ran into a moose.  Literally he was standing just a few feet from the trail when we saw him, we cautiously backed up and took an alternate route.




We stayed at the Prince of Wales 3 nights before heading south back to Montana and Glacier Park.

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