On our second day at Glacier, our main goal was to drive the Going To The Sun Road. For those that do not know, Going To The Sun Road was built specifically for tourist and nature lovers to admire the amazing views in this park, and it's an east/west road, hence the name. We started on the west side of the park today. I'll add a little more about the road later on.. We didn't get up super early this day, as we knew it would be more about the landscape than the wildlife. Our hotel was about 40 minutes from the park, and we arrived at the Apgar Visitor Center (pictured above) at about 10:30. By this time, there were already lines of people waiting to get information from park rangers. I myself wanted to talk to a ranger while we were there, as I was planning on doing some hiking the next day. It was a beautiful setting, I was in awe at the tall pines here. Even with the people around us, it felt kind of peaceful. But that's what nature does to me.
We spent probably about an hour or so at the visitors center, and started our venture. There are many pullouts along Going To The Sun Road, and for good reason. If it weren't for those pullouts, I wouldn't have very many photos of this day, as I was the driver for our trip (My cousin is legally blind). The next two photos are from one of those pullouts, at Lake McDonald.
So there's a few things about the two photos.. First is the Red Bus. The Red Bus Tours have been around since 1914. And many of the current busses in the fleet have been in service since the mid 1930's. They have roll back tops for viewing the mountains, waterfalls, and if you're lucky, wildlife. Sadly, we didn't have the opportunity to ride one this trip. The second thing we did do. See the line just below the top of the mountain? THAT'S some of Going To The Sun Road! So yeah, we were driving UP THERE!!
Here's a little valuable tip from me.. I learned about this great app called GyPSy. It's fantastic! That app actually told me that was the road at this point of our "tour". It works with your phones GPS and is like having your own personal tour guide. The narrator has great stories, tells you where the best stuff to see is, and a sense of humor! It's well worth a download if you're heading to a national park. There's a fee for each parks tour, or you can also get combos. Like for the Rapid City South Dakota area. I'll have a link at the bottom of the blog if you're interested..
The next several photos are just some scenic views we had along the way..
We noticed this creek and a couple of good size pull offs for viewing/photos, so we decided to check it out.. It was about noon at this point.. And I certainly did not expect to see..
Our first bear sighting!!
One thing about these photos.. As nice as they may be, they'll NEVER justly represent what it's like actually being there..
Notice the vehicles at the bottom of the next photo for some perspective..
Glacier is full of waterfalls. They cross under the road in several places along the drive.. And I did take a few photos of this one over the several days of being on this road. It's hard to keep track of which ones you've seen and photographed.. lol
The creek in the next two photo is the creek we stopped at, when we saw the bear.. In the second photo, you can see the road next to the creek..
Here's a closer view of that waterfall..
Logan Pass is considered the halfway point on Going To The Sun Road, and is a very popular stop. This is also where we cross the Continental Divide. Pretty cool....
There's a visitors center, and many popular trail heads here. Trying to get a parking spot is challenging. I dropped off my cousin, and had to circle around for about an hour before I got a spot.. And that is pretty normal, unless you arrive at 6 am (or before), which I did the following day.. Anyway, we wanted to get our National Park Passport Stamps, and walk around for a bit.. I only took a couple of photos, since I knew I was coming back the following day..
This is an easy trail (for Glacier) to Hidden Lake Overlook.. We wanted to hike it, but it was closed due to a mama bear and her cubs in the area. That's Clements Mountain back there...
Pollock Mountain.. Across from the Logan Pass parking lot.. For perspective, the trees at the bottom are full grown pine trees..
And we were driving again.. This is a photo my cousin took while I was driving. I honestly have no idea at what point in our travels she took it. This seems like a good place to add it to the blog.. lol
There's two tunnels on Going To The Sun Road, one on the west side of Logan's Pass, and one on the east side of Logan's Pass. The west tunnel is 192 feet long, and the east one is 408 feet long. My cousin took a phone video of us entering the east side tunnel.. The voice you hear is the GyPSy app narrator..
More waterfalls... I bet they are MASSIVE here in the spring..
The next three photos are of one water fall. It flows under the road and continues down the mountain..
You can just barely see the water flowing down in the center of the photo.. And you can see the east tunnel we just went through, at the top right of the photo..
What a view...
Here's another waterfall.. Again, notice the vehicles in the middle of the photo for perspective. This is near Siyeh Bend. I believe the water for this comes from a snow pack on Piegan Mountain, or from Piegan Glacier.
This is the creek that the waterfall flows into. Siyeh creek.. fed by the snow pack on Mount Siyeh..
Going to the Sun Mountain..
Right across from Going To The Sun Mountain is Saint Mary Lake..
Fun fact: Saint Mary Lake, Going To The Sun Road, and Wild Goose Island (the tiny island below) are featured in the opening scene of The Shining..
Another view of Going To The Sun Mountain..
This is Baring Creek leading to Sunrift Gorge. Honestly, we didn't know the gorge was down the trail, or we might have attempted to go see it. This was still pretty cool though...
The sun setting over Saint Mary Lake.. And now we head back west and to the hotel..
One last photo before leaving the park. West Glacier has a nice little village with some shops and a restaurant. I had my first taste of huckleberry at the restaurant a few doors down from this stand. It was a homemade huckleberry soda, and it was outstanding! I lightened this photo up quite a bit, I wanted to take it while I was seeing it..
What took us eight hours to drive and explore, took us only an hour going back on the same road.. And we barely saw any of it at all... Think about that.
Keep a lookout for day three.. It was my "hiking" day..
Glacier National Park:
** ALL photos on this blog are property of Christi Bushby, copyrighted and protected as such by law.