Bears and Pole Bridge.

Exploring in and around Glacier National Park, August 28, 2014

With all the bears that we saw on this trip, there was only one that we didn’t get a picture of.  One of the previous two nights, just before we turned onto Apgar Road from Going to the Sun Road, a black bear started to cross the road in front of us.  We were already slowing down for the turn to go to the campground and another car coming from the other direction also slowed after seeing the bear.  The bear wheeled around and headed back into the woods before we had a chance to even grab our cameras.

Headed to the Pole Bridge area of Glacier, on Camas Road, we saw four more black bears, a sow and 3 cubs, crossing the road in front of us.

Black bears, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Black bears, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Black bears, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

After the bears went into the grass and woods next to the road, we were able to to get a few closer photos of the mother from the car.

Black bear, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

The route to Pole Bridge goes outside the park as the inside the park road is closed, at least when we were there.  Glacier National Park requests that all bear and mountain lion sightings be reported to them as they want to track any possible interactions with humans and intervene if needed. We reported the bears at the entrance station as we left.

I had reported the first bear to a campground host, telling him that it had been on the Going to the Sun road about to cross over the road into our loop of the campground.  While we were talking he told me that the night before, about 11 o’clock, the mountain lion was spotted in ‘E” loop, walking down the campground road.  That was the opposite side of the campground from us, but still…! He also said that a mountain lion was seen several days before in the campground with several cubs.

Meadows, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Cradled between the Continental Divide and Whitefish Mountain Range and located a mile from the northwest entrance to Glacier National Park is the electricity-free community of Polebridge. Made up of a handful of houses, cabins, a hostel and small ranches along the North Fork Road, the hub of this area is the historic Polebridge Mercantile and its neighboring Northern Lights Saloon—both powered by generators.  (Glacier Country Regional Tourism Commission)

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Huckleberry bear claws and other assorted pastries – we got a couple of the bear claws for a morning snack. Open-mouthed smile

Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Northern Lights Saloon, Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Northern Lights Saloon, Pole Bridge, near Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Once back at the campground, we decided to stick around the campsite for the rest of the day.  Our site was nice, except for a short period in the afternoon when a little extra shading was needed.

Apgar Campground,  Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

After supper, we walked down to Apgar Village and  had some ice cream.

Apgar Campground to Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Mountain Lion warning, Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 28, 2014

Next: A hike to some falls.

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Hanging Garden Trail to Hidden Lake Overlook.

Exploring Glacier National Park, August 27, 2014.

When we took this trail with the kids back in the early 90s, it had been a lot earlier in the year and a good part of the trail was over snow fields remaining from winter.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

After seeing how difficult finding parking was the day before, we took the shuttle from Apgar.  When we got to Logan Pass, the parking lot was full again.

The trail begins on the west side of Logan Pass Visitor Center.  It has outstanding views, including alpine meadows and, often, wildlife.  The trail to Hidden Lake Overlook, the destination for most that hike it, is 3 miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of 540 feet.  The highest elevation reached is 7152 feet.

The trail is rated as easy.  However, that rating assumes good physical condition.  People out of shape or unused to the elevation may well have difficulty.  We saw a few people having difficulty.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

After the snows melt, the ground in this high alpine hanging valley – a valley carved out by a small tributary glacier that joins with a valley carved out by a larger glacier – is covered with colorful wildflowers, thus the name for the trail, Hanging Garden.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

We saw several hoary marmots along the hike.

Hoary Marmot, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

I spotted our first mountain goat on this trail at the top of a snow field remnant.

Mountain Goats, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

We saw more a little ways up the trail on cliffs on the opposite side of the hanging valley.

Mountain Goats, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

There were quite a few mountain goats.  As they moved down the rocks, more appeared.  Unfortunately, I left my camera in the wrong setting and most of the photos I took are badly over-exposed.  Shooting RAW format, though, lets me recover some of the detail that would be lost shooting JPG.

Mountain Goats, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Mountain Goat, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

We got to the Hidden Lake Overlook just in time for lunch – mine was trail mix (nuts, fruit, and chocolate), though I had granola bars and peanut butter crackers along as well.  The image below is a panorama created with my iPhone.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

A lot of other people were there when we were, eating their lunches or snacks and taking in the scenery.  The trail is one of the most popular in the park, but, for the most part, we didn’t have any issues with overcrowding.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Another mountain goat showed up along the trail not long after we started back towards the trail head.

Mountain Goat, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Below, part of the eastern stretch of Going to the Sun Road and, in the distance, St. Mary’s Lake.

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

At the visitor center, while I was waiting for Karen to get back from the restroom, I spotted a bighorn ram and ewe about 50 yards or so to the east.  By the time Karen got there, there had disappeared into the trees.

Bighorn ram, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

Bighorn ram and ewe, Hanging Gardens Trail to Hidden lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 27, 2014

On the way up in the morning, we had to transfer to a smaller bus at Avalanche Creek.  In the afternoon, we rode the same bus all the way to Apgar.

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15 Halloween Picks

Halloween is fast approaching. How about a selection of spooky Halloween products from Zazzle?

(Note: Sales from Zazzle and other internet income helps to fund this blog.)

holidays, internet income
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Going to the Sun… and back.

Exploring Glacier National Park and nearby – August 26, 2014

We planned to drive Going to the Sun Road, stopping along the way for pictures.

Going to the Sun Road runs along the south side of Lake McDonald.

Lake McDonald, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Lake McDonald, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Near the end of summer, the mountain streams are still flowing strong, but are nowhere near what they can be during the spring melt and runoff.

McDonald Creek, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

When we came to the “first” tunnel, I remembered that there was a tunnel that had viewing windows cut into the side.  It turned out that this was the only tunnel on Going to the Sun.

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

More images from the drive up the west side of Going to the Sun Road.

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

We were planning to stop at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  As we approached the entrance, though, Karen spotted a sign that said that the parking lot was full – and it was, with no spots opening up as we cruised through a couple of lanes.  Karen need to use the restroom, so I kept driving around, hoping to find a spot.

No such luck.

A couple of very popular trails, with branches to other trails, start at the parking lot.  We were interested in taking one or two of them and decided that, if we did, we would take one of the free park shuttles so that we wouldn’t have to worry about trying to find parking.

Not finding a parking spot, we headed on to the east, down the Going to the Sun road to the St. Mary’s side of the park.

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Soon after we crossed the pass, we ran into road construction – and it lasted almost all the way to the St. Mary’s area!

After going several miles on it, we decided we would drive around the outside of the park on the south and not go back through the construction.  Before leaving the park, though, we had a picnic lunch and took a short hike along the north side of St. Mary’s Lake.

St. Mary's Lake, Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 26, 2014

Our route outside the park took us above Two Medicine Valley and Lake into the town of East Glacier Park.

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In East Glacier Park, we stopped at Glacier Park Lodge

Glacier Park Lodge is located just outside the boundaries of Glacier National Park in the village of East Glacier Park, Montana, United States. The lodge was built in 1913 by the Glacier Park Company, a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway. It was the first of a series of hotels built in and near Glacier National Park by the Great Northern to house visitors brought to the park by the railroad. (Wikipedia)

(The following image is from Wikimedia)

Great_Northern_Wing_Glacier_Park_Lodge_MT1

Glacier Park Lodge was intended to be a signature building. The lodge is built around a three-story lobby measuring 200 feet (61 m) by 100 feet (30 m), lined with Douglas-fir columns 40 feet (12 m) tall and between 36 and 42 inches (91 to 106 cm) in diameter. Each column was brought in by rail from the Pacific Northwest because trees in Montana rarely grow so large. A total of 60 such trees were used, with Douglas-fir in the lobby and cedars for the exterior. The logs in the main hall are detailed with smaller logs at their tops to resemble the Ionic order. The lodge was loosely styled as a Swiss chalet akin to other lodges built by the Great Northern between 1913 and 1917. The original structure contained 61 guest rooms, the lobby and the dining room. The addition housed another 111 guests.

The huge timber for the hotel arrived at the site by rail in April 1912, specially cut before the sap had risen in the trees to ensure that the bark stayed attached.  (Wikipedia)

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The community of East Glacier Park and the Lodge are situated in the Blackfeet Reservation. Two metal sculptures  near the town welcome visitors to the Blackfeet Nation.

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2014-08-26 130 -1

Next up: Hidden Lake Trail

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North to Glacier.

Travel day to Glacier National Park; August 25, 2014

From Missoula, we headed north through the Flathead Indian Reservation and along the east side of Flathead Lake on our way to the Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park.

Missoula to Glacier National Park, August 25, 2014

The sky was clear and crisp, with a cool breeze when we stopped at an overlook on a hill south of the lake.

Flathead Lake, Montana, August 25, 2014

The GPS routing took us on the east side of the lake, away from the more heavily traveled route going to Kalispell on the west side.  The road traveled close to the lake most of the way, with a few opportunities for pictures.

Flathead Lake, Montana, August 25, 2014

Flathead Lake, Montana, August 25, 2014

Once we got set up in our campsite – the best one thus far in the trip! – we went to Apgar Village, a little commercial area inside the park near the campground.  We were familiar with the area, having camped at Apgar in the early 90s and in one of the rustic cabins in the summer of 2001.

Rustic Cabins, Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

The campground and village are on the western end of Lake McDonald, with often interesting and stunning views of the lake and the mountains across the water.

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

After supper, we walked back over to Apgar Village.  Along the way, we made an error and took a “trail” back that wasn’t the trail we intended to use.  It really didn’t have any signs to indicate that it was a trail , though there was enough traffic over it to keep plant growth down.  We only took it once.

Trail through wood to  Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

On one of our later walks to the village, we talked to a couple not too long after  they had an encounter with a mountain lion.  With their two small dogs, they had been walking toward us and, while they were a distance from us, I made a wise crack to Karen about “bear or mountain lion bait.”  As we were about to walk past them, some comment made all of us stop and start talking.  They told us that they had been on the other trail (the one in the picture above) and something made the man look behind them, where he saw a mountain lion following them.  He said that he had yelled at it and it drew back; then he threw a stick and it ran off.  I admitted to them that I had made a little joke about “lion bait,’ and they agreed!  They assumed that the mountain lion was following, hoping for a chance at the little critters with them.  After the cougar was chased off, they carried the dogs the rest of the way on the trail.  They also had informed park rangers of the encounter.

Mountain Lion Warning at Apgar Campground, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 25, 2014

Next up: Going to the Sun and back again.

campground, camping, critters, forest, lake, landscape, Montana, mountains, parks, photography, places, weather
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