We continued our way north to the St. Mary entrance of Glacier National Park, where the sight of a desolate parking lot awaited us. Empty spots soon to be filled with tour buses, shuttles, vans, trucks, cars, people, screaming children, you name it, lay vacant in an eery silence. A lone car pulled up with Utah plates, as we exchanged a warm smile and continued on our way. I leashed the dog up and headed into the park by foot, thinking we wouldn't be able to drive too far in, but much to my surprise, the road continue onward for a ways. After capturing the photograph below, we turned around and headed back towards the parking lot to continue our journey by wheels.
One of the many lakes in Glacier National Park, St. Mary Lake ranks as the second largest in the park. Her brother Lake Macdonald (the largest), resides to the west. Although it was early April, there was still a very wintery feel to my surroundings. A frozen St. Mary Lake lay to my left, the majestic snow capped Rocky Mountain range appeared before me, and to my right Flattop Mountain, which resembled the hairstyle of Chet, from the 80's movie Weird Science. But in all seriousness, I was blown away by what little I could see of Glacier National Park. I can only imagine the interior of the park holding a treasure trove of landscape brilliancy. One day I'll get here to see all of her splendid beauty!
Although it was early April, there was still a very wintery feel to my surroundings. A frozen St. Mary Lake lay to my left, the majestic snow capped Rocky Mountain range appeared before me, and to my right Flattop Mountain, which resembled the hairstyle of Chet, from the 80's movie Weird Science. But in all seriousness, I was blown away by what little I could see of Glacier National Park.
Going to the Sun Road is probably the highlight of Glacier National Park, in regards to vehicular modes of transportation. Beginning at St. Mary and ending in West Glacier, it traverses 50 miles of mountainous highway, as it eventually crosses the continental divide. From what I've been told, it's a sight like none other. Last year, Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park didn’t open till July, and by the looks of it, it’s on a track for a similar opening date for 2023. Although the gate was closed on the St. Mary side, you can still venture the road by snowshoe, so I did what any other normal person would do when faced with four foot snow drifts, I made my way in. About a 1/2 mile into my trek, I found a rock to sit on which overlooked the interior of the park. The wind picked up as the trees began to sway. Not another living soul around, although the thought of a bear approaching crossed my mind, more on that later. I closed my eyes and drifted away, to that special place of peace and solace.
The night prior I slept at a rest area just outside of East Glacier park, and my plan was to return there after a day of exploration. Lucky for me though, the St. Mary campground is open 12 months out of the year. With the winds continuing to pick up, and the sun beginning to drop, I decided the dog and I would spend the rest of our day/evening inside of Glacier National Park. Surprise, surprise, we were the lone souls at the campground, besides a young couple who so valiantly tried to put their tent up in the strong wind gusts, but eventually succumbed to the conditions and left. As the sun was setting, I wanted to take the dog out just one last time while there was still some daylight left. An ominous grey filled the atmosphere, and as we walked around the campground I couldn't help but sense that we were being watched. Bear maybe, nerves more likely, but it was of those moments when you think to yourself, "oh shit, I've tuned from predator to prey."
The following morning we were greeted to a beauty of a sunrise, as blue skies prevailed with wispy white clouds overhead. The moon ever so slowly, dipped behind the mountains. Had the winds still not been so vicious, I more than likely would've explored the area a little more, but the short 48 adventure I had just endured, provided me internally with everything I needed and more.
Part one of my recent visit to East Glacier Park entitled, "Two Medicine Glacier National Park" can be accessed by clicking: HERE
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