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The “real” Glacier Park! The Driveby Tourist drove to Glacier National Park East! Since Going to the Sun road was closed in the center section, we took US Highway 2 around the southern end of the park. The east side of the park is much more scenic. Not that you shouldn’t see the west side as well as both are great. Unfortunately for us, the road was closed for 2 weeks for construction starting a couple of days before we arrived.
Above is a picture of Hidden Lake Overlook. The hiking round trip from Logan Pass parking to the Overlook is 2.8 miles. The first half is mostly uphill. Moderate effort but take your time. The Logan Pass elevation is 6600 feet so you will likely notice the thinner air (depending on where you live!). As you can see above, the hike is well worth it. On our day, fog and low clouds but still makes a great picture! Here is a link to more information about Hidden Lake Overlook.
Overcast, Foggy day in Glacier Park East
Our day was cool and very overcast with low clouds and fog. Of course, that made finding a parking place at Logan Pass much easier. During peak tourist season, the parking lot fills up quickly. Especially during the busy season, make sure you get here early. And see the sights along the road on your way back down if you are headed that way. This will be a challenge if you are starting from the east and driving the Going to the Sun road from east to west.
Just a half mile before arriving, we ran into fog and clouds like shown above. This picture is taken from the visitor center. A few minutes before this, you couldn’t even see this much. As you see above, the views still looked great. As I said before, the scenery is more beautiful on the east side. And be sure you reserve enough time for all the picturesque stops on this section of the road.
Beautiful Day Glacier Park East
I’m jumping back to the previous day. This is on Two Medicine road going about 10 miles into Glacier Park. Here’s the lake at the end of that road. And even had some limited “almost sunshine” (thin layer of overcast). At this stop, we saw (barely saw actually) mountain goats up on the mountain side. I used a 300 mm lens and still just saw small white dots. Amazing how they can wonder around on a mountain side that is so steep that humans need climbing gear. Unfortunately, the pictures aren’t good enough to post here.
Running Eagle Falls
Running Eagle Falls seems to come out of the rocks when the river is low. During spring run off, the river comes over the top as well. Very scenic falls! Running Eagle Falls’s namesake is a woman who was a Pikuni native american warrior, the only woman warrior in written history for this tribe. Prior to her 30th birthday, she died in a raid on the Flathead tribe. She acquired legendary status among her people. The waterfalls that bears her name became a very sacred place to her people due to her bravery and leadership abilities.
Big Horn Sheep in Glacier Park East
I decided to hike a trail up to a waterfall and found the mountain goats along the way. I heard them rounding the corner at the top of the picture. As I walked toward them, the herd came into full view. I believe there were eight of them. They just calmly looked at me and turned back to eating grass. I’m sure I could have walked up and touched the closest one. Cool to see the herd walking through the forrest. I watched them for about 5 minutes or so before they moved on. The owner of our motel told me we might run into them. He told us they were harmless, just to wait for them to pass. After that, the waterfall was anticlimatic. The overlook was too far away to get a quality picture, so I’m not including one here!
Going to the Sun road
Fog hangs around the mountains during our drive up the Going to the Sun road and on our way back as well. I took about 20 pictures of this mountain with fog (or clouds) around it and thought this one represented it well. There are lots of views like this. The area has many hiking trails as well. Some of the trails are miles long and others just go a short distance off the road.
Glacier Park East meadow
Great view of the meadow among the mountains in Glacier National Park East. I admit that I “overprocesed” this a bit in Lightroom as I wanted this particular look. The day wasn’t as bright as it looks. Still, Glacier Park East has incredible scenery. Others told us the east side was more scenic. We definitely agree! Great place to visit. Please click on this link to see more of the east side of the park.
Jackson Glacier is the only glacier in the park that is close to any road. Other glaciers mostly take a hike of 3 to 5 miles or more to see. Since 1850, the remaining glaciers, continue to decrease. At that time, there were about 150 glaciers in the area. When the park was established in 1910, there where over 100 glaciers. By 1996, the number reduced to thirty-five. And by 2015, only 26 glaciers meet the definition of active glaciers. Current estimates tell us all the glaciers will be gone by 2030. However, that estimate changes. About 5 to 8 years ago, scientists estimated they would be gone by 2020. In other words, go there while you can still see them!
Wild Goose Island
Wild Goose Island is a very small island. It is located in St. Mary’s Lake. Even though it is small, the island has history and folklore. The island and the mountains appear in the 1980 horor film, The Shining. Please click on this link for further information about the island. The mountains rise directly from the waters edge to about 4,000 feet (1220 meters) above the lake.
Native American folklore tells the store of a maiden from a tribe on one side of the lake swimming to the island. A warrior from the tribe on the other side sees her and is enchanted by her beauty. He also swims to the island where they meet. The talk for hours and are both smitten. By the end of the meeting, they are betrothed.
Of course, the betrothal creates an uproar among both tribes. The two plan to slip away and meet on the island. Both decide to meet in the early hours to escape and be together forever. The men of the tribes also go to the island to break up the betrothel. The Great Spirit takes pity on the two and turns them into geese who mate for life. When the tribesmen reach the island they only see the two geese who fly away and never return. Here is a link to the story.
By the way, here is a link to more pictures from Glacier National Park East. All pictures of the east side of Glacier park along the Going to the Sun Road.
Mountain Pine Motel
This post can’t be complete without reference to the charming motel where we stayed for two nights. The current owner is the third generation in his family to own the motel. His grandparents built it in the late 1940’s. It is beautifully maintained. Even though it still retains the look and decor of the 1940’s and 1950’s, it’s a great place to stay. Please click on this link to see more of this charming place. I posted on TripAdvisor that “If I could give this place a 6, I would!”. The people who own and work there are fantatstic as well! A great example of Glacier National Park lodging
Summary of Glacier Park East
So, our Glacier National Park East visit comes to an end. Actually, our entire Glacier Park visit ends. Great place to visit! Hope all my readers consider making the trip, especially if you are hikers. But even if you aren’t, the scenery is wonderful. I’d like to visit again, but there are so many great places to visit in the world! As I mentioned in the last post, there are over 700 miles of trails. Great Glacier National Park hiking! And here is a link to more information about the full road trip. And if you want to see information about all National Parks, (click here).
Classic Rock Recollection
“Three Angels” by Bob Dylan
Three angels up above the street
Each one playing a horn
Dressed in green robes with wings that stick out
They’ve been there since Christmas morn
The wildest cat from Montana passes by in a flash
Written by: Bob Dylan