Mountaintop in fog


Next Door Neighbor

The trip from Great Falls to Glacier NP, St. Mary/East Glacier side, was quite an adventure. First, it was incredibly beautiful because there was a front coming over the mountains and so the play of light and shadows was awe-inspiring. Secondly, there were beautiful wildflowers everywhere - blue flax, an orange something, and yellow stuff as well. I'll be trying to identify them all later. (I need to get a life - maybe a new one as a botanist).

BUT...you cannot believe the road to Glacier NP - narrow, hairpin turns with steep elevation changes and no shoulder. We took Rt. 89 instead of the larger Rt. 2 which from a "view" and "vista" standpoint was awesome. I couldn't look though and Dixie had her paws over her eyes. Bob drove it like a professional - See the photo of the road. There was a fair amount of traffic, mostly pick-ups and RVs too. A few pull-outs. At one, this guy in a fifth wheel came up to us and said "so, what did you think of that?" We were commiserating about the loopy road but again, Bob did beautifully. I kept taking photos out the window because I didn't want to make him stop and i wasn't sure he could stop. Lots of use of the jake brake.

Glacier NP is everything it is billed to be. Incredible vistas, towering snow-covered mountains and pristine green/blue lakes. Unfortunately, the Road to the Sun is not open to the summit and beyond. Apparently, they will be trying to open it perhaps this weekend but more likely next week. The snow is thirty feet deep but they did manage to clear the road - however there was road damage and they are repairing it before opening it.

We are staying at a KOA in St. Mary on the east side of the Park. There is a nice visitor center with an Osprey nest on a large pole in the parking lot. They have a spotting scope set up so you can see the "babies".

We drove the fourteen miles of cleared roadway and stopped often to take photos - I think I took 98 pictures today alone. Because of the coming storm, the power of the mountains was even more evident. There were waterfalls everywhere falling hundreds of feet off patches of snow. Loads of wildflowers and I didn't even try to identify the birds. Dogs are not allowed on trails in the park, however, on the U.S. side. Apparently, in Canada, at Waterton National Park, they do allow pets. We could take Dixie on the paved roads to walk but not on the trails. The Glacier Trail Map had an entire large section just on what to do if you encounter a bear or mountain lion. Bob groaned when he was reading that the most important thing to do is to make a lot of noise, sing, talk, etc. so you don't surprise a bear or lion. I can do that.....

After spending three or more hours along the highway at the various stops, it began to rain as we were heading back to the campground. Just as we were heading down, Bob (the marine recon. guy) spotted what we thought was a wolf but what we think was a coyote after viewing the photos we managed to snap. The 300 mm camera lens is a godsend for wildlife and flower photography, but the 18-55mm lens is the cat's meow for the landscape photographs. Unfortunately, it is a pain to switch them constantly. Guess we'll have to get a second camera body.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention our nearest campsite neighbor - a prarie dog whose burrow is on our campsite. He is incredibly cute and makes a chirping noise. Of course, Dixie has had her nose into every burrow she sees and there are alot of them. I have visions of the coach sinking into the labyrinth of tunnels.

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