On Thursday August 9, we booked a trip to Canada on one of the historic Glacier Red Busses
. Our bus was a 1936 White, one year older than 'Hollywood' the 1937 Yellow Bus we took at Yellowstone. Unlike the Yellowstone busses which were sold and left the park for 50 years, the red busses were not sold, but were out of service for some time while they were refurbished. The work was done free by Ford Motor Company which used it as a tax writeoff and a lot of good P.R.
The tour leaves the park and drives throught the little town of Babb, Montana, then turns toward Waterton Lake and the U.S. Canadian border. This part of the country is Blackfeet Reservation land, and on the way you pass the famous and much photographed Chief Mountain
. Our driver stopped so we could take pictures while he talked about it.
The mountain is sacred to the Blackfeet and to many other tribes in the area. Young men climb it on their vision quests and on this day it was partially covered in clouds. It's easy to understand why the mountain is held in such reverent esteem.
A few miles farther we reached the border and they ask that you not photograph the buildings or personnel at the crossing. Just inside Canada is a stone monument with the flags of both countries, and you can take pictures there
Our destination was the Prince of Wales Hotel
, a seven story structure built by the head of the Great Northern Railway during prohibition. He wanted to build a hotel on the U.S. side of the park but figured his upscale clientele would want to drink so he built it in Canada. The original plan was for a three story hotel, but the winds on the point are so high it blew down in the framing stage. When they rebuilt they tied the structure down with cable.
The hotel is old but very elegant, and while they serve lunch in the dining room, we opted for High Tea at 2:00. It is what they are famous for, and not having had High Tea since we left on the trip I was kind of going through withdrawals.
It was typical English fare, little sandwiches with the crust cut off the bread, but the scones were super and served with Saskatoonberry jam. The whole thing was really good and a nice change from the low tea we're used to.
After tea the driver took us down to Waterton and Cameron Falls
and then out to see a small herd of bison, which was kind of pathetic after Yellowstone, but was funny because a young bull was trying to work up the nerve to go head to head with a big old bull
. He pawed the ground a few times while the big guy just stared at him, then he laid down and rolled in the dust
as if that was all he ever wanted to do anyway. No one was fooled, but I think he felt better. The drive back was the drive out in reverse, and we got back in time to go to the evening campfire program which was another funny Ranger. Where does the Park Service find these guys?