Posts Tagged With: glacial streams


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Here we are at creek level, surrounded by beauty. I wanted to see the Meany Glacier because grizzly and moose sightings are common there. It is an eight-hour trip with stops for pictures.  Jim was reluctant to drive it.  We stopped for a brochure about guided tours. And while we talk to the desk person, she doesn’t say, the last bus up is at 9:00. We take it back to the car to study the various trips and times. We were 9 miles from the transit station. We missed the last bus by 15 minutes. My advice, plan ahead. The bus is the best way to go. They provide a box lunch and restroom stops for $55 a person. Kids are less.

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Glacial streams are many. The green water is from glacial “dust”,  just ground up rock.

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It sculpts beautiful bowls as it rushes and swirls by rock impediments. I’d love to soak in it on a hot summer day.

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Our first major stop was the Cedar Loop Trail, an easy one mile walk, over creeks and ravines on board walks to minimize damage to tree roots and for access. These three trunks reminded me of the hotel supports from yesterday.

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An idea of how big the trunks get.

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A lightning strike has broken off a high branch that is as big in circumference as a lodge pole pine.

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Though this is mainly a cedar forest, the complimentary trees that grow with it are also huge. This is a hemlock, the rough, deep bark is particularly attractive. Black cottonwood grows here as well,  with even denser, deeper bark.

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In this heavily shaded old growth forest, the rocks beside this stream grow moss and lichens. In one spot, huge boulders as big as a house were completely covered with moss.

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We met some people who were having their pictures taken in front of this upturned tree root. They offered to take ours with our cameras, so we posed.

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We begin to climb and we get our first glimpse of Heavenly Peak. It has a small glacier.

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As we climb, the road narrows and we have to admire the work it took to build it in the early 1900’s.

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And, we admire the tenacity of the trees that grow in any little crevice of sheer rock faces.

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An unusual sight where one river flows on the left and another flows on the right of this huge dome.

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Looking into the sun, this is a lousy picture, but it shows the U shape at the top where the glacier moved through and gouged this valley.

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A view of that same valley from the side as we make our way around it headed for Logon Pass.DSC00639 (Copy)

The roads are narrow and harrowing if you don’t like driving on this type of terrain, but the views are spectacular.

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The top of the pass is now visible. The mountain is cloud covered,  and resembles a spouting volcano.DSC00668 (Copy)

We make it to the top, get out at the visitors center, and find out they have restrooms, but nothing to eat. Luckily we have emergency rations, a bag of peanuts and raisins in the Bronco. A pretty lite lunch, but it works. This is the point of the Continental Divide, where waters on the left of this peak flow to the Atlantic and waters to the right flow to the Pacific.DSC00673 (Copy)

People like to hike up to the glacier. You can see them in the foreground. You might have to click on the picture and enlarge it.

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Glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate and we wonder how long these small glaciers will last.DSC00682 (Copy)

Tall poles mark the walking paths to guide the snow blowers or snow plows. The snow pack  here measures 80 feet deep at times.DSC00684 (Copy)

Water, water everywhere, still, and it is mid September. The pass will be closed to tourists in a couple of weeks. If you have the window open, your camera could get sprayed.

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Another roadside water fall. And the uneven peaks in the distance remind us that the Rockies are a young mountain compared to the Appalachians with their rounded tops.

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Here we see the beginnings of Medicine Woman Falls.

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It falls a distance of 492 feet and is routed under to hairpin roadways before it reaches a stream. In the spring it is a major gusher.

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Going down the 6,642 feet is exciting, and beautiful.

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A last look.  It is easy to see why the Native Americans could assign spiritual qualities to such beauty and majesty.


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As you leave Browning traveling West, the Blackfeet Reservation has a Buffalo Preserve within  a mile or two of town.  After seeing so many stuffed buffalo heads it was reassuring to see a healthy herd of the beasts on the range.

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The Plains change dramatically as you enter  foothills of the Rocky Mountains, their peaks rising in front of you.

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The eagle eye perch of an old homestead kind of reminds us of what life used to be like in this wild country.DSC00398 (Copy)

Glacial rivers, so clear and clean, they reflect their surroundings.

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We camp at Camp Apgar, the west entrance to the park. The Going To The Sun Road Jim drove many years ago with his smallish motor home, is no longer accessible to Motor Homes. It takes you up over the Continental Divide and into Calgary, Canada if you choose to visit that part of the park. This is the beautiful and rustic MacDonald Lodge that sits next to MacDonald Lake. We set up camp, had lunch, and visited the lodge.

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I believe it was built in 1911, all of it from local materials.

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Each corner is held up by three giant cedar logs. The park has a trail where one can see some of these 500-year-old cedars.DSC00411 (Copy)

Lodge patrons enjoyed the pleasant heat from the giant fireplace.

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The Lodge has a totem but the plains tribes, the Native Americans that once lived and danced here, did not build totems.

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Directly behind the lodge is the boat ramp on Lake MacDonald. Blue, blue clean, clear water reflects the peaks.

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We bought tickets at $16.32 cents at the boat ramp. If it weren’t a National Park, that price would be double. Such a bargain. You can order your tickets and reserve ahead of time, as well. We moved away leaving a road-like water con trail on the still surface of the lake.  It made interesting abstracts on the water.DSC00437 (Copy)

A close-up of our wake.DSC00441 (Copy)

Cloud reflections on water ripples.DSC00448 (Copy)

Rivers erode in a V shape. The U shape tells you a glacier once sat here. There are only two glaciers left in the park.

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The boat carries us West toward the old  town of Apgar. Two horrible fires hit the park. The worst was in 2003 when the “new” fire wisdom was to let the fire burn out. It consumed 43,000 acres and nearly took the town of Apgar. DSC00462 (Copy)

At one time, all the burned trees would have been cut down. Now, scientists know the trees provide insect homes, draw birds and provide ground shade. Recovery is better and natural.

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Its kind of fun to concentrate on the ever-changing surface of reflective water, helped by an overcast sky.

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On the opposite side of the burn, high up on the peak, a crevice is eroding as water cascades down this slope during spring melt. The peak is also home to Dahl sheep and grizzleys.

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We head back to the dock.

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The light changes.

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The glacier cradle darkens.

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The burn regenerates.  Not all trees die in a burn. A few remain and help the recovery and some trees fall on their own.

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We return to the dock after a very pleasant hour on the lake the natives named, “Best Place For Dancing.”  The guide couldn’t say the Indian name, just the meaning.

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I DID see wildlife. This little ground squirrel popped up on our way back to the parking lot.

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