Glacier National Park 2012

Day 1 Saturday, September 1, 2012 road trip! 10 hours from Ogden Utah to St. Mary’s in Montana where we checked in to the beautiful Pinnacle Cottages. Great views of Lake St. Mary and the peak of GNP. Went to dinner at Johnson’s café, very hometown with family style service and “stick-to-your-ribs” food.Roast beef, baked potatoes and lousy iced tea.

Served with a smile though!

Day 2 Sunday, September 2, 2012 East Glacier: We drove over to Many Glacier Lodge to get on the Red Bus Tour of GNP. We had a very friendly and knowledgeable guide named Ray. He had many stories to tell…most of them BS I think. But lots of info about GNP places to see and cautions about bear and other wildlife. What a place of beauty, the valleys and peaks are truly majestic. This is one of God’s wonders! We got a great “orientation” of the park, met some nice folks and enjoyed the drive over Going To The Sun road over to lake McDonald where we had a great lunch at Lake McDonald Lodge. After, we had a great dinner at the Cattle Baron Supper Club!Steaks were Montana-Sized as big as the plate. Guy and I had several really good margaritas :)Good Night!

Day 3 Monday September 3, 2012 East Glacier: Our first day of hiking up the Swiftcurrent Valley Trail Head. We hiked 5.5 miles getting our first views from off the roads of this beautiful place. We really didn’t expect to see any wildlife but we ran across a mother moose in the middle of FishCap lake eating off the bottom of the lake. We hiked a bit further and had a surprise encounter up close with a young deer. He bounced away about 20 feet then continued eating and looking at us so he must not have been as startled as we were! During the hike we enjoyed the amazing lakes and waterfalls. We stopped and ate lunch at the Redrock Falls. On our hike back we stopped back at Fishcap lake in hopes of seeing mama moose again. She was long gone, but just as we were getting ready to leave, our friend Allison said “boy if I were a deer I’d love this lake to play at. At that moment a young Doe and her two little fawn came flying out of the woods playing, running and giving each other a playful hard time! We must’ve watched them have fun for over 15 minutes…we left while they were still goofing around. We finished our hike, got in the car and headed back towards St. Marys and our hotel. Suddenly we spotted two grizzly bears up on the slope above the road eating! We stayed in the car while we took photos! What a great day of fantastic landscapes and unexpected wildlife!

Day 4 Tuesday September 4, 2012 On our way to West Glacier: We stopped along the Going To The Sun Road for a hike down to Baring Falls starting at Sunrift Forge. We took the trail along St. Marys Lake to St. Marys Falls. Not too much in the way of wildlife today, but the scenery and landscapes were the best yet! We took a group photo at St. Marys Lake and really enjoyed the stunning views all along the trail. As we were taking our photos two boats pulled up to the tiny dock nearby. This seemed odd but we thought nothing of it at the time but as we continued our hike up to the Falls and looked over at the lake rather than seeing a boat tied to the dock we saw the dock tied up to the boat! This was in preparation of shutting down the park for the winter season. Once we arrived at St. Marys Falls we were blessed with gorgeous scenery and a place to grab some lunch. After capturing some really breathtaking images there, we ate lunch and started back dipping our feet in the frigid waters along Baring Falls. Once back at the car we continued on over to the west side to our new digs at the Belton Chalet. This historic chalet was built in the early 1900’s by the railroads. Very rustic and elegant with a porch to sit on as you watch the trains roll by right in front of you! Very cool but very loud too! Once settled in we enjoyed a glass of wine on the porch and ate a delicious dinner at the Belton Chalet Restaurant. Back in our cottage we downloaded all the photos of the day, wrote this blurb, and hit the sack.

Day 5 Wednesday September 5, 2012, West Glacier: Got up early with Guy and drove from our hotel in West Glacier to Apgar Village for shooting some sunrise images at Lake McDonald. We parked at Apgar village, walked down to the boat ramp and along the shoreline capturing some beautiful images of the lake as the sun rose. After breakfast at the Lewis cottage at Belton Chalet, we loaded up in the big Martin Yukon SUV for a day of hiking. First stop was the Cedar Trails hike out to the Avalanche trial head, which was closed due to fire. We hiked the short .7 mile loop through a peaceful, shady grove of 200 year old cedars past an awesome slot canyon waterfall and back to the road. We then headed to the Johns Lake Loop trail. We stopped for lunch at Johns Lake and captured the lily pads on the lake with the mountains reflecting in the background. The rest of the hike was a combination of lush forests and majestic river falls along the McDonald Creek River which is the longest river in GNP. Just another amazing day in God's Country...

Days 6 and 7, Thursday September 6th and Friday September 7th - goofing off, vegging and traveling to Whitefish, Montana. No photos except with phone cameras. I'll download some of the more noteworthy ones soon.

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