Wednesday, September 8, 2010 Cloudy and 43 in the morning; partly sunny and 55 in the afternoon
On the spur of the moment we decided to make the Two Medicine area of Glacier our first stop, and it was the highlight of our day. Just inside the entrance was a short trail through dense woods to a large, noisy waterfall called Running Eagle Falls. What made it unique was that it tumbled directly out of an enormous rock and spilled down into a small creek bed. Its source was never visible. Magic!
Next we drove to Two Medicine Lake. We could have stayed there all day. The surface of the lake was smooth, and the water was clear and calm, like the proverbial glass. The mountains and the trees lining its shores reflected perfectly into the water, and for awhile we were the only ones there. The silence was wonderful, so serene. "Medicine" for the soul.
From there we traveled on to St. Mary Visitor Center and arrived just in time to see adult osprey feeding their very large, very noisy, very demanding fledglings. The male had snagged a fish in his talons and delivered it to his brood. That quieted them for as long as it took for them to devour it. From their size, they should be feeding themselves soon.
As we drove up the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the main road transiting the park, we noticed that green, red, beige, and orange color the mountains in this park. Some mountains are rounded, some pointed, and some saw-toothed. Confectioner's sugar is sprinkled on some, and on others eroded areas make them look like bundt cakes with icing dribbling downs its sides.
Not surprisingly Glacier National Park has glaciers! They are strewn everywhere you look. Most are small, but a few like Jackson Glacier are larger, covering great portions of the mountainside. Many are darker than expected because soil has been blown on them. There also are many waterfalls. Bird Woman Falls drops high from the side of a mountain, under the road and on into the valley below. Sundrift Gorge's falls is smaller, and it tumbles over rocks through a narrow, wooded, water-carved gorge. Very picturesque. Water even falls right from the rocks. On our drive we passed Weeping Wall which does in fact weep. In the spring it must rain down on the vehicles passing by.
Lastly, we returned to Logan Pass and hiked to Hidden Lake. It was only a 3 mile round trip, but it was challenging because of all of the wooden steps on the first half of the hike. Once the trail went to dirt, it was easier to negotiate. The trail wound up and around the side of a mountain and finally ended at an overlook. The lake was beautiful in its own right, but the views of the mountains soaring over it and the lush valleys below it were spectacular.
When we drove into the park in the morning, the clouds were so thick and low that we were sure it would rain soon. Also, fog obscured our views of the mountains. So when the sun appeared in the afternoon, we really appreciated how it revealed everything, the mountains, the glaciers, and water, in all of their beauty.
Rain is predicted for tomorrow. We plan to drive to go into the park from the west side and visit the areas we missed today. Then it'll be on to Spokane, WA. We have friends who have been on the road for six weeks, and we will now be following the trail they have blazed for us.
They are seeing everything everywhere they go. We can only hope to match their stamina.
TODAY'S ROUTE: MT 49 to MT 89 to St. Mary. Then the park road from St. Mary about 2/3 of the way through the park. Finally, MT 89 to Browning.