Glacier National Park

Greetings!

Our campsite this week is in the driveway of son Jake’s house in Helena, Montana, where he lives with his girlfriend Page.  We got here yesterday after being in Glacier National Park (U.S.) for 8 nights — Because we had no internet, I kept a journal and I’m posting that now (with some editing )

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The road to Glacier from Canada.  Anyone out there old enough to remember when Exxon was Esso?  The price displayed is in liters.The road to Glacier from Canada. Anyone out there old enough to remember when Exxon was Esso in the U.S.? The price displayed is in liters.

GLACIER National Park – June 29 – July 7, 2014

Many Glacier Campground is the most popular campground in the park; in summer it can be filled up by 10:30 A.M, often earlier. It is beautiful, and many trailheads are located within walking distance. It is at the end of a rutty, potholed road — with unpaved sections —  with glorious views all the way. The Many Glacier Hotel, built in 1914 is nearby and there is also the Swiftcurrent Motel with a small camp store and laundromat and showers. There is no cell phone service, none of the pay phones work and no internet.

I'd just been thinking that while I missed my kids, I didn't miss how close they would always get to the edge of cliffs.  Then I looked for Terry and found him perched on the edge of a waterfall.

I’d just been thinking that while I missed my kids, I didn’t miss how close they would always get to the edge of cliffs. Then I looked for Terry and found him perched very close to the edge.

 

Our first day exploring Glacier we took out this rowboat and took turns rowing.  I think it was the firsts time I'd rowed a boat in 30 years (and I don't like the pix of me rowing!) but it felt real good -- until my hands started getting sore.  And then I remembered what son Matt's hands used to look like when he rowed crew.

Our first day exploring Glacier we took out this rowboat and took turns rowing. I think it was the first time I’d rowed a boat in 30 years  but it felt real good — until my hands started getting sore. And then I remembered what son Matt’s hands used to look like when he rowed crew.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We traveled from Kootenay National Park in Canada to St. Mary’s Campground in Glacier National Park (U.S.) on Sunday, June 29.

St. Mary’s was only meant to be a short stop on Sunday so we could race over to Many Glacier Campsite early Monday and get a campsite. We set out with just Lulubelle.

We got to Many Glacier, found a site and returned for the trailer, Terry muttering all the while that if the National Park Service was given the money that it costs to fund two hours of war in Iraq, they could pave the road.

Anyway, we’re here, and Jake and Page will be here tomorrow.

Terry waking up and getting ready to make coffee

Terry waking up and getting ready to make coffee

. . . . .

July 2, 2014

The logistics of my life often seem fascinating to me, but upon reflection I realize that they won’t fascinate everyone.  So without elaborating I will just say that after our first day in Many Glacier Campground we managed to get two sites directly on the river — one for us and the other for Jake and Page.

Jake fishing by our campsite 

Above is Jake fishing by our campsiteIMG_3937

Someone asked me once what we do when we camp, and it was hard to answer because much of the time is spent just being. In Yoho we literally watched the snow melt. We didn’t realize at first that the huge mass across the Kicking Horse River from our campsite was actually dirty snow several feet thick — and not rock. And then Terry saw that the waterfall way above was going underneath the snow mass and feeding into the river. We hadn’t understood at first why the waterfall seemed to just end.  Here in Glacier it’s the same — we watch the river, the clouds and the melting snow.

We were just pulling into our campsite when we saw this elk in the campsite across the road.

We were pulling into our campsite when we saw this elk in the campsite across the road.  Correction July 12:  An alert reader just pointed out that this is a deer — I’ve never seen antlers like that on a deer.

This hike to Apikuni Falls was about a 500 foot elevation gain -- not much for the young ones, but challenging for us.  Terry's back did not appreciate it, but he thought (and I agree) that this particular waterfall was the most beautiful we've seen all summer

This hike to Apikuni Falls was about a 500 foot elevation gain — not much for the young ones, but challenging for us. Terry’s back did not appreciate it, but he thought (and I agree) that this particular waterfall was the most beautiful we’ve seen all summer

When we got to the trailhead for Apikuni Falls, we were greeted by Dave From Florida who showed us pictures of bears that he'd just seen in the area a few minutes before.  He was waiting for people to come so he wouldn't be hiking alone.  The rangers tell people to make noise, so much to Terry's disappointment (he really wants to run into a bear) I sang all  the way to the falls.

When we got to the trailhead for Apikuni Falls, we were greeted by Dave From Florida who showed us pictures of bears that he’d just seen in the area a few minutes before. He was waiting for people to come so he wouldn’t be hiking alone. The rangers tell people to make noise, so much to Terry’s disappointment (he really wants to run into a bear) I sang all the way to the falls.

This was a moderately scary section of the trail to Apikuni Falls

This was a moderately scary section of the trail to Apikuni Falls

Walkig down from Apikuni Falls

Walkig down from Apikuni Falls

 

July 4. Independence Day

Is just like any other day – there are no fireworks allowed.  In Canadian National Parks it is illegal on long holiday weekends to consume alcohol or to possess it.  Not so in the U.S.

July 5, 2014

Bears are sighted everywhere – It is the rangers’ goal to make us visitors “Bear Aware.” It is working I think – The stores are out of Bear Spray. We have seen two from the side of the road but there was no time to take pix.  The first time a ranger came along and chased the bear away.  We were disappointed, but it is better for the bears.

Bear Grass is everywhere in the park right now

“Bear Grass” is everywhere in the park right now

Last night Terry was face to face with a bighorn sheep in the parking lot of the Many Glacier Hotel.

Most of the animals we saw were in "civilized" sections of the park.  This Bighorn Sheep was in the hotel driveway.

Most of the animals we saw were in “civilized” sections of the park. This Bighorn Sheep was in the hotel driveway.

 

Dinner at the Many Glacier Hotel

Dinner at the Many Glacier Hotel

Sunset from the deck of the Many Glacier Hotel

Sunset from the deck of the Many Glacier Hotel

Life is not all completely mellow. Terry’s back has been bothering him since just before we left Prattsburgh, and yesterday it took a turn for the worse. It is worrisome – We are 2000 miles from home and while the bed in the trailer is comfortable and we could conceivably just stay put for awhile, eventually we have to return.Nala and Terry Nala and RuthAbove is a picture of Terry walking our granddog Nala — His back was sore and he thought walking Nala would be good for it.  Enjoy this picture because you may never see one like it again.  Terry long ago told me that I had a choice — him or a dog.IMG_3957

 

July 6, 2014,

Jake and Page pulled out this morning, but we’ll be joining them in Helena tomorrow.

Terry’s back felt better today, so we hiked along a path that took us to a spot where we could see the Grinnell Glacier. Even though it was a pretty easy hike (as in flat) we didn’t meet many people.Grinell Glacier Ruth REally Grinell Glacier 1914? forget-me-nots_swallowtail_Lake-Josephine_and_Grinnell_GlacierThe first picture is one that I took of the Grinnell Glacier.  The second was taken over a hundred years ago in what seems like roughly the same area.  And the butterfly picture with Grinnell Glacier in the background was taken by Terry.  He worked for a long time to get that picture.  The butterfly was not particularly cooperative.

A blog about Glacier is not complete without mentioning the melting glaciers.  In the late 1800’s there were 150, now there are 25.  They started to melt before the pollution of the planet got so intense, but the RATE of melting has drastically  increased since the late 1900’s.  There is great debate of course as to whether the melting is directly tied to our abuse of the planet — Respected scientists (as in they are not crackpots) believe the evidence is not conclusive  — but what is known is the effects the melting will have — has already had — on animals and plants.

IMG_3966

Terry’s sister Barbara curated an exhibit at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wa. this year called “Vanishing Ice.”  It takes an artistic view of climate change around the world. It is presently in El Paso Texas and will be traveling to Calgary and then to the Toronto area.  If you have a chance, go see it and you will learn much more about global warming than I could share here.

http://www.vanishing-ice.org/

Click on “explore” and go to “tour schedule” to find out where it is and where it’s going.

 

Thanks to all of you for following along and I do appreciate those comments.  I can’t always respond, but I do read every single one.

With love,

Ruth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Glacier National Park

  1. Alton and I are enjoying your beautiful journey with your pictures and descriptions of your adventures! All is well here in Prattsburgh. We look forward to your next blog. Have fun, happy adventures and stay well.

  2. Ruthe — I look forward to your blogs, as do Nancy, Rita and Kayanne. We had dinner last night and talked about it. Hope Terry’s back holds out and your mother gets better.

  3. What an amazing trip you 2 are on. So great to hear that you are having such a wonderful time.

    I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Whatever you decide to do, I am sure it will be with regrets.
    Love ya and think of you Lydia

  4. I’ve been enjoying your narrative and the great pictures that go along with it. I am constantly drifting back into our Alaska trip last year as I read about and view your trek.

    Just looking at the Grinnell Glacier 100 years ago and now, one might think there really isn’t any climate change problem that we’re facing. I think looking at pictures of the glaciers 20 years ago and now is much more alarming. We saw much of this in Alaska. Every day is a gift!!!

    I hope your mom is able to leave the hospital asap. We’re thinking of all of you, we love you, and we’ll see you soon.

    David

  5. Beautiful pictures and it looks like you are having great weather. Re Esso: my father worked for the advertising firm in the 50s and 60s that had the Esso account. It was a big deal in our house!

    Sorry to hear about your mom. Tell her and Sheryl that I am thinking of them.

    Corinne

  6. Thanks Corinne. We are having great weather, but we truly did pay our dues. The whole time we were in Canada it was rainy and cold, with brief appearances of the sun and then five minutes later it would rain. I had to buy more blankets when we got to Banff. However soon we’ll probably start complaining about the heat. Montana is warm but so far it’s been cooling down at night. Did your Dad work directly on the Esso account?

    • He worked for McCann-Erickson on Madison Ave. as a printing coordinator. He worked with the artists (they did “analog” artwork in those days) and the printers and arranged for the ad work. Esso was their bread and butter.

  7. Love it all! Was eagerly awaiting your post and enjoyed it very much. Your granddog looks very well adjusted and so comfy at your feet. It would be great if you could label all the flowers with their names.

    I’ve been told that I have a dangerously osteoporotic back/spine, and am searching out strengthening exercises. Hope Terry’s continues to feel better.

    Love to you all.

    • Caroline when I get back we should brainstorm together about your back/spine. I’ll see if Terry can identify more of the flowers and I’ll update and let you know.

  8. Ben said, “It’s not fair that WE don’t get to go there!” Jem said, “That’s a REALLY nice place!” when he saw the photo of Apikuni Falls. I concur. 🙂 Now Jem wants to see all the photos again…

    • Chinle, this time I really didn’t know — I’ve seen a lot of deer but never one with antlers like that — they were beautiful — much more beautiful than the picture shows. Thanks for the correction.

  9. Hi Ruth–

    I have been following your adventure with much interest. I am curious to know how the trailer and its various systems are holding up.

    We are where you were a couple of months ago pouring over maps and trying to plan the route home.

    Stay safe and drive carefully,

    Harris & Ellen Tobias

    • Hi Harris, So far so good. The hot water heater, the furnace, the water pump, electric jack, have been used a lot and are fine. The maxi fan makes an annoying noise on some settings but it does the job. The stove is fine and the tanks are all holding. We’re not sure about the monitor that tells us the amounts in the tanks — that seems to be not quite accurate, but generally correct. Solar worked so-so when we were in clouds and shade and rain, but ever since we’ve had sun, we have more electricity than we can use. Inverter (small one) does the job — we can use a small vacuum, and charge things — We have only had hookups once so haven’t used (or needed) air conditioning. Anything else?

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