93. Glacier and Environs

It’s been a fun but hot (90’s even at elevation) four days here. I don’t know if this post will tell much of a story or just be a lot of pictures. If you’re lucky, it’ll be the latter.

Near the West Entrance to the Park, you begin to see and feel excitement for sights yet to come. Here just above the guard rail is the Middle Fork of the Flathead River with a kayaker (blue kayak) paddling down River. Fed by mountain streams and by Lake McDonald, the Flathead River Forks and feeds into the Hungry Horse Reservoir and into Lake Flathead, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, near Kalispell.

The land surrounding and including the East Entrance to the Park, some 60 miles away, is part of the Blackfoot Reservation and the Tribe has closed the East Entrance for the year as part of their COVID19 prevention program. Interestingly, the town of East Glacier which also appears to be part of the reservation and which ‘houses’ restaurants, souvenir shops, a gas station etc seems to be open for business.

With East Glacier closed, the Going to the Sun Road is only open to Logan’s Pass. I’ve yet not been able to drive the entire 30+ miles of this mountain road. In 2015, the snow hadn’t yet been fully cleared and road repaired so all traffic had to turn around just after Lake McDonald. — even before the Going to the Sun Road actually began. This year the McDonald Lodge is closed to all except those who are staying there. The Glacier Boat Company on Lake McDonald is also closed for the 2020 season.
Lake McDonald, a glacier carved, mountain runoff filled lake. There were a few swimmers/waders at the shoreline. Too far for me to see but guessing young people.
McDonald Lodge and restaurant now closed to the ordinary tourist who just wants to buy lunch.

Cheating a bit, here are some Lodge images taken when I had lunch there in 2015

From the Lodge patio looking down to the dock where an idled Glacier Boat Company vessel is moored.
If you still want to eat or look around the Lodge but don’t want a Lodge hotel room, you can rent one of the many cabins, all fully staffed, linens changed etc. by concessionaire Xanterra, and then as the2ir guest you can roam at will. Actually, this entire part of the Park, (Lodge and log cabins) reminds me of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Moving past Lk McDonald and at the very beginning of The Going to the Sun Road, the road winds past a large mountain stream with rapids and falls.
Panoramic view at the same location
And the rapids and waterfall in action
Wonder where all this water comes from?
It comes running down the mountain in many many places from the snow melt. It’s the end of July, 94 degrees and there is still tons of snow all over. Here I’m nearing the Continental Divide
Lot more fonts of water 💧 to run into the river below
Coming to Logan’s Pass where I have to turn around. I will confess the road is narrow and stone walls pretty much only exist at turnouts. Otherwise it’s a long way down. No pictures this time while driving. Too busy massaging my white knuckles.
A shot of the road below. I got as close as about 3’ from the wall and then held my arm out to get this pic. I asked a motorcyclist behind me to hold my belt. Course then he had to stand on the low stone wall. Think he drank some bad water from the gene pool. I don’t like heights anymore. Kind of disappointing that the scaling doesn’t really show. In reality, that road below looks much further down.

I also took a short drive to Kalispell on Flathead Lake

And while in Kalispell, I just had to find the headquarters of Last Resort LLC, my corporation that owns both my boat and my RV.
And check that my RV insurance agent was a real going concern. A downtown corner location, no less!

Also nearby is the town of Whitefish which appears to be an upscale western town. Many more condos on the outskirts than the local business opportunities would seem to support. Guessing they are Air B&Bs, summer residences for mountain, rafter and fly fishing lovers and winter places for cross and downhill skiers. The town definitely imposes architectural standards with everything having a very western look. Downtown area looks like a great place to walk and browse. I didn’t.

Downtown is anchored by the train station which is an Amtrak stop and a switching yard for BSNF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) railway. All train stations should look this nice.
Apparently BNSF operated buses between Kalispell and Whitefish and have this old bus on display
One of downtown’s streets that terminates at the train depot
Even the suburban Walgreens adheres to the architectural standards.
Some businesses were obviously grandfathered in or, perhaps, are the inspiration for the newbies
Beautiful ‘46 Ford Woody
Sadly I’m old enuf to remember gas prices in this range. Now there are only 6 states in the country with State Gas Taxes below $0.20 per gallon and the highest state tax is $0.606 per gallon. My oldest nephew and I used to have a snow plowing route probably close to 50 years ago and plowed with Bronco just like this
Interesting business. Probably doesn’t need to hire collectors to go after deadbeats.

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2 thoughts on “93. Glacier and Environs”

  1. Wow Al,
    This is an amazing post! I live the video add on etc… so interesting and good! I really enjoy these. Thank you!


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