Monday, September 23, 2013

Glacier National Park - Day Three

Day three of our trip! After breakfast, we packed our lunches and packed our bags and headed out to Glacier together! I'm not sure what the original plan was for the day, but here's what we ended up doing...

We had about an hour of driving from our rental to the Park's east entrance. We stopped once to take some pictures of the view and ended up spending more than a few minutes at this overlook – mostly because of the great abundance and variety of wildflowers in the area. (Again I have attempted to identify them for you. I am not responsible for any errors! Ha.)

Do you wish you were here yet? (I should be getting paid for my shameless promotion of our National Parks, lol.)

Sticky Geranium

Mountain Dandelion


Nodding Wild Onion

Blanket Flower

Some kind of wild berry...



After going through the gate at the east entrance, we pulled into the St. Mary Visitor Center for a potty stop, and to pick up an extra map for Biker Dude. (He just HAD to have his own map! :) The visitor center had a great display about wildlife, which featured phones that each played a different animal's vocalizations. The kids couldn't get enough of it. Listening to the elk, wolf, __ and grizzly bear was quite fascinating for them. I listened to the bear too. It scared me! Don't want to hear that sound out in the woods!

Next we stopped for pictures at Wild Goose Island. This was a popular spot. Very busy. I read something about this being one of the most photographed features in the Park – something about the contrast between the tiny island and the gigantic mountains. I don't know... what do you think?

Can't. Stop. Posting. Photos.

We got going again, only to have to wait for a little while at some road construction.

Look closely – the workman is actually suspended in a big basket from the crane. He appeared to be doing some masonry work there, building a stone wall or something. Looks tricky.

Just down the road we stopped again at Sunrift Gorge. Another pretty spot!

Here's my sister-in-law (and the kids' future cousin – yay!). She looks like this a lot – she loves her camera as much as I do! :)

We started off down a trail towards some waterfall – I can't remember the name of it – but the trail was very overgrown and we decided to turn back. Here's a little critter we spotted rustling in the brush beside the trail.

And a random butterfly.

The trail followed along beside a small stream, and my mom said, “Wouldn't it be so neat to see a bear pop out of the brush on the other side of the stream?”

On the way back, most of the group hoofed it on up to the vehicles, but my brother, my mom and I were a little slower on the return. And guess what? A bear popped out of the brush on the other side of the stream. Yup, really.

I guess sometimes it pays to stop and smell photograph the roses, because we were the only ones who got to see this little guy. (And only because we had our cameras practically glued to our faces.) He was just a small black bear. Probably last year's cub – that's my guess anyway. He looked a little too big to be a new cub, and no momma bear ever showed her face.

We got back to where the rest of the family was waiting in the vehicles. “We saw a bear!” “What? No way.” :)


Another kind of wild berry...

A little farther down the road we came upon more road construction. (Oh joy.) There was a pull out for a trailhead right by where the flagman was standing, and it was close to lunchtime, so we parked the cars and had a picnic. After eating, we decided to head down the trail to St. Mary Falls.

We hiked for what felt like a pretty long time to this pregnant lady. It was an easy trail, though, and we I took it pretty slow with all the frequent stops I made to take more pictures.

Shrubby Cinquefoil

Unique seeds of an unknown plant.


Dainty White Flowers


Going down the trail.

Pinedrops (Interestingly, these are a root parasite of pine trees – look it up if you're interested.)

We reached St. Mary Falls. Beautiful!

There were a ton of people back there. It was a great spot to stop and sit for a while. It was a hot day, and the spray from the waterfall combined with the shade from the trees made it a great place to cool off.

We sat for a little while, then decided to continue on down the trail towards Virginia Falls. There were several other rather impressive falls along the trail, so we weren't quite sure if we had actually gotten to Virginia Falls. (Not like there are many road signs in the middle of the mountains.) 

 Twinberry Honeysuckle

After this stop, most of us decided to turn back and head for the cars. The kids and I were pretty tired. My dad and my brother and his wife kept on going. Apparently, Virginia Falls wasn't a whole lot farther, and it was quite a beautiful spot. I saw the pictures. Oh, well.

By the time we all got back from our hike it was late in the afternoon. We decided to drive up to Logan Pass before heading back to the house. The day before, when we had driven through there on our way across the Park, my hubby had spotted some Mountain Goats right by the road. I was driving and didn't see them and there was nowhere to stop and pull off. We were hoping to spot them again... and there they were!

Goats! This was only the second time I have seen Mountain Goats. The first time we were looking waaaay up on the mountain in the Clark's Fork Canyon (Wyoming) with binoculars. These were just a tad closer to us.

Some candid shots.

We bummed around there for a little while, taking pictures and enjoying the views.

Yellow Columbine

Then I spotted it - a baby goat. Too cute. Of course, he set off another flurry of picture-taking.

I love this shot – he's sniffing a flower (which appears to be Pacific Anemone).

Eventually we were able to drag ourselves away so that we could head back down the mountain and back to the house for supper. Time for bed! Day Four is coming up!

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