Sunday, October 20, 2013

Glacier National Park, Day Five

Day 5 of our trip was our second to last day in the Park. And now's when it started to feel like it was all going way too fast...

On this day, we again entered the Park by the East Entrance – where we spotted these two whitetails.

The goal of the day was to drive the entirety of Going-to-the-Sun Road, so after we stopped to take some family photos by the park entrance sign...

...oh, and this one of a little pony-tailed girl...

...we were off! And then we stopped again because we saw some sheep.

Bighorn Sheep. A large bachelor group of rams. We spotted them easily while we were driving because they were running across a snow field. Chances are we would not have seen them if they had stayed up on the rocks. There was a large pullout right after we glimpsed them, so we parked the cars and watched them for a while. I took an embarrassing amount of pictures. Seriously. I'm not even going to tell you how many.

There are six sheep in this picture, but you can barely see the last one on the right. He blends into the rock wall so well!

There was a lot of running around and light head-butting going on. It looked like they were playing. Breeding season isn't for a few months yet, and this was a bachelor group (no ewes allowed!). We watched them for a long while as they went back and forth across the snow and eventually began making their way across a rock ledge. You can see that in these next pictures. (Totally amazing how they can just go along like that and not fall.

I mean... look at that balance! (I really cropped this photo in so you could see the sheep better. Sorry for the blurriness.)

And so we continued on the road...

I did my best to take some decent pictures out the open window of the car while we were moving. There are a good number of pullouts available along the way, but we didn't stop. The thing about it was... we were traveling in a group with two vehicles and it was hard to find a pullout that had space for both of us to park. There were so many people and cars up there... The line of traffic was pretty much constant and everyone wanted those precious parking spaces! Also, I had instructions from my doctor that there was to be no hiking around at the higher altitudes so we weren't looking for a place to park so we could hike either.

Snow bridges.

Going-to-the-Sun Road is neat. It is spectacularly scenic. It is also hair-raisingly tight in a lot of spots! People in the inside lane tend to hug the yellow line so they don't scrape their mirrors off on the rocks...
…and people in the outside lane tend to hug the yellow line so they don't, you know, go over the edge... when you meet someone coming the other direction, well, it felt too close for comfort to me! I was glad my hubby was driving this time. I drove it the first time we went across it (on Day #2) and that was enough for me! Letting someone else have the responsibility of the steering wheel was a relief. Phew! (He tells me it wasn't that bad. I don't know...)

When we got down off the mountain we began looking for a picnic area. The amount of people and traffic there was... oh, my. And more road construction, which didn't help either. We finally found a spot and had lunch. After lunch we walked down to the shore of Lake McDonald. The kids, once again, got their toes (well, and a little more than that) down in the water. We stayed there and played for a good while.

What form! Future punter at work there!

There were a lot of people doing exactly the same thing we were – playing in and enjoying the water. We were right beside a family with two small boys, the oldest looked to be about three years old. Somehow, he and Biker Dude got into a bit of an argument. It started out like this: “Hey... I'm bigger than you!” And it quickly escalated to: “My dad's bigger than you! See my dad?!?” 

(photo credit goes to my brother – thanks!)

And eventually: “My grandma's bigger than you!” But when it got to: “I can pick up a bigger rock than you!”, we put an end to it. It was, in a word, hysterical. We all just kinda sat there and watched it go down (and tried to stifle our laughter – but the grandma bit really pushed me over the edge). A three-year-old and a four-year-old arguing over which one of them was bigger. Someone should have gotten it on video.

Eventually, it was time to head back. We decided to go out the West Entrance of the Park and go back by the road that skirts along the bottom edge of the Park. It was a pretty drive. It followed the river most of the way. It was also a lot quicker than going back over Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Supper together and another relaxing and pleasant evening at the house... No one said anything, but it was definitely overshadowed by the knowledge that tomorrow would be our last day together for a while.

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