Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Many Glacier and Going-to-the-Sun Road

I got up this morning to go take sunrise pictures,  the storms had passed, and thought I might get some decent pictures (and maybe see another grizzley or two).    The campgrounds seemed a little cold but kind of mild.  I got to the point where the Grizzly was the day before and had a nice viewpoint of the lake and the mountains where the sun was going to rise.  Sunrise can be beautiful,  but sometimes it is also the coldest part of the day.  Today was one of those days,  it was 36 degrees (per the Tundra) and on the ridge there were 50-60 mile an hour winds.  It was cold.

I took my pictures,  and then went back the Hotel at Many Glacier to get some pics from the deck.  I noticed a number of people on laptops, ipads, etc… and thought maybe I could get access.  This place had the tightest security for wifi I had ever seen.  You could only get a code from the front desk,  and only if you had a key.   I got talking to one guy, and he let me try his, but each card was different, and allowed one user.  After a while I gave up and decided to go down to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road through the middle of Glacier National Park.  Sometime things work out,  if I would have had access,  I probably would have stayed there and worked on the computer all day….

Instead I got to see some beautiful scenery and go on a wonderful 3 ½ hour hike (much better than spending the day on the computer!)  Word of warning if you go,  They are very particular about the vehicles that end up on this road.  The vehicle cannot be over 21 feet long (including bumpers), 8 feet wide(including mirrors), and 10 feet high.  My truck and camper is just over 20 feet long,  so I barely made it.  I am 10’ 5” tall but they said there were rock overhangs that could wipe out my air conditioner (the rest was only about 9’6”), and it was my choice.  Of course I went for it!   This is what I have been waiting since 1986 to do (back then it was May and only got to go 10 of the 50 miles due to snow).  I also just drove 10 days to get here and a couple thousand miles round trip to do this!
At the visitor center the ranger mentioned that there were 3 waterfalls on this one long trail. After a few stops a various pull overs,  I decided to go for all 3 falls.  I had my bear spray, all my camera gear (including tripod) and took off for the series of waterfalls (kind of got use to hiking to the falls in BC,  so why change now!)  It was a gorgeous hike and took me about 3 ½ hours to finish.  The day got warmer, and it was just a really nice, and peaceful hike.   I did see a number of people along the way, but it was also nice to have long stretches with no one around.  The names of the 3 falls were:  Baring Falls,  St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls.  All 3 were different and definitely worth the time and miles for the hike. (back in US, no kilometers now…)

I continued driving the rest of the day and the part of the drive where I “might” have had problems (due to being slightly over 10’) ended up being construction zones with one way traffic,  so I was able to drive on the wrong side of the road away from the overhangs that could have cause trouble.  It ended up being a really nice day (especially after the weather the day before).   This road was the reason I really wanted to come back to this park.  More pics of the whole trip will be on the website soon.


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