Sunday, August 16, 2015


Spruce Park RV Park along the Flathead River, Montana
The drive down hwy 93 from Canada to Kalispell, Montana was scenic and easy.  Almost all of the scenery was of farm fields with the mountains in the background.  When we got to the border we stopped at the duty free shop to divest ourselves of the remaining Loonies and Toonies (Canadian dollars).  We got some maple syrup for the exact amount we had left in our pockets.  This time coming through US Customs, we had to turn in our one lemon and all of our tomatoes before proceeding south.  We had an RV space reserved in the Spruce Park RV Park which had a fabulous location but was plagued with hornets and yellow jackets.  One of our neighbors went out and purchased a couple of traps and within a day or two had at least a thousand of the little nuisances dead in their trap.  
West Side of Logan Pass
We spent one of our days at the Whitefish Art Festival, which was a non starter...... mostly photographs and rustic wood carving.  And we spent a morning down in Bigfork, a charming little village on Flathead Lake.  But our real focus was on making the trip across the Going To The Sun road in Glacier National Park.  When we first arrived at Spruce Park, we were told that the road on the eastern side of Logan Pass was not open due to wildfires, but after a couple of days, the road did open for limited hours and we headed out early in the morning before they changed their minds.  We had some beautiful shadows on the mountains as we climbed the steep and windy pass.  
Allan, Elsie, and Murray at a pullout, still on the West Side of Logan Pass
On the western side of Logan Pass we were able to pull over at view points and take photos.  We had already been warned when we entered the national park that we would not be able to do that on the eastern side.
The Garden Wall, west of Logan Pass
We must have been in the right season for the spectacular views of flowers all along the way, especially on a cliff called the Garden Wall.
Western Side of Logan Pass
As the sun rose higher in the sky, we were treated to some emerald green shoulders of the mountains in the distance.  Closer to us were blue flowers lining the road.
On the top of Logan Pass near the Visitor Center
At the top of Logan Pass there was a visitor center with restrooms and trails heading off to some of the peaks.  We were not able to take any of the trails because the national parks do not allow dogs on the trails.  But we had a good break and ate our P & J sandwiches before heading down the eastern side of the mountain.
Ptarmigan in summer plumage (in winter they are white)
We were able to pull over at a viewpoint not far from the top of Logan Pass and ran into a bird usually seen in the arctic but because of the elevation of Logan Pass, they are frequently seen in this area.
Glacier National Park wildfire damage
It wasn't long before we started seeing evidence of the wildfires which have been out of control for weeks.  In some areas the smoke was still rising and just a few days later, the fire started up again and the roads were again closed.  We were lucky to have had this window of time after driving so far to see the park.   The best part of the park is near the summit, the remainder of the park is similar to any park with trees and creeks and lakes.  
Blackfeet Reservation, south of St Marys
Rather than retrace our steps back over the same road, we chose to travel around the southern perimeter of the park.  This is a beautiful area of prairie with wildflowers blooming everywhere.  We stopped in East Glacier for lunch and then continued around the bottom of the park and then turned north to get back to our rv in Kalispell.  

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