Photos: Glacier National Park   10 comments

I’m in Portland for a few days of fun and may not get a chance to write a new post until next week, though I’ll see if I can find a few hours at some point this weekend to make something happen. For those who check into the blog regularly, though, I figured I could at least provide a couple pretty pictures.

I went to Glacier National Park in Montana for the first time in 2004, during a two week road trip that saw me visiting or traveling through no less than seven national parks. Most of those parks were in Utah, but I started out by kicking east over to Montana and introducing myself to Glacier.

I fell in love.

I imagine it’s easy to fall in love with Glacier, just because the beauty is so overwhelming and breathtaking, so hard to deny. It’s almost too easy. But fall in love I did, and Glacier continues to remind me of its existence to this day, arising in my thoughts now and again seemingly out of nowhere. I went back there a second time in 2004 with my roommate at the time, intent on showing her this ridiculous treasure, and have not returned since save for a couple train trips skirting along its southern border. One of these days I’m determined to go hiking again in Glacier.

For now, here are a few of my favorite pictures from those two trips.

Oldman Lake

Oldman Lake. I traipsed through some mighty deep snow to get here and at one point, in a fit of exhilaration, begin running through it as I grew near the lake. I'm lucky as hell I didn't sprain or break an ankle. I was miles from the trail head, alone, with some supplies but not a significant amount. Still, I'll never forget that run, or the ridiculous beauty of this lake emerging before me.


Two Medicine Trail

The Two Medicine Trail (off to the right in the picture) extending into the distance and heading toward Oldman Lake, which is at the end of a spur off this main trail. Hiking through this valley was breathtaking and there always was some wildlife off in the distance.


Green Rapids

Yes, this qualifies as one of the more mundane sights along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Just a river--the name of which I don't know off hand--tumbling along through the mountains. I love the green of the water in this picture.


Goose Island

That little speck out there is Goose Island, in the middle of the large expanse of Saint Mary Lake. Give me a tiny cabin and a wood stove out on that island and I might be happy forever--or at least until I starved to death or went crazy from seclusion. I could definitely put in a couple weeks though, no problem.


10 responses to “Photos: Glacier National Park

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  1. Lovely! Thanks for sharing. I’ve heard only spectacular reviews of Glacier and it is on my list of places to go before I leave the Northwest.

    • Oh, definitely go there if you can! It’s really spectacular and a joy to hike around in. Try some of the off-the-beaten-path trails, as the accessible ones along Going-to-the-Sun Road can get pretty crowded. I found Two Medicine, while still popular, to be much less crowded just by being a little bit out of the way.

      Alternately, just hike a little further in on the trails that are right off the main road. While the Avalanche Lake trail was very crowded at its beginning along the creek, just hiking the couple miles in to the actual lake found it much more secluded. And the lake is incredible.

  2. Thanks for the post! I can’t wait to check Glacier out! I am actually moving to Montana (Kalispell) in May! I will be working on the trails over there for a volunteer job with the MCC. I had another AmeriCorps job working on the trails of the Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon last summer. If I knew of this blog then, I would have liked to meet up with you and learn some homesteading and gardening things from you.

    • Glad you liked the post, Candice! I did two year of AmeriCorps, working as part of a field team doing environmental restoration work in Clark County (southern Washington state, north of Vancouver.) The team leader in my second year did MCC, leading a youth crew doing trail work. I think she was based out of Kalispell, as well, though I’m not 100% positive on that.

      AmeriCorps treated me well. It got me on a completely different path in life, which has led me to where I am now—which is a pretty great place. It would’ve been fun to meet you. I am in Portland at the moment and have a little bit of free time over the next couple days. If you’re in the area and would be interested in getting coffee or something, give me an email. My email’s on the contact page.

  3. Hi Joel,
    Nice photos, what an amazing place. It is really interesting seeing all of the different vegetation zones within such a short distance too.

    There’s no glaciers down under! However, some of the photos of mountain lakes and rocky outcrops are pretty similar to some of the wilderness areas in Tasmania. Tasmania is a very big island off the south of the continent here and I think about 1/3 of it is reserved as wilderness area. A good example is Cradle Mountain.

    Trails are the same here too, once you get off the beaten track you don’t see anyone. A couple of years back I hiked the Great South West Walk from Nelson to Portland (that’s Portland over here) and didn’t see anyone for about 5 days.

    I survived the week without LPG! It wasn’t too much of a hassle except for the occasional cloudy warm day which meant cold water all around. Oh yeah, we had a big cook up last night on the wood stove making tomato chutney which overheated the house and it got to about 11pm and all the windows were wide open even though it was pretty chilly outside. Fortunately there are fly screens on the windows because we get these huge Bogong moths (which are quite edible, I believe) flying around and they’d be a nuisance in the house around the lights.

    Keep well and have fun. Chris

    • Well, those pictures of Cradle Mountain do look quite spectacular. I don’t imagine it’ll ever happen, but that does look like a place I would love to visit. There definitely seems a similarity in the topography with Glacier and, while Tasmania may be glacier-free, Glacier National Park may be the same in 10 years or so if climate change keeps up as it has been.

      I’ve done quite a bit of hiking in my time, but they pretty much always are just day hikes. Even with that limitation in length of hiking, I’ve found that just getting a few miles from an access point will usually drop you down to the point that you rarely, if ever, see anyone. I have to say I’ve never understood why so many people seem to love sight seeing but aren’t willing to walk more than a half mile or mile. Even that distance I’ve had many people express amazement at the thought of walking, or disbelief at the very idea. And these generally are relatively fit people. I can’t say I get it—I really love to walk and hike, personally.

      Ahh, the cloudy warm day. We get a fair number of those in the summer here and that was always the bane of our hot water existence at the old farm. Too warm for the wood stove and the solar hot water didn’t get above luke warm or so. At that point, of course, you just learn to live without. It’s not exactly a disaster. My biggest pet peeve with that was always washing dishes that had some kind of grease or fat on them. Always a bit of a pain without warm or hot water and I can’t seem to get past my inner perfectionist when washing dishes.

      Your mention of moths reminds me of a brief and surprising encounter I had with a ten-lined June beetle last year. I’ll have to write up a little something on that for the blog at some point, though it wasn’t too involved a situation. The little bugger just took me by surprise.

      Good work on surviving without LPG and hopefully this week is a bit smoother. I enjoyed my escape into town. The weather turned out to be beautiful, got in much socializing and a great hike, and now it’s back to work.

      Take care.

  4. Wow! That’s some wonderful “mundane” scenery. Love the photos!

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