9/01/2014

August 30–31, 2014 Going to the Sun Road

Saturday, August 30th

We just did some odds and ends today and hung out until the afternoon when we made a short trip to Kalispell for parts.  While there, we also checked out the Elks Lodge where we plan to stay on Tuesday.

Back home, we enjoyed another great campfire.

Sunday, August 31st

This morning we decided to take a slow ride up to Logan’s Pass on the Going to the Sun Road and maybe even take the hike to Hidden Lake.  So we packed a lunch and off we went.

It was beautiful when we started on the road.  This is Lake McDonald:

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The McDonald River with its falls:

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Oh No!:

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One of the bridges across the river to more hiking trails:

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From the river valley, we started up the mountains – check out those clouds:

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Can you imagine what it took to build this road – Impressive:

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We got to Logan Pass and the parking lot was full.  I dropped Andy off at the bathroom and drove around, then he dropped me off and drove around – Yikees!  We then headed to Lunch Creek area where we had lunch – Smile.  This was our view of Logan’s Pass – it was fogged in, and rainy and very cold soooo we decided not to take the hike (another time when it is sunny.):

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After lunch, we made our way back slowly – and it rained most of the way down. The clouds just rolled down the mountains:

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But we do have videos of the road – Enjoy:

Road 1

Road 2

Road 3

Road 4

Road 5

Going to the Sun Road - Coming Back

We finished the evening dodging the rain – boy did it get cold – Brrrr!  The fall has definitely arrived in Glacier.

Enjoy today!

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8/30/2014

August 29, 2014 Lake McDonald Boat Tour

Today we booked a one hour cruise on Lake McDonald that left from the Lake McDonald Lodge.

Our boat was the DeSmet:

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In 1929, Captain Billy Swanson built the tour boat DeSmet for the Great Northern Railroad. She was constructed to carry passengers on Lake McDonald and this lake has remained her home ever since. The DeSmet was named after Father Pierre DeSmet, a prominent Jesuit missionary in the area. This vessel is a 57-foot carvel planked launch with cedar on an oak frame authorized by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry 80 passengers with current Certificate of Inspection.

Andy and I were lucky to get two of the spots on top for the first part of the trip.  The tour took us around the lake and our captain told us about the history of the area, the geology, and local stories.  He was great.

The views were wonderful:

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This is the Kelly Homestead – still privately owned by descendants of the Kelly Family.  When Glacier National Park was established 100 years ago, its new boundaries trapped more than 13,000 private acres, staked by homesteaders before the park was a park.  There is currently about 300 acres still privately owned.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place in this area:

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There are two pairs of Bald Eagles around the lake (there are actually 40 pairs in the park).  Both pairs were checking us out.

First pair:

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And second pair:

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Majestic creatures!

The shoreline is very shallow and part of the water is glacially fed – notice the cool color. 

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Since there is only a portion from the glacier, the lake as a whole does not take on that color.

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Coming back to the lodge:

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When the lodge was first built, there were no roads.  All visitors and supplies came up from Apgar Village by boat.  So this is actually the front of the lodge:

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We had a wonderful bison burger at the Lodge lounge and slowly made our way back home.

Mid-afternoon, we took a trip to the grocery store in Columbia Falls – we were all out of vegetables and fruit and they were very expensive in the park.

Our campfire tonight was wonderful!

Enjoy today!

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August 27-28, 2014 North Fork Road and Polebridge

August 27th

Today was a hang out day for us.  I got caught up with the blog, my pictures, did some reading and beading.  Andy got caught up with a few of his little projects.  This evening we enjoyed another wonderful campfire.

August 28th

Road Trip Day – YEA!  We packed a lunch and headed north to the Polebridge area.  We first took Camas Road (paved), then the outer North Fork Road (unpaved, paved, unpaved) to Polebridge, then the Inner North Fork Road in the National Park (unpaved – some good and some bad areas).  What a lovely drive.

Camas Road:

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There were quite a few roadside exhibits along the way.  I found this interesting about the meadows:

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The Outer North Fork Road runs along that mountain in the picture above – a beautiful dirt road.  About 6 miles up the dirt road, it becomes paved again and there are quite a few homes and farms along the way to Polebridge.  There is also some very old cabins: 

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Here is the intersection for Polebridge:

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Yep, we are that close to Canada and the road remains dirt all the way there.  But the port into Canada is closed on this road.

We went thru Polebridge- not sure what happened here:

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Over the bridge- isn’t this beautiful:

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And back into the National Park – thru the historic Ranger Station:

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Right after the entrance is an intersection for the inner North Fork Road.  We decided to go south to where the road was closed. (The other day we went north from the campground to the road closure.) 

Also we were on a mission to get more firewood (it is legal to get down and dead in this area).  So we headed south:

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Views from the ridge:

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Some interesting homes in the Polebridge area:

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Lots of new growth:

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The road closed at the Logging Creek Ranger Station.  We thought we would be able to tour it but lo and behold, a ranger lives here – very interesting:

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We did have our carload of wood by this time so we slowly made our way back – taking in the views:

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At the entrance, we decided to head north to Bowman Lake and we passed many aspen groves.

Now there is some interesting information on the aspen trees:

“Plant Lore:
Aspen are remarkable and unique trees. In fact they are so different that it may be better not to think of aspens as trees. First of all, a stand of aspen is really only one huge organism where the main life force is underground. Think of aspens as large 1-20 acre systems of roots that remain hidden underground until there's enough sunlight. Then the roots sprout up white things called trunks that then leaf off green things called leaves. This is called "vegetative" or asexual reproduction. Only after severe fire and under ideal climatic conditions, will aspen reproduce sexually as a flowering plant.


With careful inspection, clones can be mapped, as all the trees that sprout from a single clone will have the same branching structure because they are genetically identical to one another. Even easier and more obvious is to watch as aspen forests change color in the fall. Members of different clones will all have the same shade of color transitioning from green to yellow at the same time. By examining this different color patchwork along a mountainside you can distinguish individual clones from each other.

Asexual or vegetative reproduction from root systems offers many benefits including phenomenal longevity. Aspen "clones," as the individual root systems are called, can live to be thousands of years old. The oldest known clone in existence is called "Pando" and is located in the Fishlake National Forest north of Bryce Canyon National Park in central Utah. It has been aged at 80,000 years! Although 5-10,000 year-old clones are much more common, even these youngsters are much older than Sequoias and even Bristlecone Pines. Current research on fungal mats in Oregon and Creosote Bushes in the Desert Southwest may rival aspen for the title of "Oldest-known Living Thing."


The other aspect of their lifestyle that makes them unique is that beneath the thin white outer bark is a thin photosynthetic green layer that allows the plant to synthesize sugars and keep growing even during the winter when all other deciduous trees go into dormancy. This green layer of the bark makes it survival food for deer and elk during hard winters.”

Here is a cluster of aspen – I wonder how old the “pod” is:

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Another view of the burn area:

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Our stop for lunch at the end of the road:

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After lunch we took a stroll on the path to the lake:

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When we came out of the woods, this was our view – jaw dropping beautiful!:

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We hung out for a while, then made the slow trek back to Polebridge where we stopped at the Mercantile and had a huckleberry bear claw – oh my, it was yummy!:

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The mercantile is really interesting to walk thru and they have a wonderful bakery. 

Here is the little cafe and northern lights saloon:

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Polebridge is a very small town:

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The end of the road downtown – what views!:

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We made our way back slowly enjoying the views along the way:

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What a wonderful road trip!

We ended the night with a great campfire – especially now that we have lots of wood.

Enjoy today.

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