They day finally arrived with sunshine and an early start to visit West Glacier in all its glory. We packed the kids up in the minivan, complete with blankets, pillows, video games and food – my mother and I were not to be deterred from our photo safari, so please forgive us our lack of stern parenting.
We whisked our way into the park and came upon our first gorgeous vista of Lake McDonald. We left the kids in the car and began to shoot. No, this would not do. They just had to see how absolutely stunning and serene was the morning lake view. To our surprise, they shook the bleariness from their eyes and proceeded to attempt to outdo one another in skipping stones across the placid lake waters.
Fully energized, we proceeded up the Rising-to-the-Sun road (pictured as the feature image in this post) and stopped at every outlet we so desired to capture magnificent scenes of Glacier’s many wonders – the Three Arches, cascading waterfalls, scenic glacier-lined vistas.
As we had already visited Logan’s Pass, we made the decision to travel over to the East Glacier side to St. Marys. The landscape was profoundly different giving way to wide vistas, unlike West Glaciers narrow, steep chasms; and much warmer, too. It does not have the “Wow” factor of West Glacier, but it held its many charms. We saw ancient glaciers and ribboned waterfalls.
We heard the chirps of hidden ground squirrels and the laughter of the kids enjoyment of the adventure. We played frisbee in a grassy park and witnessed – what we later identified as – a long-tailed ferret taking down a kingly ground squirrel.
We heard the disenchanted voices of the kids as we once more asked them to get out and enjoy the vista and their exclamations of excitement when – at the St. Marys Visitor Center – they got to view solar flares through the Park Rangers’ telescopes and then lay hands on a variety of pelts representing the local animals that live within the park.
It was a good day and it wasn’t even over with yet. It takes just as long to cross back over Glacier as it does to ride around the southern edge – and so we gassed up, filled up on F’reals and headed off on our next adventure.
We saw whitewater rafters exploring the rapids and free range cows meandering across our roadway. We saw an old train depot turned into a train enthusiasts dream where you can stay in one of the many renovated train cars on site in Walton, Montana (The Izaak Walton Inn).
We heard our kids grow irritable from so many hours in the minivan and we heard their ecstatic cries when, once again, we had arrived back at the KOA and blissful freedom to run about, feed the ponies and slide down the bouncy slide.
That night, we had a wonderful dinner on our wooded nook of a patio and got to bed early to conquer the only side of Glacier we had yet to visit – the Northern side and thus, Canada!