Saturday, August 31, 2013

Columbia Falls, MT (Glacier National Park)–Part 3

Note, I am posting 3 blogs today – all about my stay in Columbia Falls. 

I visited Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park one day. This park is adjacent to Glacier National Park and together they form the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. Just after crossing the border I saw a bear just a few feet from the road. I haven’t decided if it was a grizzly or a black bear (which aren’t always black). It seems to have the hump of a grizzly and maybe the ears of a black bear (they are more pointed than on a grizzly). If it was a grizzly it was a young grizzly.



Maybe somebody who knows more about bears can tell me which it is.

More scenery on the road, I think just before the Canadian border --


At Waterton, I decided to take a boat tour. Views from the boat -




The clearing in the middle of the picture is the border of Canada and the US. The boat trip started in Canada, went into the US, where we made a quick stop and then back into Canada.

On the way back, I took a picture of The Prince of Wales Hotel. It is said to be one of the most photographed hotels in the North America. As I’m not into buildings, I included more of the background than the hotel --


After the boat trip, I visited Cameron Falls. This pretty falls is just beside the road so very little walking was involved.


After sitting all day either in the car or the boat, I wanted to walk around a bit, so I headed to Red Rock Canyon in the Park.

I started by hiking the trail around the canyon. The picture below was taken from a bridge over the canyon. You can see the walking trails on each side of the small canyon.


While walking the trails, I wondered if you could get down in the canyon and then I saw several groups of people in the canyon. I eventually found a place to climb down, so I did.




The further I walked up the canyon the closer the walls came together. I had to cross the creek many times and in several places including the one above there was no way to not get your feet wet. I quit trying to figure out how to keep my shoes dry and just started walking thru the middle of the creek.

From Columbia Falls, I headed south slowly making my way to Colorado Springs (where I am now).  My next stop after Columbia Falls was Anaconda, Mt.  I’ll blog about that in a few days. 

Columbia Falls, MT (Glacier National Park)–Part 2

I only went to the east side of Glacier National Park a few times.  One of those times I headed to the Two Medicines area of Glacier which is in the southeast section.  On the way, I stopped at a location that is one of the most photographed places in Glacier – St. Mary’s Lake and Wild Goose Island.  On my first stop there was no wind, so I got some decent reflection shots -

I stopped again a few days later when coming back from Canada’s Waterton park and got a different perspective of the island and surrounding mountains. 

You can make out the tiny island much better in the shot above. 

There were many great views on the road to Two Medicine -

A view as I got into the Two Medicine area -

In the Two Medicines area, I walked to the Running Eagle Falls. This falls is also known as Trick Falls and in the pictures below you can see why.

As you can see there is much more water at the bottom of the falls than at the top.  In the last picture you can see that some water comes from the ground.  From what I read it comes from a sinkhole.  Later in the summer, this waterfall looks quite different as the water dries up, only the bottom portion has water. 


The picture above was taken from  I used that site quite a bit during my visit. 

I found and enjoyed a nice lunch spot in the Two Medicine area -

More scenery from Going to the Sun road --


The weeping wall is an area along Going to the Sun road that has lots of small waterfalls (especially with the snow melt) and most of them just run onto the road. If you have your windows and/or sunroof open, you will get wet – take it from me, I know from experience!!


One day, I took a dirt back road into the west side of the park. I enjoyed the views, even when I saw the area where there had been a wildfire in 2003.


I believe the mountains in the background are in Canada, maybe Waterton park (which I visited later).

On another trip, I visited the Trail of the Cedars which is a a short mile or so walk. It is a loop, but I walked it twice just to see the fall area again.



There are some glaciers still left in Glacier National Park, but that is not the big draw to this park. I only saw 2 and they were small. I have read that by 2030 there may be no glaciers left in the park.

Jackson Glacier -


Columbia Falls, MT (Glacier National Park)

I stayed in Columbia Falls, Montana July 9 – 22.    This was about 20 minutes from Glacier National Park.  My first full day out, I headed out early in the morning to explore the west side of Glacier NP.  I made several stops in the car before getting to Logan’s Pass, the location of a short hike I took.

Lake McDonald early in the morning --

McDonald Creek Valley -

Going to the Sun road cuts through Glacier National Park. Due to snow and some construction, the road did not open until  June 21 this year.  A couple of years ago it did not open until July 13 due to the heavy snow.   It is quite a road and in some places seems like there is not enough room for 2 cars to pass.  There were a couple of tunnels on the road and great views everywhere --

My first hike in Glacier was just a short hike in the Logan’s Pass area.  I took so much time getting up to Logan’s Pass that I only walked around for about an hour.

There are waterfalls everywhere along the road.  Some of them are named waterfalls, such as Bird Woman Falls which you drive over --

Others are not named (or I didn’t find the names) and may just be here because of snow melt --

I took this picture from my car and wouldn’t you know a car would go by me just as I was taking the picture from my moving car so I couldn’t take another! But I liked the picture anyway!!

One day I hiked to St. Mary and Virginia Falls, this is one of the easier hikes in the park – about 4 miles round trip. 

St Mary Falls -

While St. Mary and Virginia Falls are the destinations, the cascades, smaller waterfalls and views between the 2 main falls were beautiful.

Virginia Falls -

I found a nice resting spot between the 2 tiers of this falls and enjoyed watching the American Dippers fly around and then dive into the water.  A very interesting bird, but they never sat still long enough for a good photo. 

On the hike back to the trailhead, I passed St. Mary’s Falls again and enjoyed the falls and blue water again.

I saw a few wildflowers on this trail and at some of the stops I made on Going to the Sun road. I am not sure what the wildflower below is, I think it’s in the lily family.

I enjoyed McDonald Creek many times, sometimes from the road or overlooks and a few times from short walks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Missoula, MT

While in Missoula, I visited another Ghost town.  The town of Garnet was started in 1895 due to gold being discovered in the area.   The area was abandoned in 1948.

When visiting Garnet, you drive a long dirt road up the mountain.  Then a short walk down a hill to the town itself. The picture below was taken from the overlook while walking down to the town.

You may notice a propane tank behind the house in the front.  I believe this home has been renovated and is being used by some of the staff.

Unlike Bannack, they did bring items in from other areas to “furnish” some of the buildings with items from the appropriate time period.  Unfortunately you can’t tell what is original and what was brought in.  Below is one of the rooms (maybe a lobby?) in the hotel.

Above is inside on of the businesses on the main street.

Some of the miner’s cabins--

Inside one of the cabins --

North of Missoula is the National Bison Range.  I visited it twice in one day to see the wildlife.  In the morning I saw Bison and Pronghorns, in the afternoon I saw Bison, Pronghorns, Elk and Big Horn Sheep.

A bison rolling around in the dirt --

Mom and child --

Like many of the times when I am looking at wildlife, they are looking they other way --

One of the Bighorn Sheep finally turned around -

I watched the above deer for several minutes.  The fawn would run from it’s mom (I’m guessing) and the mom would chase after it.  Then the fawn would stop and wait on the mom, then run again.  It acted just like a young kid, it was fun to watch. 

I have posted pictures of Cedar Waxwings before, but I like this bird so here is another picture.

Another bird that is common in the west is the Magpie.  They aren’t in Georgia so I find them interesting.  I have been seeing them regularly for the last several months. 

I watched the following bluebird play with his lunch before he flew away with it.

I visited Blue Mountain Recreation area a couple of times for some nice easy hikes.  One of the trails I hiked is below--

From Missoula, I headed up to Columbia Falls which is about 20 minutes from Glacier National Park.  I was there for 2 weeks and have a lot of photos.  I am currently going through all of those and hope to post the Columbia Falls blog(s) in a few days.