Monday, June 9, 2014

Our Lewis & Clark Adventure: Glacier National Park

Okay, Glacier National Park has nothing to do with the Lewis & Clark Expedition. They never set foot in the park. On the return trip from Oregon, Meriwether Lewis and several of his men came close to the park. They ran into a group of Blackfeet Indians. When the Indians tried to steal their horses, a fight broke out and two of the Blackfeet were killed. These two plus Sgt. Floyd, who died of a ruptured appendix near Sioux City, Iowa, were the only three humans to die during the 2 1/2 year expedition.

We came here because we wanted to see the beauty of the park. The park's season really doesn't get going until late June. We were here in early June. Our campground has 5 loops and only one was open and looked to be only half full. The Going to the Sun Road was closed except for 16 miles from the western entrance and eight miles form the eastern entrance. 

There were bear warnings everywhere. The campground had special bear-proof trash containers. Debbie bought bells to wear on us to warn the bears that humans were present. We also bought a large canister of bear spray. We never saw a bear.

Lake McDonald. This shot is about 100 yards from our campsite.

Another view of Lake McDonald

Some visitors to our campsite

One of the major attractions of Glacier National Park is the "Going to the Sun Road" which is the only road that cuts across the park. The road is 50 miles long and goes over Logan Pass at 6,600 feet elevation. The road was open from the Apgar Campground for only 16 miles. The entire road is expected to be open mid June. The problem is the amount of snow that falls especially near Logan Pass.  Here are some pictures from the internet.

Apgar Campground is at the lower end of Lake McDonald. At the upper end of the lake is Lake McDonald Lodge. This is an elegant resort hotel and restaurant. The lodge was built before there was a road to it. Guest had to take a boat from the campground.

A view from the Lodge to Lake McDonald

The lobby

The back porch.

The National Park Service runs tours of the Park using a dozen of these specially built vans.

Debbie and Rosie enjoy a stroll. The boat is for tours of the lake.

Lodge from the lake.

This is Dan. He is from Columbia, Missouri (blog). He is riding his bicycle from Columbia, Missouri to Fairbanks, Alaska. He sleeps in campgrounds, laundramats, bathrooms, under trucks, anywhere he can. He has a lightweight titanium bike but carries about 80 pounds of gear and provisions. He is retired, 65 years old. He travels alone but his positive outgoing nature allows him to strike up a conversation easily. "Life is good!" he says. In this shot he is cooking his breakfast and using his smartphone.

We expected to stay three or four nights in Glacier but only stayed two. Much of the park was effectively closed. But the main problem was energy. The campground has no hookups.  No water connections. No sewer. No electric connections. We have solar panels to charge up our batteries but the campground is so densely shaded and the skies were overcast so our batteries could not be charged up. So we left this beautiful place sooner than we would have liked. We may come back sometime but will aim for a July-August visit.

Ciao, Frank


  1. Hi Frank, what a lovely part of the world. In all my years of driving close to Glacier on my way to Fernie, I have never stopped there!

  2. Yes, Dacre, it is lovely. I recalled our stop in Kalispel on the way to Fernie. Hope all is well with you!

  3. Gorgeous! But what a brief season of sun; hope you get to catch it another time later in the season, but there are lots of gorgeous places in the world left for you three vagabonds to see :) Love to you, Debbie, and the sweet pupster Rosie.