On Friday we were up early and on the Harley headed across the Going-to-the-Sun Road to visit the Many Glaciers area. We entered the park before eight and headed up the mountains.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is very steep and narrow, so we were surprised at the number of people on bicycles riding up the mountains. We have seen some serious bikers on roads like this, but many we passed appeared to be more at home on the trails of Florida rather than the mountains of Montana. Most had a look of pain across their faces.
This young fella just stood by watching the slow moving traffic.
As we went up the side of the mountains we couldn’t help but notice a cloud bank coming over the hills ahead of us.
As we approached the final switchback before Logan’s Pass the road went right into the cloud.
As we approached the Logan’s Pass Visitor’s Center we could barely see a few feet in front of us. Fortunately, it was early and the traffic was light.
It was apparent that if we just kept going down the other side of the mountain we would soon drive out of the cloud, so we didn’t stop at the visitor’s center. The fog quickly began to lighten as we went down and we were treated to some great views. The picture below shows clouds overhead with sunshine in the valley below.
We made it safely down the mountains and stopped a few times to enjoy views of the mountains and St. Mary’s Lake near the east entrance to the park.
Many Glacier Hotel is a historic hotel located on the east shore of Swiftcurrent Lake. The building is designed as a series of chalets, up to four stories tall, and stretches for a substantial distance along the lakeshore. The building has a Swiss alpine theme both on the outside and on the inside. Construction began in 1914 and was finished in just 1 year on July 4, 1915. The Great Northern Railway was establishing a series of hotels and backcountry chalets to encourage people to ride the railroad to visit the park and the Many Glacier Hotel was the “Gem of the West”. The hotel is only open in the summer due to very deep snow in winter. It is still quite rustic, with no televisions in the rooms and no cell phone service. To reach it you leave the park by the east entrance, drive about ten miles north, then re-enter the park by a fourteen mile access road leading to Swiftcurrent Lake. We stayed in the hotel during a visit to Glacier a few years ago and wanted to take another look at it and the beautiful mountains surrounding the lake.
The picture below is of Garden Wall, with Mt. Gould the highest point and two glaciers, Gem and Grinnell on the left side.
We didn’t see much wildlife on this trip. A small black bear ran across the road just in front of us, too quickly for a picture. But we did encounter some dangerous semi-wildlife while leaving Many Glaciers.
Tomorrow is hiking day, if the predicted rain holds off. More on that later . . .