Daily Archives: August 10, 2011

Pottery Travelogue: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, by Ansel Adams. Source: Wikimedia Commons

“The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest fossilized examples of extremely early life found anywhere on Earth.” — Wikipedia

This year, the Glacier National Park opened the latest it ever had, on June 13th. The area experienced unseasonable precipitation like everywhere else  in the Northwest, except here it was in the form of snow. Each year, the park closes because of snowfall. The detour is only a minor annoyance to Canadians or Americans who drive Going-to-the-Sun Highway, headed for points south or north, for a good part of the year. I remember one time I hadn’t realized the park was closed. I must have missed the sign because I was looking at scenery as I drove from Lethbridge, Alberta to Missoula, Montana. There was snow on the road, but I thought nothing of it. I learned it was closed when I drove out of the park at the other end. It was lovely having the park to myself! So, a late opening means one heck of a snowpack; therefore, it is going to be absolutely gorgeous tomorrow. Raging creeks, thundering waterfalls. The Weeping Wall will be bawling her eyes out! For a point-by-point chronology of the season’s occurrences, take a look at Digging in the Clay‘s post. Tomorrow, we’ll head out at 9 a.m., driving north, then northeast, past Kalispell, the turn-off to Whitefish, then Columbia Falls and East Glacier. There are many national parks in the U.S., amazing ones…Yosemite, Yellowstone…but Glacier Park is my favorite. It’s in my blood. There are many doomsday reports about global warming melting the glaciers and this is so sad, I cannot contemplate it. So I won’t. For now. There are many hiking trails and chalets, lakes, and lodges in the park. You can see grizzly, mountain goats, black bears… Several years ago, I was hiking the Garden Wall with my husband and brother-in-law. You feel as if you’re traversing the edge of the world when your on this trail. You walk along the side of the Continental Divide, cross a snow field and are surrounded by a panorama that is nearly unimaginable. It’s always fun to come across baby mountain goats on the trail. If you can’t make the hike, though, you can always seen them on Logan Pass, the divide, separating lush western Montana from the beginning of the dry part of the state. If you are interested in traveling to Glacier Park, here’s the Travel Wiki. Happy trails…

Glacier Park Mountain Goats, by Chelsi Peters. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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