St. Mary MT
August 19, 2009
We decided to get an early start and awoke to early morning camp activity. Surprise, I guess a lot of people get up at 8 a.m. First stop was Spruce Campground on Lake McDonald for early morning photos and then on to Lake McDonald Lodge, a popular tourist facility with boat rentals and a tour boat for nautical minded tourists. Sitting in the front drive of the lodge were three bright red and black open-roof tour buses filled with eager old faces. The Ford Motor Company lovingly restored the 1930’s fleet a few years ago, offering us a peek into tourism of years gone by.
Going to the Sun Road and the climb to Logan Pass seduced us with many pull-offs, each offering something different, rapids along McDonald Creek, crystal clear waters, waterfalls, and short hikes. The brochures warn that it takes 2-3 hours to make the approximately 60 mile drive across the park we, however, spent the better part of the day awed by the spectacular scenery. Soon the magnificent peaks of the garden wall are seen as we approach “the loop” where the road turns 90 degrees to the east toward Logan Pass. We find major road construction with slow, one-lane travel but this works to our advantage as the last vehicle through the one way we are able to stop on the road for pictures. At what is called the weeping wall it is as if the mountain is crying, water seeps out of the rocks onto the roadway from high above peaks, streams and massive waterfalls.
Approaching Logan Pass Visitor Center we spot a family of mountain goats on a nearby rock face, great photo op. Logan Pass at 6,646 feet offers more stunning views but the numbers of visitors overwhelms too few parking spaces. After numerous loops of the parking lot we give up and move a short distance down the road only to find a beautiful spot for lunch, looking down the valley with Logan Pass, numerous peaks and three cascading waterfalls within our view.
We lingered quite a while after lunch, just enjoying the setting and then began our descent to Saint Mary Park. More magnificent glacier carved mountains with waterfalls galore vying for our attention. This is surely one of the most breathtaking drives in the U.S. You should put Glacier National Park on your must see list just avoid the crowded summer season.
We camp at Saint Mary Campground with a view of East Flattop Mountain from our van and look forward to our entry tomorrow into Canada.