Lewis and Clarke Expedition Chapter 12

Chapter 12

Missoula, Montana to Glacier National Park

Bear with me while I catch up with my notes after losing my AC adapter for my PC. I lost it 3 days ago and am trying to get all my digital photography up to date, and saved so you can track us.

Today we went to Glacier National Park in Montana. I don’t even know how to describe what I saw right now. In the next few days I will do my best. Since I took so many pictures it was easier for me to make their own web page. I’ll create a link to them here soon.

Today was one of those days you could see for miles. It was also very cool and we started our ride with temperatures in the mid-40’s. Once again we rode up route 93 (“Pray for me!”) and somewhere around Polson we took route 35 on the west side of Flathead Lake. Flathead lake is also a glacier lake. The water is deep and clear.

Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake; Deep and clear

We continued up route 35 towards Columbia Falls and it was somewhere along here at one of our rest stops that I got a call from a friend of mine, Paul Lawrence, telling me that his mom had died in her sleep the night before. Shirley always welcomed me in her home when I was friends with Paul in high school. She was a wonderful person, even better cook, and it was fun hanging out with them.

The interesting thing about the drive is just how busy the roads are! People are everywhere. We continue up route 206 and then on to route 2 where we enter the park at West Glacier. Now there are people every where you look. It’s a huge tourist area in the summer.

We entered the park after a brief stop at the Canadian tourist center and got in the vehicle train headed eastward. The road is called “Going to the Sun Road”. At first you don’t understand why they would name it this place but after a few miles of switch-backs you realize why they call it this. Normally I don’t get too spooked but being afraid of heights (yea, I know, weird for a pilot) every once in a while I looked over the cliff and found myself driving near oncoming traffic trying to get away from the edge.

We crossed the continental divide at N48º 41.790′ W113º 43.090′ near Logan Pass where we stopped with 100’s of other people at the visitor center there at the same time. Even with all the people there I was able to pull off some really cool pictures without people in them.

Lewis and Clark never went here. I don’t think they ever went north of the 45th parallel. Today we went as far north as we would on the trip by reaching N48º 45.275′ W113º 47.973′ on this ride to the divide. Even though they weren’t here there was an animal they wrote about that was. The “barking squirrel” walked around here like he owned the place. I was able to get remarkably close to the animal without it feeling frightened.

The “barking squirrel”
The “barking squirrel”; Remarkably close

I really didn’t have a favorite photograph of the surrounding topology because it was all so beautiful. One of these days I want to go back when I have more than a day to explore and spend time around Lake McDonald. The lake is another glacier lake where the water is deep and so clear you just can’t believe it. This picture is of rocks looking through about two feet of water. There was very little wind and the air was so clean and clear. It’s just a beautiful place and I’m glad we decided to go and see it.

Lake McDonald
Glacier National Park

Going back home we where “hell bent” on getting home. It was 250 miles and we all wanted to be there. We did make it and had dinner at the Cracker Barrel near the hotel. We were all in bed pretty early with Chuck and dad preceding me as I stayed up and worked on my computer after getting my new adapter sent from Dell.

Today was another fun day of riding and seeing the country. Tomorrow we go through Lolo Pass, into Idaho and on to Oregon. Unsure of the destination and am unfamiliar with the area at all.

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— Main.JohnWesterman – Published 11 Aug 2004

Other photos from today:

Surface weather today
High temperatures today