Friday, August 2, 2013

...and then we got to see Glacier National Park in Montana!

When you experience so much natural beauty and wonderful experiences, you can't help but ask yourself if that wasn't "the best one yet?"  Always thinking that nothing can top it...then, surprisingly so, Mother Nature continues to flash her beauty in more ways than you could ever have thought.  Such was our visit to the Glacier National Park in Montana.

When we left Canada...that in itself was an experience I should share...just in case it should ever happen to you!  You see, Jack's passport expired while we were in Canada.  Yep, we thought, now what?  Well, as my kids will be so proud, I immediately got on my trusty computer and started searching (should I say "googling"?) around for answers.  I found out that we were not the first to have this happen (hmm) and the general consensus was that since we are US citizens, they have to let us back in.  That it could get as bad as a delay at the border with a "scolding", to as little as them not even noticing.  We were (emotionally) ready as we approached the border, expecting just about anything (I mean, who would yell at two little old folks like us anyway, right?).  The nice gentleman did notice the expired passport, asked Jack if he knew it was expired, "oh my, no, really?" The guard said "we were US citizens, so of course he would let us in, but that we should get that fixed at our earliest convenience, and, welcome home."  It was good to be back home again.

We entered at the Carway/Piegan Canadian/American Border and you are greeted by a rather large statue by the Blackfeet Nation welcoming you.  Seems you enter right into their reservation!

We spent that first day driving through Montana en route to the western side of the park where we had decided to camp.  Driving through Montana has been a joy for us as we have viewed the various crops, learning what they are (we learned about "seed potatoes" this time!), watching the harvesting & bailing, seeing some great barns and beautiful lakes.  I have to say, Montana is a beautiful state (but, no, still don't want to move here!). 

Once settled into the campground, off we went on the "one thing everyone does" - the drive: Going-to-the-Sun-Road!  They say to allow 2-3 hours, ha!  Not if your driving me, the one who has to stop at every single turn-out and read the sign, see the sight and take pictures!  It's an all-day trip...and a really awesome one at that!  What fun it was!  Busy, it's July after all, and the tourists are in full force, but who cares?  We were in no hurry and the sun was shining, so life is good!

You would think, I would think, that I would get used to seeing such incredible beauty.  That I wouldn't be surprised or amazed any longer by what Mother Nature can create, but I am.  At each turn (and there were hundreds along this very twisty road) was one more "oh my" moment.  A waterfall, a lake, a glacier you could touch, mountains that took your breath away, big horn sheep cooling off on a glacier, wildflowers blooming, and history.  We met a nice ranger just before she was about to leave her station at the very first ranger station built back in 1917.  No indoor plumbing, way back in the woods...think about it, Montana in the winter...how many feet of snow?  With how many animals hungry around you?  Winter, hell, Spring would be worse really, 'cause they would really be hungry!  Nope, not for me!  Brave people...one and all.  We owe them all our gratitude, then and today.

Jack and I had decided that we wanted to see as many National Parks as we could this year and it has really been a wonderful experience.  I thought it would be "fun".  I thought it would be "cool" to do.  Something to "check off" on my mental list of things & places to do & see.  But what I didn't expect was how moved I would be.  How the history of them would touch me emotionally as the beauty does spiritually. 

Our parks are special.   I wish I knew some better way to say that sentence.  It's not enough to put it into a different font.  As I type, I just want to pick you up by the shoulders, and place you in front of where I was, (at any of the parks) even for 5 minutes, and say "just look at that".  Then stand back and watch you.  Watch while you soak it all in.  It changes you.  Once you see it, it changes you.  It's like you can hear all the voices of all the people who had the vision and wherewithal to turn these lands into National Parks so that you and I and our children and their children could see them...and you just want to thank them.  Because, if you allow yourself to think, even for a minute, what this place would look like if no one would have preserved it, you would cry.  As beautiful as Mother Nature is, Man Kind can as easily destroy.  I thank these men every day that they didn't let that happen.

National Parks are the best gifts this country has given us, take advantage of them as much as you can, you won't regret it, I promise you...
 Blackfeet Nation Welcome at the border
 Seed potato field, Montana
 McDonald Falls, Glacier National Park
 Jackson Glacier,  Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park
 St Mary Lake, Glacier National Park
 Bird Woman Falls (492 Ft High), Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park
 Big Horn Sheep on Jackson Glacier at Logan Pass, Going-to-the-Sun Road
 Wildflowers, Glacier National Park
 Cut Bank Ranger Station (c1917) first buildings built in Glacier National Park
McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park

...on the road in Montana,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/   

 

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