Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons

Grand is an appropriate choice to describe this range of mountains. The ragged peaks jump up right off the valley floor, without so much as a small foothill to obstruct your approach. This is a hikers paradise, with treks ranging from an easy mile or two to technical climbs to the top of the tallest peak. Grand Teton National Park was established in 1929 but was enlarged to its present size by a gift of 19,000 acres of land from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1950. He had been acquiring land in the area with the idea of enlarging the park but when he offered to donate his land to the government, he was rebuffed. Rockefeller then declared that he would sell this acreage to the highest bidder, quickly his initial offer was accepted and Grand Teton National Park was greatly enlarged.

We traveled straight from Yellowstone to Jackson Hole, taking the easterly road through the park with a brief stop at their new Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitors Center located at Moose. It is a great new building, featuring the best park bookstore I have ever been in. It may have been because this new facility allowed ample space for the books to be displayed in a more enticing layout, but I could have bought a dozen or so, on top of Marlin’s dozen or so.
The exhibit area was novel in their use of the floor as a projection screen for a video of changing natural scenes, which included the sounds of streams, or wind, or what ever the camera was viewing. As the history of the park was reviewed, the displays included life size statues of the central characters who were involved either in homesteading, climbing the peaks, or folks critical to the formation of the park. One I particularly liked was a man in what appeared to be street clothing and a soft hat, with an ordinary looking rope tied loosely around his middle, perched half way up a tall flat vertical slab representing Mt. Teton. This was the man who made the first successful assent of this highest mountain.

Jackson Hole is small in size but big in character. It is located next door to the only National Elk Refuge in existence. Jackson makes this evident by welcoming folks to visit the town square park through four arches constructed completely of elk antlers. The local Boy Scout troop is allowed to collect the fallen antlers each winter. Since the arches have been completed, the scouts now sell the antlers at a yearly auction.

The Cowboy Bar is a unique and well known establishment, famous for their bar stools fashioned with saddles for seating. Fairly comfortable, but my stirrups were too long. We went in for a drink and had a surprisingly excellent hamburger while we were there.

On Tuesday we connected with Jacob Dunton of Dixmont fame, and had a great visit over lunch at a local brewery. We caught up with what each member of our families were doing and the personality of this town. Looks like Jacob is in Wyoming to stay, his license plates are Wyoming and he explained about investigating the local housing lottery. He talked excitedly about his skiing adventures and was waiting impatiently for the first snow. I was envious until he described the slopes as “straight down”, and their blue and green trails more like black diamonds.

After two days catching up on housekeeping necessities, as well as sight seeing, we drove back up the western road into the park. We stopped briefly at Jackson Hole Ski Mountain, where they are installing a new 40 person lift, then went on to Jenny Lake where we were scared off by tour buses. The drive along this inner road brought us closer to the peaks with many stops for photos.

More road hazards

The top of the Cowboy Bar

Elk Arches in Jackson Hole

The Tetons up close


Jacob Dunton et al, in Jackson

Thursday, September 20, 2007


“Danger! Scalding water, beautiful but deadly, hydrothermal features can kill you, toxic gasses, if you feel sick leave the location immediately". The official newspaper of Yellowstone does not make the park sound too inviting. Of course, if you use common sense these warnings are not so fearsome. Yellowstone contains the majority of the worlds geysers and hot springs, as well as thousands of tourists who don’t always use common sense, so these warnings are everywhere.

This is a far different atmosphere than the majestic mountains and vistas we have been traveling through so far. The scene here is somewhat eerie, with steam and bubbling water visible in almost every direction you look, it is easy to believe you are on unstable volcanic ground.

Almost in the middle of the park is Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake in the U.S. at such a high altitude (7,733 feet). I was amazed to learn that the park itself was created by three major volcanic explosions, each about a million years apart. Viewing the park today, it looks like the next one might be any time. Everywhere you look the ground is steaming with bubbling pools that can shoot water skyward at any time.

In West Thumb, which is actually part of Yellowstone Lake and a small volcanic caldera inside another huge caldera, I counted 19 geysers, pools or boiling springs at a single viewpoint. The pools have many different colors, depending on which microorganism happens to be growing within the supper heated water. Signs also tell you that much of the ground in certain areas is unsafe to walk on because a very thin crust covers scalding mud and water. Extensive boardwalks are provided by the park service so visitors are able to get reasonably close to many of the more prominent features.

Old Faithful is, of course, the best known geyser, mostly because of its regularity and height of its water spout. It has an average time span of 63 minutes, give or take 10 minutes, with an average height of 130 feet. From the ring of benches that surround Old Faithful, you can see at least 6 or 8 smaller geysers spouting off in the background. The day we stopped to watch, the clouds decided to open up minutes before Old Faithful began her show. Wish we had known there was a perfect view from the visitors center windows, right next to the fireplace

There are many wild animals to be easily seen along the roads of Yellowstone. Herds of buffalo wander across or graze on the sides of roads everywhere. Elk, which are beginning their mating season, fill the meadows, antelope appear in clearings, and one evening we caught sight of a wolf just as he crossed in front of our headlights. There was a family of coyotes located close to the campground. Their howling was a nightly serenade and coming in just after dark, we spotted one trotting right next to the registration office.

Marlin got to do some fishing in the famous Fire Hole and Gibbon Rivers. At many places on the Fire Hole, gallons of water from hot springs run into this river, yet it remains a premiere fishing location. Hiking along the banks, you can sometimes see the fish squirting past the fisherman’s offered flys, headed for some destination of their own choice.

Warnings everywhere

Bubbling mud pots

A small boiling hot spring

A hot spring and boardwalk beside the West Thumb section of Yellowstone Lake

Waiting for the eruption of Old Faithful

Taking off

At its highest

Old Faithful boardwalk and viewers

Marlin suiting up for fishing

The famous Yellowstone Lower falls

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Yellowstone Upper falls

Geysers and hot springs everywhere you look

Boiling water flowing from a geyser into the Fire Hole River

Boardwalks surrounding a geyser field

Buffalo giving us the eye

I took this just as we took off. This big fella just kept walking closer and closer to our truck. We were in his intended path and he wasn't about to change course.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cody Wyoming

The journey from Glacier down to Yellowstone took us south on Route 89 again. With a quick stop in Great Falls to pick up our mail and have something to eat, we continued moving south. The section of Route 89 from Great Falls down to White Sulphur Springs travels through Lewis and Clark National Forrest and the Little Belt Mountains. The terrain is drastically changed from plains to pine covered hills and valleys where small National Forest campsites are tucked in under the overhanging cliffs. We drove into almost all of these spots, just to check them out, and saw only one or two campers occupying each park. Along this narrow winding road old log cabin homesteads occasionally appeared, causing us to fabricate stories about each settler as we drove along. I think we have been reading way too much western lore.

With an overnight stay in White Sulphur Springs, we continued toward Yellowstone, stopping in Livingston to re-supply. Livingston is about 50 miles north of the park and we added this town to our growing number of western places we have found appealing. Just another small town that has held onto its character. Local papers in these places often have articles about how they are trying to cope with growth and still retain the original spirit that brought people there.

When we entered Yellowstone Park, through the famous Roosevelt Arch, signs indicated that all the campgrounds were still open. This was around 4 or 5 o’clock, so we headed toward the area we had chosen to begin our explorations. However, by the time we reached Tower Fall the campground was full, as were the next three moving east along this road. In addition to the large crowds we saw at Mammoth Hot Springs, this setback was not a great start to our visit here. We ended up around 8:30 finding a spot outside the park in a National Forrest site. Since we were closer to Cody, Wyoming, than attractions within the park, we decided to continue toward the city. We had planned to visit Cody after the park anyway.

Cody Wyoming
The road from the park to Cody goes through more classic Rocky Mountain vistas. One high outlook called Dead Indian Pass is where Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians crossed into the Yellowstone area during the successful portion of their campaign to avoid the U.S. Army and flee to Canada. Unfortunately, they were finally surrounded by the army in Montana, only a short distance from reaching their destination and freedom in Canada.

A must see attraction in Cody is the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. We expected to breeze in and out of this venue in a couple of hours but were happily proven wrong. This is a world class museum, really five separate museums in one place. The first day we spent in the Whitney Gallery of Western Art which houses an outstanding collection. The four galleries offer artistic interpretations of life in the west from early nineteenth century to the present. Included are W.H.D. Koerner, Frederick Remington, and Charles Russell works, as well as pieces from their contemporaries and modern western artists. One current artist I was drawn to was James Bama, who paints today’s Native Americans with the realism of a photograph. The museum is sponsoring an art auction at the end of the month and there was a separate showing of the available pieces, all with posted opening bids. Scary.

The following day we began with the Draper Natural History Museum, which is the newest section, dedicated in 2002, and my favorite. The brochure provides a concise overview of its purpose. “The Draper is dedicated to illuminating the complex relationships among humans, wildlife, and landscapes, with an eye toward shaping the future by understanding the past.” It presents this experience through downward spiraling exhibits which take the viewer through alpine, forest, meadow, and plains environments, with commentary on the interactions between people, animals and the world we all live in.

The Plains Indian Museum houses many beautiful and elaborate historical artifacts, examines the cultural history of the plains Indians, particularly their relation to the buffalo, and explains some of the living traditions of Native Americans. One amazing modern bronze sculpture, adorning an entire wall, depicts a buffalo jump at 1 ½ actual size. Picture high bronze cliffs with huge tumbling buffalo bodies cascading down through the air

The Buffalo Bill Museum contains memorabilia from William Cody’s life and wild west show. At one point his show employed over 300 people, many of whom were Indians that had survived the years of battling with the army. Cody is said to have treated all his employees with equal courtesy and respect. He had a partner, Nate Salsbury, who was the organizer. He took care of feeding, housing, and moving all these performers. One section in the museum highlights some rare film footage, running in a continuous loop, that shows various acts in the show. It was quite a production and the show, with 300 cast members, traveled all over the world giving performances. Can you imagine the culture shock some of the Indians experienced during their time in Europe? It was said that Cody did much to portray the image of the actual Indian life style but at the same time he created the stereotype of the savage worrier because his show focused on battles with the army.

By the end of the day, with energy flagging, Marlin toured The Cody Firearms Museum, which follows the development of firearms from the 16th century to the present. Construction of this part of the museum was completed in 1991 after the Olin Corporation permanently gave the Winchester Arms Collection to the museum. Contained here is also the Crockett Club’s National Collection of Horns and Heads, a collection of big game mounts from around the world. Marlin’s report was that it was much more than just displays of guns and it would take another couple of hours to do it justice. At our low energy level, we decided to leave that for our next visit to Wyoming.

I took this time to view the mezzanine gallery of modern western artists. There were some great pieces here. Some whimsical, some abstract, and many classical portrayals of life in the west. There were two James Bama oils here that I found striking, “A Contemporary Sioux” and a portrait of an elderly Native American who’s title I can’t recall. We decided the two day ticket should definitely be valid for three days.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Glacier National Park

On Friday, the 7th, our mail had not arrived yet so we headed back up to Glacier. With our truck noise fixed and a week of down time we felt ready for more awe inspiring beauty. On the drive from Great Falls north we took route 89 through rolling prairie and cattle country. About half way there it began to rain and continued for the rest of the trip and into the night. We camped at Many Glacier campground and were glad that we were not in a tent since it was cold and very wet. Our hot soup in our warm camper was just right for two old EX-backpackers.

Many Glacier is on the East side of the National Park and is considered by some, the heart of Glacier. It is north of St. Mary’s where the Going to the Sun Road heads west and it is less crowded than the area on the west of the park. The campground backs right up to the wall of a mountain, with many trails leading into all the surrounding valleys and peaks.

We choose a moderate hike to Ptarmigan Falls, but once there we were encouraged to go on to the lake. It was a spectacular walk, winding up a valley between several different snow covered mountains. We ended up above the snow line. When we arrived at the lake, we could see where the trail continued on another mile further and 500 feet higher to Ptarmigan tunnel. This tunnel was blasted through the mountain back when travel from the eastern to the western side of Glacier was by horseback. Everyone we talked to encouraged us to continue forward, that the climb was well worth the view on the other side. However, Marlin had developed two blisters from his boots and we were already doing a nine mile round trip, so we left the lake and started back.

Walking in we saw several mountain goats, one quite close by was a billy goat. He was sitting on a rock cliff overlooking the trail, just laying there chewing his cud and watching the hikers pass below him. On the way back there were two bears eating berries like mad, trying to get in their 20,000 calories that they consume daily during this time of year.

Another trail we took made a loop from the campground to the Many Glacier Hotel then around Swiftcurrent Lake and back. The hotel is another resort built by Great Northern Railroad to entice tourists to the park. The Great Northern was the railroad that built all the resort hotels in this area and in Canada. I think, in error, I called it the Canadian Pacific Railroad in some of my other postings. Slip of the lip.

When Glacier became a National Park, there were 105 glaciers. Today there are only 26 and it is predicted that by 2030 the park will be glacier free. The Many Glacier area boasts five glaciers. From the hotel you can see four small ones. Posted pictures taken in 1849, 1906, and 1998 show the decline of these once massive rivers of ice. The largest, Grinnell Glacier, is now listed by two separate names. The one part that remains on a high rocky ledge with a cliff below, is now called Salamander Glacier, the lower part, much smaller even than in 1998, has a huge lake at the base that did not exist in 1849.

Last visit we rode the shuttle over the going to the sun highway. This time we drove, at least to Logan Pass, which is halfway. At the pass I got pictures of the classic red touring buses that ferry passengers all over the park. The buses used to be called “jammers” after the noise often heard when the drivers jammed the gears as they drove the winding mountain roads. In 1927 Glacier Transportation Company was given the passenger concession. Thirty six red canvas topped touring cars were purchased in 1930 and these vehicles roamed the park until 1998 when metal fatigue caused them to be unsafe. Instead of completely replacing the classic cars, Ford Motor Company refurbished the body and put it onto a new chassis and motor, now propelled by propane instead of gasoline. The buses still have a canvas top that is rolled back in good weather to allow for views in all directions.

Our last stop was at Two Medicine. There is a long road with many hair raising switchbacks to get there and very few trails leading out from this spot, but we liked it best for its quiet beauty.

The trail to Ptarmigan Lake

Many Glacier campground

Many Glacier Hotel

Swiftcurrent lake at Many Glacier Hotel

Billy Goat on the trail

Eastern Valley from Logan Pass

Red "Jammer" touring cars

One part of the Going to the Sun road

Jackson Glacier

Two Medicine Lake

Friday, September 7, 2007

Great Falls campground pictures

We got the truck fixed yesterday, so today we are heading back to Glacier. Our week away has worked and we are ready for more fantastic sights.

Thought I would include some pictures of the Great Falls KOA that we have been at until the truck was back in shape. This is the nicest campground we have EVER been in. The waterpark is a kids delight. We had one whole wing of the campground to ourselves.

This is the view from our campsite

The enclosed garden is roses. The wire fence is to keep the deer and rabbits from eating the flowers

The bathhouse building with gardens

Side door and gardens. We have been eating the cherry tomatos every day

Inside the bath house, complete with gardens

Inside each separate unit

One side of the tent village. The roof covers four tent sites

Sunflower shower in the water park

This is a new sculpture in the water park. The base fills with water and you can turn the large ball

One of the three water slides

Marlin at our campsite

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Great Falls, Montana

We have been in Great Falls for a couple of days. Our mission here is two fold. We have mail coming to General Delivery, Marlin's license, and we wanted to have the truck looked at due to a strange noise we were hearing. Unfortunately the mail has not arrived yet, and the truck did have a problem. This morning Marlin took the truck back to the Chevy dealer to have the pinion (sp?) gear replaced. We are hoping there has not been further damage to the wheel bearings.

Anyway, we are at a terrific campsite, the Great Falls KOA. This place must have been designed by a landscaper. There are flowers and vegetable gardens everywhere, planted in giant rock containers. The sites are separated by flowering and fruit trees and bushes, the flower beds are interspersed with tomato, pepper, corn, etc. plants and campers are encouraged to eat the fruit as it ripens. There is a nature trail that overlooks miles of Montana spring wheat fields. I bet they must plant at least as many annuals here as they do at the Cascade gardens in Banff. Yesterday they were working on several new rose gardens. The shower facilities each have a separate room, complete with toilet, sink, shower, benches, heat lamp, and lots of hooks for clothing. In the shower building there are 8 separate rooms and along the inside corridor there are more flowers and potted trees. The whole site is equipped with a drip watering system that waters all the trees and shrubs.

The pool area is a kids dream with three water slides, two 20 foot shower falls, one shaped like a sunflower, a wading pool and two stainless steel hot tubs.

Yesterday we went to the Charles Russell Museum. We had been there in 2003 but it was just as interesting to go again. They show his work in chronological order, and post information regarding how and why there were changes in his style over the years. Although he grew up in St Louis in a wealthy family, he came to Montana with an uncle when he was young and never left. He choose to work as a real cowboy for about 8 years, until he could support himself with his art work. Great take.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Rocky Mountain House, Alberta Canada

8/25 Rocky Mountain House- Waterton/Glacier

When we left Jasper National Park, we traveled south, back to the entrance for Banff, then east out into the foot hills to the town of Rocky Mountain House. This town is named after the fur trading forts built by the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company. Both companies built trading posts at this location in 1799 within a week of each other.

In Canada they called their fur trading stations “houses” not forts. At these houses the Indians brought their furs in to be traded for supplies, the “Voyagers” packed and transported the tons of furs back to the trading company’s headquarters in Montreal, picked up supplies for the houses and went back to the Rockies, all by canoe or York boats.

Rocky Mountain House is of particular interest because David Thompson used this house as a base during several of his expeditions. He was the famous surveyor who mapped most of the western Canadian mountains and rivers. He is reported to have traveled over 50,000 miles in canoes, horseback, or on foot making amazingly accurate maps during the 1790s through the early 1800. His goal while working for both trading companies was to find new routes and new tribes with which to trade. However, eventually he simply explored and made maps on his own.

Our first introduction to David Thompson was through the book Sources Of The River: Tracking David Thompson Across Western North America, by Jack Nisbet. This book recreates the life and times of Thompson from his journals and later memoirs. It is a great intro to this well known Canadian explorer.

The David Thompson National Historical Site has been constructed on the site of four trading houses. Currently the museum is undergoing a huge renovation and was closed but there is a self guided trail that has narrated stations describing the life of a “voyageur” and the daily duties at a trading post. There was also what they have named the “toy fort”, which is a small scale model of the last fort built here and abandoned in 1875. This weekend was Harvest Weekend so museum employees were in costume making porcupine quill and bead work designs, open fire cooking, and displaying the different animal furs that were traded at the houses.

Much credit is given to the Metis people for helping these fur traders learn to survive in the wilderness. The Metis were those of mixed European and Indian decent. The Hudson Bay company discouraged inter-marriage with natives but the North West Company realized what an asset these women were to the camp and supported such unions. At the museum today, a member of the Metis tribe cooked buffalo stew, bannock, which is a type of biscuit served with choke cherry jelly, and steeped Labrador tea for visitors to enjoy.

Two of the employees put on a wonderfully amusing puppet show all about the life of David Thompson. The puppets, one a French Canadian from the North West Company and the other an Englishman from the Hudson Bay company, told the story and poked fun their different attitudes and customs while in the process. It was a really fun show, interspersed with song and a sing along chorus for the audience.

Puppet theater and the puppeteers

Waterton/Glacier National Peace Park


From Rocky Mountain House we headed south in the general direction of Waterton/Glacier National Peace Park. On the way we found another enjoyable small town called Pincher Creek, so named for a pair of horse shoeing punchers used to trim horses hooves, that were found in a creek by an army officer in the 1800s. There was a great town campground with huge cottonwood trees, very few people a very low price. Our favorite kind. Pincher Creek is known as the wind capital of Canada. It is where the plains meet the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and there are windmills everywhere, taking advantage of the constant wind.

While we were in this area we visited “Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump” The museum was housed in a fantastic building that was built into the cliff. All you could see of the building from the outside was what looked like sections of layered rock poking through at various levels along the hillside.

The museum explained how the Indians pulled off the incredible task of luring the buffalo off the wide open planes, into their man-made chute that lead over the cliff. This was often a combined effort of several tribes in order to pool enough manpower and expertise. They spent days making the chute from piles of stones, dung, rock, and brush. They stationed people behind these barriers to keep the animals going in the right direction. For days, runners, some dressed in coyote skins, some in buffalo skins, slowly but persistently got the herd to move from the open country toward and into the chute. One wrong step and the entire process could go wrong.
Other exhibits described seasonal traditions and legends of the Black feet Nation, as well as dioramas showing archaeological methods and finds at this site. This particular buffalo jump was not ravaged by bone hunters looking to ship the phosphorus rich skeletons to fertilizer factories because it was too far from any railroad. Here there are still bone piles that are 36 feet deep. This jump is thought to have been used for as long as 6000 years.

Waterton/Glacier National Peace Park

Before we left Pincher Creek, a fellow camper recommended a campground just outside Waterton named Crooked Creek. Turned out to be a great place, just a couple of miles from the park, much more privacy than in Waterton Townsite, and half the price.

Our first excursion, after checking out the visitors center, was Red Rock Canyon where we took a very nice hike to Blakeston Falls and along the red rock canyon. In Jasper there are glaciers everywhere, in Waterton, there are waterfalls everywhere. Our canyon hike was along the upper edge, but there were several groups of teens down in the canyon, hopping from one pool to the next, enjoying every minute.

That afternoon we drove to Cameron Lake, another picture perfect glacial made lake. While at the boathouse we saw 4 or 5 large dark blue colored birds. I asked the clerk and was told they are Stellar Jays, and their home range is Waterton Park, Canada. They look larger than blue jays, with deep midnight blue colored feathers and a black head comb.

On the road back from the lake we saw, not one but three bears. The first two were high up on a hill that had 3 meadows separated by corps of aspen trees. The first bear, which we think was a grizzly, was in the 2nd meadow up the hill. The other, maybe a black bear, was in the 3rd meadow. He had found a patch of berries and was content to eat these as long as they lasted. We watched for quite a long time, then moved down the road about ½ mile and Marlin spotted another bear in a clump of berries about 30 feet off the road. We took about 50 pictures of him, of which maybe one or two are any good. Yeah digital.

Everywhere you go in Canada, there are signs warning about bears and the dos and don’ts, one of which is “Don’t get out of your car” While we were parked at the side of the road watching this very close bear, many other cars stopped and lots of the people got out of their cars, one guy brought his four year old, and walked between our car and the bear!

That night at the campground we had some new neighbors, who right off asked us to join them in a glass of home made Saskatoon Berry and Choke Cherry wine. These very social folks owned a ranch not far from Pincher Creek. We spent two nights at their campfire drinking their homemade wine, which he hauled out in one gallon jugs.

The next day we hiked to Bertha Falls. We choose not to take the camera because it was hot and what was “one more waterfall”. Of course it was a mistake. There were wonderful view points of Lower Waterton Lake, the falls were outstanding, and we saw this incredible little bird called a dipper, jumping in and out of the waterfall and the pools enclosed in the rock pockets. This fascinating bird feeds underwater on insect larvae. He actually dives underwater to feed. We were close enough, and he hopped up and down on the falls long enough that we could have had some great pictures. That is always when you see the best sights, when you don’t have a camera.

That afternoon we took the boat trip on Lower Waterton Lake. This lake has an average depth of 275 feet with its deepest point set at 487 feet deep. It has the classic long narrow shape that all these glacial lakes follow. Our young narrator on the boat entertained us with tales of his climbing feats on all the visible peaks. This lake crosses the international border and docks at Goat Haunt in the US, which is only accessible by this boat or a 30 mile hike over a couple of mountains.

After supper we went back to Red Rock Canyon Road and sighted five more bears along the road. The best show was on the golf course. A big black bear was enjoying the well tended grass while all the golf carts were scurrying for high ground.

Glacier Park

Glacier has started a new free shuttle bus service that travels over the “Going to the Sun” road. The buses run every 15 minutes, stop at all the places where you can hike from, so you can get off and on at your own pace. One of our drivers told us that they estimate this system has taken between 500 and 1000 cars off this road daily. The 500 number is if there are four people in the vehicle.

We came in on the Saint Mary’s Lake side and the buses were school bus size. When you get to Logan Pass, the transport is the size of a van. After traveling that portion of the road, it is easy to see why the reduction in vehicle size. The road, a marvel in itself, is just wide enough for two way traffic with constant hairpin turns with vertical rock walls on the inside and vertical drop offs on the outside. It takes two hours to make a one way trip with out any stops.

Going into Glacier, we had several hikes and special spots to visit all planned. We decided to take the complete Going to the Sun shuttle ride on the first day to help us organize our visit in the park. When we got up the next day we looked at our plans and realized we were in overload from all the grandeur we had been seeing over the past two weeks. We needed a vacation from our vacation. It was painful to pull away from Glacier Park without even one hike, but we knew we did not have any enthusiasm left at this point. So we packed up and went about 75 miles south east to Fort Benton, Montana.

Marlin at our Crooked Creek campsite

The Prince of Whales Hotel near the gate of Waterton/Glacier Park. This hotel was also built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad to attract tourists

Upper Waterton Lake. There three Waterton lakes. At one time they were all one lake but have been silted into three pieces over the years

Blakeston Falls

Far away bear

Close up bear

Cameron Lake, Waterton Park

A ram at Logan Pass, Glacier Park