|Near the start of the Going to the Sun Road|
Two members of the Boone and Crockett Club, George Grinell and Henry Stimson, became enamored with the area between the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian reservations in the late 1800s so they got the club to spearhead efforts to preserve the area. They got help from the Great Northern Railway which had built a line through Marais Pass and wanted to promote tourism along the tracks. They were opposed for awhile by mining interests, but when it finally turned out there was nothing there worth mining, they were finally able to lobby congress to designate the area as Glacier National Park in 1910.
For 20 years the main way to reach the park was by rail, so Great Northern's lobbying dollars paid off handsomely, but by the 1930s vacationing by car was becoming the norm and in 1932 the Going to the Sun Highway was completed. We learned while we were still in Washington that the eastern half of the road was closed due to fires and the air was pretty smokey when we arrived at West Glacier, but when we drove into the park the next day we discovered that they had managed to open the Going to the Sun Road all the way through... sort of. You could drive all the way from West Glacier to St Mary, but on the eastern half of the road you were not allowed to stop your car and you "might" still see areas of smouldering or burning trees. Not knowing what to expect, we headed up the road.
It turned out to still be pretty impressive. The air was hazy but not as bad as Spokane or Missoula had been. And when you got near the summit (which took us about three hours) the scenery was truly gorgeous. We drove to the top and a few miles past, then decided we weren't really interested in seeing the burnt out eastern slope, turned back around and went back to West Glacier. The pictures can tell the rest of the story. Enjoy.
|Two Medicine Lodge|
|Rising Wolf Mountain at Two Medicine Lake|