Into the West 2012 - Part 8

Part Eight of Into the West is the continuation of a multi-part series that chronicles the journey that Shelley and I embarked on in late August and early September of last year.  A journey that covered over 5,000 miles, seven states, and two provinces of Canada over the course of about two weeks.  If you missed any of the previous parts click here to get caught up.

Day Ten

Once more our company of four started out from the cabin in West Glacier, Montana into Glacier National Park.  Our goal was to make it to Logan Pass as our first stop on this, our second and final day in Glacier National Park.

Heavens Peak
We made it as far as Heavens Peak.  This was decidedly a much better time of day to photograph the peak, with the sun just reaching over the Continental Divide.

Heavens Peak, Glacier National Park

Logan Pass, Day Two in Glacier National Park

We then proceeded to Logan Pass. Our group walked around the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center area taking in the scenery and the beauty of the pass.

Flowers from Logan Pass, Glacier National Park (Shelley)

We then drove east from the pass on Going-to-the-Sun Road until we came to a pullout near Cataract Creek.  We pulled in here to view the U-shaped Valley, otherwise known as a ‘glacial trough.’

U-shaped Valley Looking East from Logan Pass, Glacier National Park


One thing I feel that I need to point out for those who do not know-Shelley is not just a good photographer, but a Geologist by trade.  So I rely on her to inform me about things like that, even though I took a geology class when engaged in my undergraduate studies.  While we were putting away the tripods, someone noticed two Big Horn Sheep rams head-butting each other up the valley.

Well, needless to say that with three of us pointing cameras and lenses in the direction of the rams it didn’t take long for a large group to gather.  And while it is written in every handout that was given to each of us in each of the National Parks that we visited on our trip, leave it to one guy to want a closer look at the event.  It’s not a zoo, there are no fences, and all of the animals are wild; and yes this includes the human animals.  Is it wrong that I keep shooting thinking, gee if he gets himself hurt I’ll have the money shot for the evening news?  I don’t think so.

What Not to Do in the Wild, Glacier National Park

Jackson Glacier Overlook

We continued on our journey for the day, the next stop being the Jackson Glacier Overlook.  From the overlook you can see in the distance what remains of the Jackson Glacier.  The glacier is located on the north face of Mount Jackson and prior to 1929, was joined to the Blackfoot Glacier.  The Jackson Glacier covered 250 acres, when last measured in 2005.

Jackson Glacier, Glacier National Park (Shelley)


Sun Point Nature Trail and Picnic Area

After stopping at the Jackson Glacier Overlook, we drove further east on Going-to-the-Sun Road until we came to the Sun Point Nature Trailhead parking area where there just happened to be a picnic area.  The four of us stopped for lunch and to check the map. When Shelley and I were in the planning stages for this ‘whirlwind tour of the west’, I had the hopes of seeing a large number of the waterfalls in both Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  But the reality is that the amount of time that we had in each location would not allow for this.  In addition to the fact that hiking at altitude is different then hiking in the Kansas City metro area; we are in fact ‘flat landers’.  On this second day in Glacier National Park we did indeed hike though.  We hiked out to Sun Point, where there is a marker which points out all of the peaks and mountains that are visible.

Sun Point, Glacier National Park

The following few photographs give views of Saint Mary Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Goat Mountain

Goat Mountain, Glacier National Park

While our group was shooting and walking around the point, Shelley captured this beautiful photograph of Saint Mary Lake and the mountains.

Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park (Shelley)

It was then decided that we could not pass up making a group photograph in this great place.  Leave it to three photographers to not only make one, but many.

Baring Falls

And then it was on to Baring Falls, which was the closest of the waterfalls along the hiking trails of Saint Mary Lake.  After hiking down the trail we spent at least 40 minutes walking around and shooting photographs of the falls.

Baring Falls, Glacier National Park

After our group finished enjoying Baring Falls we hiked back to the car, and along the trail I noticed how different the quality of the light was.  This led me to stop at different places on the trail and shoot a few frames just to show the trees in the forest.

Hiking Trail from Bering Falls to Sun Point Trailhead, Glacier National Park

Saint Mary Lake

Once back at the vehicle we returned to Going-to-the-Sun Road and headed east.  It wasn’t long before we saw a small island out in the lake.  Once we located a pullout Shelley, Clint, and I walked back to the clearing and started shooting.  I actually followed a little trail down closer to Saint Mary Lake. I was hoping to get closer to the level of the lake water, but it just was not possible at this location.  The island is called Wild Goose Island, and Shelley said that it reminded her of Wizard’s Island in Crater Lake National Park (although not volcanic in origin).

Saint Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island, Glacier National Park

Rising Sun

The Rising Sun area was our next stop on this day.  Shelley took off her shoes and walked in the water.  This area contained a boat launch on Saint Mary Lake.

Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

Bear in the Berry Patch

After leaving the boat launch area we continued on our eastward journey along Going-to-the-Sun Road and about halfway to the park’s eastern entrance we came upon a group of vehicles that were pulled off to the side of the road across from a berry patch.  This was the first bear that we saw on this trip.

Bear in a Berry Patch, Glacier National Park

Many Glacier Hotel

After watching and photographing the bear eating his afternoon snack, we continued eastward on Going-to-the-Sun Road to the east entrance.  From there we traveled north outside of Glacier National Park to Many Glacier Road.  Many Glacier Road follows Swiftcurrent creek back into a valley where Many Glacier Hotel sits on the shoreline of Swiftcurrent lake. The hotel was built in 1914 and 1915 by the Great Northern Railroad.  Many Glacier Hotel is largest hotel within the borders of Glacier National Park.  It contains 208 rooms and is located near many trailheads, which if you are in good enough shape, will allow access to any part of the park.

Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park


The Red Buses at Sundown

After photographing and walking around the upper portions of Many Glacier Road, we headed back out of Glacier National Park and went south along US highway 89 to St. Mary, Montana for dinner before heading back to the cabin for our final night.  After eating dinner in the fading light of day, I walked across the road to make a photograph of the setting sun over the mountain peaks of Glacier National Park with the traditional iconic Red Jammer Buses in the foreground.

Red Jammers in a Line, Glacier National Park