West Glacier National Park
After having clear weather on the East side of the park we struck low cloud, rain and thunderstorms during our days on the west side. On Saturday we were booked on a red bus tour to travel over the Going to the Sun Road as our camper was over the size limits. We had low cloud and early rain, but were able to have the roof open most of the day. These buses were built in the 1930’s and apart from a short break for safety upgrades in the ’90’s have been in continuous service.
The view over Lake McDonald as we began the tour was very moody.
The cloud continued in layers as we travelled up the mountains.
It was very apparent why there were size restrictions on vehicles traveling on the road.
When we reached the highest point at Logan Pass there was deep snow rifts and the Glacier Lillies were in bloom.
As we passed into the eastern section of the park we had to put the roof back in place as the rain began again, however by the time we had reached the Many Glacier Lodge for lunch it was clearing. This is a magical setting and our table was by the window with this view. Those who took their own lunch saw a moose swim across the lake, but this view makes up for missing that.
The lodge itself is very large and even though it is on the lakefront it seems to belong in this setting. This is the red bus parked out the front.
Returning to the west side the cloud began to clear a little and we could see up St Mary Lake to the surrounding mountains. However, it looked very different to the day we took the boat trip and hike.
The Going to the Sun Road has numerous waterfalls along its length, some very high and others very close to the road. On the western side there is a Weeping Wall which appears innocent from a distance but becomes much more interesting when you are passing under it on an open top bus.
The following day was also very wet with low cloud and thunderstorms. Towards mid afternoon it began to lift a little giving us an opportunity to visit some areas around Lake McDonald.
On this side of the park the vegetation is very lush and rainforest like (if one ignores all the fir trees).
In the more open areas, such as near the road, small maples grow. This one appeared to have a type of rust on the leaves.