Debbie took this one looking Southwest across Lake McDonald at the Apgar Mountains. What a Beautiful Fall Day!!!
This is looking Northeast at Mount Brown and the Lake McDonald Shore line.
No, this is not a Volcano, just the clouds created at the top of Mount Brown.
What a beautiful, Sunny day! Not bad for November 24th. The temperature was in the low 40's.
Views of the Mountain Tops are Awesome.
Last summer the pull-offs along the Going to the Sun Road along Lake McDonald were mostly closed as they were re-paving them. Not only did they re-pave them, they made some new ones and enlarged some of the old ones. One thing Debbie and I were really pleased with is they have made several access paths down to the lake shore from these pull-offs. This will be a big draw for many visitors to the Park next year, as there were very few places to get to the lake shore. Not much swimming in the lake though, the surface temperature rarely gets above 62 degrees. Burrrr!!!
About 10 miles up the Going to the Sun Road, we finally found some SNOW on the road. These photos are just typical scenes along the Going to the Sun Road in the winter months.
The first 10 miles of the road were clear of snow and all of our roads in the Valley are clear. This is NOT the usual late Autumn.
Anyway, we stopped at a pull-off and went down to the lake shore and got completely carried away taking photos. The frost on the leaves trimmed them out with silver...
This is in the shade, and underwater just to show how colorful the rocks are here in Glacier National Park.
You can tell by looking at this photo, the water in this lake is like drinking water. In late summer you can see the bottom where it is deeper than 50 feet. WOW!
We stopped along McDonald Creek several places to take photos and these are a few of what we were seeing.
Also we stopped at McDonald Falls and photographed it for a little while. There are two Falls on McDonald Creek and the McDonald Falls name has gone back and forth on these but now the Park Service has put up a new sign naming this one McDonald Falls. We will see if that sticks for a year or two until they go back to calling the other one McDonald Falls.
This one is just a close-up of the lower part of the Falls.
Driving along the Going to the Sun Road, you never know what you will come across. Witch's Hair Lichen grows where there is moisture and clean air. It gets it's nutrients from the rain and air. It is a long-lived perennial and sometimes may almost cover a tree.
The warm Sun was melting the snow and frost on the evergreens and it looked like rain under some of them.
Coming back down from Avalanche, we stopped and got out at some of the new pull-offs and walked down to the lake shore. There were a few more clouds overhead, but we did not notice.
I still can't get over the photos Debbie takes of me of my back side. I can't see my bald head in the mirror, so I always wonder who that person is!
There is nothing like a reflection of clouds in a clear lake.
Was I perplexed by the thoughts of how this lake exist, or was I just cold? Anyway, Lake McDonald is a deep lake, at 472 feet. It rarely freezes over. In the shallow ends of the lake ice may freeze out a mile or two, but the main body where it is deepest, almost never freezes over.
On our way home we went up the Camas Road to the North Fork Road and back into Columbia Falls. That is one of the most scenic roads that is really close to us. This waterfall is awesome the year around. It is on a North facing slope, so it has frozen already, most of the waterfalls and streams have no ice on them at all.
Looking across the North Fork of the Flathead River, the Mountains do have some snow, but not as much as usual for this time of year. These slopes were burnt over because of lots of fuel on the forest floor from a previous fire in 2003 and the heat scorched the earth. It will take decades to recover. When fires burn so hot that the seed bed is destroyed it requires things like the Clark's Nutcracker to 're-plant' trees across the region.
The Clark's Nutcrackers 'hide' a lot of seeds throughout the Summer, Audubon estimates that they may each 'plant' 30,000 seeds or more each year (in the late Summer and Fall) and don't remember where they put them all. They can carry 90 or so in a 'pouch' under their tongue. We suppose they remember where they 'hide' most of them, but sometimes something happens to a bird and that leaves thousands of seeds 'planted' over a large area. Over time we gain a new forest.
The Clark's Nutcracker feeds it's young on the seeds it has stored over the previous Summer. We don't think about Pine seeds having much 'food value' but ounce for ounce the Whitebark Pine seeds have more calories than Chocolate! So, should we eat Pine nuts??? Some people cook with Pine Nuts, so what do you think? You want to go on a hike and eat some pine cones??? I think I will pass. I will go for the Chocolate instead....