Saturday, October 20, 2018

We have been to Montana almost every year since 2003 but only in August and early September.  So, this last Winter we found Montana, especially Glacier National Park, STUNNING!!!  Well, Spring with the thousands of Wildflowers, was just as Stunning!!!  And Summer was AWESOME, but we were much more familiar with  Summer.  WELL, AUTUMN is SPECTACULAR!!!!

If you are thinking of coming out for a visit,  Think Autumn!!  Particular mid-October.

This is the FIRST Blog that I have written in a Timely manner.  You know that Time and I do not get along at all.  Yesterday we went across US-2 to the East side of Glacier National Park.  The Larch trees turn golden in the Fall and then rusty brown  (they have needles, not leaves) and loose their needles.  The contrast of the yellow gold and dark green of the Pines and Firs is awesome.  Some of the Aspen still have golden leaves, some have lost theirs as they started turning in late September.

The 50 miles from West Glacier to Maria's Pass is Stunningly Beautiful.  There are many pull-off's along US-2 and we take advantage of them.  The scenery is Awesome year around, but this is the first time we have seen the beauty of the Fall Larch trees.

Some of the Aspen have not yet lost their leaves and are brilliant golden yellow.

Larch are a very tall tree with short limbs and make a statement in rising above the surrounding Forrest.

The US-2 follows the Middle Fork of the Flathead.  This is the view from the Paoli Creek access site.  This is a popular place to put in rafts and float down to West Glacier.  That is, in the Summer.  This time of year the water flow is low and you would spend much time dragging the raft over the shallows.

Just to show we were not hiking out in the wilderness, this is looking along US-2 near Essex, Montana.

Debbie is photographing on the other side of US-2.  It does not look like it, but a few feet in front of Debbie, it drops over 100 feet down to the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

Everywhere you look........  Just Awesome views!

Reflections in the Middle Fork of the Flathead.

As we continued on North of Maria's Pass to East Glacier Park and North on Montana 49 we come to an overlook of the Two Medicine Valley.  Rising Wolf Mountain is on the right, Sinopah Mountain (center), and to the far left is Painted Teepee.

Up close of Rising Wolf Mountain.  Not the tallest, but one of the largest mountains in Glacier.

Sinopah mountain rises above Two Medicine Lake.

At Kiowa, we get on Montana 89 and go through St. Mary and up to Babb.  We turn at Babb and it is 12 miles of rough road to Many Glacier.  Just as we get on the road to Many Glacier, there is a beautiful lake.  This lakes is maintained by Beavers.  There is a culvert under the road that the beavers keep blocked to maintain this water level.  A joint effort between the Road crews and the Beavers as the Road Crews created a special type of culvert so the Beavers would not back water over the road.  Not sure of the communication between the two, but they seemed to get a general understanding of the situation and it has worked well for the last many years.  We see some ducks and we think Loons nest on this lake.

Going into the Park, along a place called Two Dog Flats there is a backdrop of colorful mountains.  Debbie noticed a 'path' along the road up into the meadows just down the road from this view.  As we stopped to investigate it, (looked like a cow path and there are no cows in the Park) we found it was a well used path created by Elk coming down to the lake for water.  This is an area (Two Dog Flats) where a large herd of Elk winter.

Near the Junction to Many Glacier Hotel and the Swiftcurrent Motor Lodge the Aspen were spectacular.  Mount Wilber is in the background.

We pulled into the parking lot at the Swiftcurrent Motor Lodge (everything is closed at this time of the year) and sat in the car and ate a sandwich.  While eating we watched two herds of Big Horn Sheep on the mountain side above us.  Yes, they are tiny in these photos, but they are about 4,000 feet from us.  We also saw some Gray Jays and Magpies.  After we ate, I talked to a man with a spotting scope (we had forgot to bring ours) and watched three Grizzly Bears digging for Marmots and Ground Squirrels on the South slope of Mount Wilber.

Leaving Many Glacier we headed down to St. Mary and up the Going to the Sun Road to the Jackson Glacier Overlook.  The Going to the Sun Road is closed at the Jackson Glacier overlook for the Season.  At the pull-off's on the way back down, we watched Mountain Goats, Magpies and Stellar Jays.  The afternoon Sun was just hitting a strip on Jackson Glacier.

Near the Sun-Rift Gorge Debbie is looking at the chimney of a little one room cabin that had burned.  We have not been able to find any information about this cabin, but it may have been built before the Glacier National Park was formed in 1910.  It will be something we discuss with the Park historian.

From Along St. Mary Lake, Debbie took this photo of Divide Mountain.

As we got on Montana 89 and headed South to East Glacier Park, we came across the largest Black Bear that I believe I have ever seen.  It was Massive!!!  Very intimidating, as that fence would not even slow it down if it decided  that I looked like something to eat.

But I think it's curiosity got the better of it and it just sat down and looked (hungry) at me.

As we went on up the road, it's path came closer to the road and is showed no fear!  Notice the Massive Head............

Continuing on our way, we stopped for snacks and gas at East Glacier Park and headed home on US-2.  As I have said, anywhere you go around here, it winds up on US-2.

The evening Sun was highlighting the Larch for a beautiful drive home.

If you are thinking of coming out to Montana for a visit, we would very much suggest a trip out here in mid October!  You might think that is a little late as the Going to the Sun road is closed and you can't get across the Park on it, but the roads are open into many of the scenic places and the views along US-2 are spectacular!!!  This year the temperatures have been (for the last week) in the high 50's and low 60's and expected to be about that for the next week.  Lots of Sunshine!!!  Could be 4 or 5 days before seeing a cloud........

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