Glacier National Park is HUGE, and the shortest and most scenic way to get from West Glacier to East Glacier is on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which cuts right through the middle of the park. But a few days before we had arrived in Glacier they had 3 feet of snow at the higher altitudes, and an avalanche had closed the road indefinitely. I was pretty bummed since it seemed like most of the cool stuff we wanted to check out was accessible by that road. Darn it.
But the park rangers, who are some of the nicest and most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met, told us that while cars couldn’t use the Going-to-the-Sun road, we could take a free shuttle to a spot pretty high up and hike the road almost all the way to where the avalanche had happened. And so today, that is exactly what we did.
One ranger had told us that he had just been up there yesterday, that it was really cold, and that we should bring warm clothes to avoid hypothermia. So this morning we stuffed a big back-pack with jackets, hats, gloves, lunch, and water, and headed to the visitors center to catch a shuttle. Unfortunately about a hundred other people had the same idea, and the shuttles only fit 15 people, so we had to wait a couple of hours before we finally all got onto a shuttle. And as we were waiting, the weather started changing. No longer was it in the mid 60s and overcast, it was now creeping up into the 80s and sunny. Hooray!
The shuttle dropped us off at a scenic spot a ways up, and we hopped out and immediately found a nice place to eat our lunch. All of the waiting for the shuttle really worked up our appetites! Then we started hiking up the road. And it was incredible. Walking is really the right pace for this road, so you can really take it all in – the mountain range, the “weeping walls” and waterfalls, the flowers and the wild-life, and the marvel of engineering that this road itself is.
We had a huge pack full of warm clothes that never came out of the pack, which Nadine insisted on carrying herself the whole way. (She is such an amazing and determined little girl!) I don’t know how she did it. Miles and Todd, on the other hand, walked most of the road without the shirts on, blinding us with all that white skin. So much for hypothermia! Here are some shots from our day: