At Glacial Speed

You might remember that in 2009 we were pretty frustrated by all the crowds at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (aka “Glacier National Park”). When we returned in 2010, we decided to take a different approach.

We focused on trails toward the western entrance of the park, turning off the beaten path to seek some alternative hikes. Our efforts were rewarded!

Rocky Point, past Apgar Village, wasn’t as popular as hikes along Going to the Sun Road, probably because access is from a narrow, gravel road, and for another reason, which I’ll get to in a minute…

First, the nature hike portion of the trail provides some of the best views you’ll find anywhere in the entire park…

…and the interpretive signs explain the wildfires that swept through the area on August 10, 2003:

Which is the second reason I believe few people venture along this edge of Lake McDonald: from the other side of the lake, the area still looks pretty ravaged and — quite honestly — unappealing, if you’re looking for pretty views along a trail.

But here’s the trick: when you’re walking in it, you’re looking at the scenery across the way, where the forest wasn’t reduced tree stalks, leaving stunning panoramas!

And those spindly trees can create an unusual “curtain” effect that sets off the landscape in a special way:

Flowers burst all along the trail:

Critters scurried about, big…

…and small…

…including this female Spruce Grouse…

…who was keeping an eye on her chicks (two in this shot, can you see both?):

This female American Kestrel almost went unnoticed on her perch…

…and we might have missed this family of three Black-Backed Woodpeckers pounding at the burned bark of this tree if the falling pieces of burnt bark hadn’t caught our attention. Amazingly oblivious in our presence, they entertained us for as long as we wanted to stand and watch:

Hiking the same trail several times during our month-long stay meant we saw flowers bloom and fade, and caught the lake in several moods, including this gray day which revealed an entirely different beauty:


About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Birds, Cool Experience, Flowers, Hiking, Insects, National Parks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to At Glacial Speed

  1. Katherine LaFleur-Wilson says:

    Hello RV Travelers!
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful travel adventures with me. I’m blown away by the great photography photos! Amazing and breath taking!

    Hope you two are having the greatest time ever! If you ever are around Belleville, Michigan….. Pop on in.. I’d love to see you again Ellen and meet your sweetie!

    Kathy and Steve

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