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View Diary: Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 10.24 (264 comments)

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  •  It's time to escape (29+ / 0-)

    From our hot smokey valley, and escape to the hot smokey valleys and mountains of Glacier National Park. Leaving Mrs. Ed and the labradogs behind on Tuesday, this would be a solo trip with just me and the van camper. As with all good adventures, things begin to go off the rails just one hour into the drive north up the east side of the Continental Divide. US Highway 287 is closed north of Augusta, Montana for bridge repairs, forcing me to detour east and add one hour to the drive to Glacier. This will turn out to be a costly hour.

    I pull into St. mary's on the east side of Glacier Park just before 11AM. The ranger at the entrance station says Rising Sun and St. Mary's Campgrounds have just filled up, but the campgrounds further south might still have openings. Off I go to tiny Cutbank Campground, which has two sites open, neither of which the camper van will fit into. Trundling further south to Two Medicine Campground, I pull in at 12:30PM, just as the CAMPGROUND FULL sign goes up. Finally I reach Summit Campground on Marias Pass outside the park at 1:30PM and secure a site, although this campground will fill up two hours later. Whew, what a wild drive.

    Early the next morning, I decide to give up getting into the east side of the park, and hurry over to the west side just in time to secure a decent campsite at Apgar at 8:30AM. Ah summertime in crowded Glacier!

    Early Thursday morning, I'm up before dawn fixing a quick lunch and packing my daypack for a trip to Logan Pass. I hoof it quickly over to the Apgar transit center at 6:20AM and am the tenth person in line for the first shuttle at 7AM to Logan Pass. By 7AM, nearly a hundred people are in line for the free buses.

    The Going to the Sun Road rises steeply to the crest of the Continental Divide, with Logan Pass in cloud as we reach the soon to be crowded parking lot at 8AM.

    The mid to late summer wildflowers are out, such as this Monkey Flower, which I seem to photograph every year in the same place just west of the visitor center.

    The white umbels of Pearly Everlasting seem to glow in the mist.

    After about an hour, the clouds begin to burn off, revealing the surrounding peaks like Mt. Reynolds.

    Hiking up to the Hidden Lake Overlook, the viewing platform is occupied by this Mountain Goat licking salt off of the wooden railing.

    I head east off the main trail and away of the increasing hordes of dayhikers toward Mt. Reynolds. There are a few patches of diminutive Glacier Lilies still in bloom, which are more of a late Spring early Summer wildflower.

    Scattered in the brilliantly blooming meadow are the blooms of Wild Onion and Indian Paintbrush.

    I run into a small patch of tiny Elephant's Head flowers, with a yellow Sulfur Paintbrush off to one side.

    Going off trail for a while, I discover dozens of small waterfalls surrounded by large blooms of Alpine Heather. Here is where I need the Expedition Photographer Mrs. Ed with her better camera skills to capture the full extent of these large fields of blooms.

    Hidden from the trails above to the west, is this famous waterfall at the base of Mt. Reynolds, carved out of the dark red siltstone. What a treat!

    I stumble back to the shuttle bus and get back to camp at 3PM, exhausted and hot but glad a got a brief glimpse of the alpine wildflower bloom. We might be campground hosts up in the park one summer and get to spend more time experiencing the wonders of Glacier.

    "I come close to despair because so many of the pieces of the country are broken, and when you see that, you have two choices: You can give up, or you can do something about it." Elizabeth Warren

    by Ed in Montana on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 06:38:31 AM PDT

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