We were one of the lucky ones, who arrived before 6:30 in the morning, to grab a campsite as soon as the current camper decided to break camp and leave for their next destination. It was a beautiful site, in Rising Sun Campground, that nestled up to a steep granite wall with clinging shrubs and crisscrossing paths from the bears traveling berry bush to berry bush. Encircling our campsite was a thicket of thimbleberry bushes providing a nice hedge of privacy as well as tasty berry treats for snacking and on top of yogurt. All of these ripe berries are what brought the bears into camp early in the morning and later as the sun set.
We couldn’t wait to continue our exploring. Our next hiking destination was the Many Glacier area. On our drive there, just a short hike from the road, was another gorgeous waterfall racing through the gorge to cascade downward.
Colorful wildflowers hugged both sides of the road.
Many times as we drove along the roads, we would meet the iconic Red Jeeps of Glacier National Park. These 17-passenger jeeps were built by the White Motor Company between 1936 and 1939 and have become symbolic of Glacier National Park. Refurbished from the originals and now running on propane, the roll-back tops provide 360-degree views of the towering mountains. They come complete with an informative driver dressed in the period clothing from which the jeeps originated.
In 1914-1915, the Great Northern Railroad built Many Glacier Hotel that boasts gorgeous views of Swiftcurrent Lake. This area is called the “Switzerland of North America.“ The Ptarmigan Dining Room in the hotel is named after the jagged mountain ridge, Ptarmigan Wall, directly to the left of the sloping, treeless topped mountain on the right side of this photo.
Overflowing window boxes, with flowers fueled by the long hours of summer daylight, adorned each window of the bottom level of the five-floored hotel. Even though the hotel was under construction repairs, the hotel was quite pretty and provided a step-back in time.
Center-stage in the stunning view from the hotel is Grinnell Point.
The glaciers visible from the lake’s edge are small remnants of the large glaciers that once carpeted these mountains. Due to global warming, only 25 of the original 150 glaciers remain with most scientists predicting that the glaciers will probably be completely gone within the next ten years. The disappearance of the glaciers will have a drastic affect on the plants and wildlife of the park.
This is a slightly different view of the alpine lake and the mountain ranges to the right of Grinnell Point. The tall mountain in the middle, at 9311 feet, is Mt. Wilbur.
The sparkling, bluish-green, glacier-fed Sherburne Lake, with mountains seeming to rise right out of the water, was absolutely mesmerizing. We had to stop and soak in the spectacular scenery.
A plethora of berry bushes, adorned in red to purple flowers, blanket the sunny meadow areas. The huckleberry bush below is a favorite of the bears.
We were delighted to observe a large black bear foraging in the middle of the day, stripping the bushes clean of berries.
Our short trip to Glacier was coming to an end. We were excited for tomorrow, to drive east to west, through this magnificent “Crown of the Continent” as we left the national park on the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.