Our quick two-day stay at Glacier ended way to quickly. We were to arrive in the Seattle area before nightfall and had a good 9-10 hour drive ahead of us. First though, we were leaving the park via a sensational, awe-inspiring drive. One of the most famous mountain roads in the United States is Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 50 mile road crosses the Continental Divide and spans the park from east to west. Construction of the road began in 1921 and was completed 11 years later. It was an engineering feat. It is the first to be registered in National Historic Places, National Historic Landmarks, and Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.
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.
August 25th is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. In 1916, Woodrow Wilson established the National Park Service by signing the Organic Act into law. The purpose was to, “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
What better way to celebrate than by looking at a true treasure and one of our nations most beautiful national parks, Glacier National Park. In 1910, President Taft signed the bill creating Glacier the 10th National Park. In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Parks in Canada and Glacier National Park were joined together and named the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. In 1995 it was designated the first World Heritage Site. We were fortunate to be able to visit there this summer for two short days. It is a spectacular park with towering rugged mountains, sparkling turquoise lakes, thick green forests, beautiful vanishing glaciers, colorful alpine flowers and home to the big eight of wild mammals – grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions, wolves, wolverine, mountain sheep, moose and mountain goats.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The Earth laughs in flowers.” This spring, it is definitely having a good belly-laugh ! Each day, something new begins blooming.
Besides the springtime flowers making remarkable growth, the weeds are, too. This milkweed in the above picture is testament to that fact. Actually, I always leave a generous spattering of milkweed in the garden for the monarch caterpillars to eat and on which to lay their eggs.
Our last day on Orcas Island. Sunday morning was misty with occasional rain. Our plan was to have breakfast on our balcony, pack-up, and then go back to Eastsound to the bookstore before getting on the ferry for our return to the mainland. We had fresh squeezed orange juice, a yogurt parfait with strawberries and granola, pumpkin bread and scones. The Blue Heron Bed & Breakfast had been a wonderful home away from home. I know Carrol and Bogdan are looking to retire and have their beautiful home up for sale. I hope someone as friendly, professional, and accommodating buy it and run it as well as they do.
An afternoon of shopping on Orcas Island was perfect for a girl’s weekend out! It was a treat of unique stores, yummy food, and spectacular scenery. We decided as soon as we got back to the bed & breakfast, that we would eat just a little cheese and fruit to tide us over until we got back to town to find a cafe. My daughter had to use the internet to work for a tiny bit, so I took off to explore the water’s edge just across the road.
Day 2 had us on our way back to Moran State Park. It was a quick drive through beautiful pastoral farms as we headed for Cascade Falls. The friendliness of the island is present everywhere from friendly waves to fresh eggs left on the side of the road. No price marked, just leave a donation.