Today felt like the first real day of vacation since we left. The sky was clear for the first time since leaving Seattle. The Sun was out and I actually needed to use my sunglasses. The West side of Glacier is still essentially shut down because of fires but some southerly winds overnight pushed most of the smoke and haze north of our place. We decided to take a crack at driving around the southern perimeter of the park and visit the East side. Turned into a longer day than expected but it was worth while. We visited both the Two Medicines and the St Mary’s visitor centers.
They had a very nice film about the history of the park and we were finally able to see the amazingly beautiful peaks of Glacier. It is really a very captivating view as you approach from the East. We were not able to see the glaciers up close but saw a couple from a distance. We will have to come back in the near future if we want a closer look. In 1850 there were 150 active glaciers in the region. Today there are only 25 and they are much smaller. The expectation is that the last glacier will disappear between 2020 and 2030. I would like to hear the explanation for that from those who deny global warming.
The other place I wanted to see was the Triple Divide Peak. This is a mountain that lies at the intersection of the North South US Continental divide through the Rockies and what is called the Northern divide. Rainfall on the West of the continental divide eventually flows to the Pacific Ocean. On the East it flows to the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Gulf, and the Atlantic Ocean. Rainfall to the North of the Northern divide flows to Hudson Bay and the Artic Ocean. Thus, at this peak, rainfall can flow to any of three different oceans just by the fact of which side of the line it falls on. This is the only triple divide with water flowing to three different oceans in the world. Unfortunately the peak is nowhere near the tallest in the park and other peaks block a view of it unless you do some back country hiking for at least 6 to 7 miles. We were not prepared to do that and could not have if we wanted to because hiking permits are very limited due to fires in the park right now. But I got close.
We did see a bit of nature though. Lot’s of flowers, beautiful clear lakes, many squirrels, and, with a short hike, a couple of beaver dams and lodges. But the best sight of the day was along a roadside seeing a very large herd of Bison on the move. I have seen Bison before but never even close to this many.
For the numbers, not much to report. Our license plate count is up to 35, 29 states and 6 Canadian Provinces. We put on about 200 miles but are back at our same place for one more day before heading East. Our little Prius is getting about 49 miles per gallon. We will be heading East in a day and then we will start adding on the miles, the states and the parks.