Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Going to the Sun


I haven't climbed many mountains in my life, but I did get the chance to climb a mountain in a car once. The road is aptly named "Going-to-the-Sun Road" in Glacier National Park.


My brother Justin and his family moved to Kalispell, Montana about a year ago for a job and as part of our visits out West we got to visit Glacier National Park, which is not far from his home (a cool place to live don't you think?!). He was so nice to show "his park" to my sister Whitney and I as we spent a few days visiting them.

Going-to-the-Sun Road in a precarious road built on the side of a mountain in the 1920's and 30's and climbs up to 6,600 feet. With hairpin turns and few guardrails it is quite a thrilling ride, and the panorama cannot be beat. I can see now how mountain climbers can get addicted. The views were breathtaking!






At the highest point in the road is a visitor's center. It's only open a few months out of the year (as most of the year it is covered in deep snow!).










Once at the top, we couldn't resist the urge to go on a hike through the snow.




Wildflowers! Up on the top of the world! My dad loves wildflowers so we were all thinking of him.













Glacier is in so many ways "other-worldly" in July. The glaciers are melting from the summer heat and there is pure glacial water flowing down every road, every rock, every crevice. It was so magical to be up on the top of the mountain hiking through the snow one minute then end the hike on dry ground as the snow drip drip drips onto the sidewalk. Every week there is less snow on the top, and by the end of the summer that hike won't even have snow on it at all. As you drive down the mountain you pass under the 'weeping wall'  sprinkling glacial water into your open car windows, and then at the bottom you see the swiftly flowing waterfalls and creeks where all those drops have accumulated. It was just riveting to see the whole cycle in just a few hours at the park and ponder on the marvel of the way our earth works.







One little fun anecdote. Ben stayed behind at the visitor's center with Cheyenne (the other kids stayed home with Aunt Kelsey) while the rest of us hiked through the snow. Our hike ended up being much longer than we anticipated, so we were taking bets to decide how many stuffed animals Ben would have bought Cheyenne by the time got back as she wore him down all the time we were gone. We ended up with just one, and 'Beary' is our one token from that beautiful day in Glacier!

 one of the (many!) photos they took while they were waiting 😉





 

I can't thank our tour guide enough! Glacier will forever be etched in my memory. I hope we can go back someday!

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