Friday, October 05, 2012

Going-to-the-Sun Road

Leaving Great Falls, Montana on September 16, we drove to Glacier National Park, arriving at the Mountain Pine Motel in East Glacier Park, Montana about 12:30 PM. Ninety-year-old Doris, whose son, Terry, owns the facility, checked us in, then proceeded to share her wisdom on what we should see during our visit. She advised us to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road that day if we possibly could, saying that a section of the road was scheduled to close for the season the next day.

Well, that same section had been closed when we were in Glacier two years ago, and we really wanted to see it. So we carried our things into the room, ate the lunch sandwiches that we had brought with us, and headed out to drive Going-to-the-Sun, arguably the most amazing highlight of Glacier National Park. It's an engineering marvel, spanning 50 miles (80 km) through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides, and treating visitors to some amazing views.

Following are some scenes from our drive that day.
Saint Mary Lake, the second largest lake in Glacier National Park

Wild Goose Island on Saint Mary Lake
For a bit of Montana Folklore on how the island got it's name, click on this link:

A Mountain View on Going-to-the-Sun Road

A view from Going-to-the-Sun, on the west side of the park

Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park
It was getting on toward dusk by the time we had driven the full length of Going-to-the-Sun Road, and then followed a more southerly route back to East Glacier Park. About a mile and a half before reaching the little town, we saw a bear loping across an open area, preparing to cross the road in front of us. Doug stopped the car, and I fumbled for my camera; but the bear wasn't inclined to pose for pictures. It turned tail and disappeared into some brush. We waited and watched for five minutes or so, but it didn't make another appearance.
Does it count if you see a bear but don't have a photograph to prove it?
More of Glacier National Park to come.


  1. Hi There, We have a VERY busy weekend since my son is getting married..... Should be TERRIFIC.

    I almost missed this post. Glad I didn't... Love the photos. That place is awesome --and perfect for good photography. Your first two shots are fabulous. Should frame them.

  2. it always counts if you see a bear! :)

    I love all your photos
    Lake MacDonald is amazing

  3. I always enjoy your photos and commentary. You remind me of what a magnificent country we live in.

  4. oh my word, those views are spectacular! the last one took my breath. perfection.

  5. Seeing the bear counts even if you don't get a photo. I'm glad you were able to drive Going-To-the-Sun Road on this visit -- you got some amazing photos. We're definitely going to have to make it to Glacier.

  6. Wow! These pictures are amazing. I have ben through that area,and the Going to the sun Highway. I remember that the sheer cliff up on one side and the drop on the other made me a little uncomfortable. No,I was scared all the way through.I think it would be different now since I would be getting lots of pictures.

  7. LOL, Linda, I believe you! Be glad the bear didn't stick around to terrorize you or try to get food!

    These pics are absolutely breathtaking! You must be thrilled that you were able to see this section before it was closed. What lens did you use for these shots? Holy cow, they are awesome! In fact, I'm going to click to view them larger.

  8. nice to see the reamainder of what is left of the glaciers. I hope they recover well. There are 3 train stops in this huge park.

  9. Of course it counts. You just have to know how to label them - Mental Snapshots.

  10. Of course it counts and we have your word for it. :)

    It would have been such a pity if you came a day later, the section was closed and you couldn't follow the road, there are great views from the Going-to-the-Sun Road. What a name for the road... promising, isn't it? The scenes are breathtaking and the story of Wild Goose Island utterly romantic.

    1. Thanks, Petra. Yes, we would have hated to have missed that section of the road. I had wondered about the name of Wild Goose Island, so I searched the internet and found that bit of folklore. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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