Settled in at my desk at work and daydreaming, I am drawn to the live web cams at Glacier National Park, Montana. http://www.nps.gov/glac/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm . The longer I view the scenes and the tourists passing through the territory the more my heart aches and yearns for this part of the country. As the images play out I can literally feel the clean crisp mountain air blow against my face and through my hair. I can smell the pines and hear the whisper of wind through the trees and the lake waters ripple up on to shore.
The summer months have quickly passed and like so many Americans, the economic hardships have put the family summer vacation on hold for another year. I am still in denial and hoping by some form of miracle I will find my black Volvo pointed north towards “Big Sky” country loaded with luggage, snacks and the family.
The journey isn’t just about the experiences that take place at your ending point it is also composed of the conversations exchanged with one another and the images seen through the vehicle’s windows. I am always tempted to stop at all the historical markers and places of interest as well as pull off onto the lookout points and take the scenic byways. It would take a touch longer to arrive at our destination, but it would be well worth the drive. The bond and lessons learned on the trek is priceless. The memories cannot be captured on camera, but forever treasures in our hearts and minds.
I have spent almost every year of my youth passing through Glacier during the summer and seeing some of God’s most amazing landscapes. Logan’s Pass and the Going-to-the- Sun road are breathtaking. There isn’t a turn or bend in the road that aren’t magnificent.
As a child I found great fascination as I read the park’s information, guide brochures and bear warnings that were distributed at the park’s entrance. I was enthralled with the wildlife especially the enigma of the grizzly bear. My head was filled with adventurous stories that my Canadian uncles and cousins provided me over the years of their encounters with grizzlies in the Canadian Rockies. I would strain my eyes searching through the forests and the grassy terrains trying to capture a glimpse of the mighty Ursus arctos horribilis. I thumbed through the many books written and gazed at the pictures at the ranger stations and bookstores. To this day I am still eager to see the distinctive hump between the shoulders of the mighty grizzly.
Another feature that the park offers is the magnificent lodges. I’ve longed to stay at one of the many inns that Glacier provides. My favorite being Many Glacier Lodge tucked between Mount Henkel and Grinnell Point next to Swiftcurrent Lake. The hotel was built in 1915 by the great northern railroad for the many tourists passing through. It is built in a Swiss Chalet style. It is the largest hotel in the park offering 214 rooms. The Ptarmigan Restaurant at the hotel offers large picture windows looking towards the panoramic peaks and the glass lake. There is also the option of sitting at the Interlaken Room lounge enjoying a drink or light snack. The hotel also provides box lunches for those days you choose to be out exploring the park.
Some of the park’s best photos can be taken from this point where mountain goats, bighorn sheep and bears frequent. The large hotel lobby is a cozy setting for viewing the mountainous backdrop, mingling, reading or writing postcards.
Glacier National Park is like no other place on earth. Slow down your pace and savor each waterfall, rugged peak, wild flower and animal. In exchange you will capture serenity in its purest form in this heavenly site.
For more information about the Glacier National Park and its lodgings visit http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm and http://www.nationalparkreservations.com/info/glacier/?gclid=CMD-__SysaoCFSU0QgodJViL-Q.
You may also contact the park by mail at Glacier National Park, Park Headquarters, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59936 or by phone (406) 888-7800 Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) (406) 888-7806.