Majestic Glacier!

Every National Park has a personality.

If you’ve visited any of the parks, you know what I mean.  Some are easy to figure out–

When I visited Yosemite a couple of years ago, I was struck by the sweeping, almost romantic views of El Capitan and the Half Dome.  Yosemite is a tender beauty, with meadows full of luscious wildflowers and grasses fed by spectacular waterfalls.  She is California’s Golden Girl.

During a quick Yellowstone visit last year, I felt the raw, hot power of our planet’s core.  Steaming geysers and boiling, pungent hot springs penetrate the earth’s crust as bison graze nearby, seemingly oblivious to the danger.  Yellowstone is a Red-faced, Muscled Blacksmith, pounding away on his anvil.

Since we arrived at Glacier National Park on Wednesday, I’ve been trying to ascertain its personality.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  •  Glacier is in grizzly and mountain lion country.  Everywhere you go, signs warn you about the bears. Bear spray is for sale in all the park concession stores.  We got caught up in a ‘Bear Jam’ on the road to Many Glacier this morning as a mama grizzly and her cub climbed on the cliff above the road.  I’ve never seen a grizzly before and she was high above, safe from us….and we were reasonably safe from her.

MamaBaby“See those people down there, Junior?  Stay away from them, OK?”

  • The glaciers are melting and will not be here by 2020–that’s only 4 years from now.  We wanted to see them before they were gone, which is why we prioritized our visit.  They are wondrous.


The view across Lake Sherborne in the Many Glacier area

  • The main road through the park, Going to the Sun Road, is not for amateurs, or those afraid of heights.  I loved the beauty of the road but I am afraid of heights.  Enough said.


Don’t look down!

  • Glacier was purchased from the Blackfeet Tribe in 1895, who have a large reservation just east of the Park.  They no longer have hunting and timber rights.  Lack of access to the land has affected the culture of the tribe.  More information about the effect on the tribe is here.  A particularly sacred area is St. Mary’s Lake, located near our campground.  Here is a spectacular view of an island that is a topic of Native American folklore–Wild Goose Island, a tiny spit of land in the middle of the lake.


Wild Goose Island, St. Mary’s Lake

  • Glacier is filled with heart-stompingly cold aquamarine rivers and lakes, fed by spectacular waterfalls that cascade from cliffs over 1000 feet high.


Cascades near the lodge at Many Glacier


Frigid glacial pools near Red Rock Point offer relief from the heat of the afternoon

…and an opportunity to fulfill a dare.

  • Everywhere we turned, there were astoundingly scenic views.


View from the Many Glacier Lodge across Lake Sherborne


Incredible sky near the Many Glaciers Lodge


View across Lake St. Mary’s

So….What is Glacier’s personality, you ask?  

Well, I think Glacier is a Proud, Majestic Native American.  He’s as strong as a huge mountain, thrives in  freezing rivers and values the land in its rugged, natural state.  His culture (and the glaciers) are threatened by the changes brought by modern man and his conveniences.   We can see the glaciers melting right before our eyes and heard stories of the effect of the loss of the land on the local Native American population.

We leave St. Mary’s Campground tomorrow to head west.

I’ve enjoyed our stay and wish we could stick around, but all the sites are reserved and the walk in sites at the other campgrounds at the park are hard to get.


Our campsite at St. Mary’s campground.  

That’s a box to keep food away from the bears in front of the camper.

We’ve got many options that we’re thinking about, so the next post will be from a surprise location.  One thing…it will have good Verizon coverage so Rob can work.

There are many other opportunities for great camping in Montana and we want to find at least one more!


  1. Martha Goudey | 23rd Jul 16

    Beautiful photos. Liked hearing about your experiences in Yellowstone as we are set on going there Next year. Your descriptions are lovely.

    • Stella | 23rd Jul 16

      Thanks Martha! We are headed to Yellowstone again next June to spend some time with friends who visit for several weeks every year. They have promised to show us some really special places. I hope you have a great time. Will you be camping?

  2. Mark D. Szabo | 23rd Jul 16

    You’re a wonderful writer Ruste.

    • Stella | 23rd Jul 16

      Thanks Mark! You’re a wonderful bass player and delightful friend!

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