Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Road Trip Out West - 2007 - Part Four

Continued from the previous post...

After visiting Mount Rainier National Park, we spent the night in Yakima, Washington.  The next morning, after leaving Yakima, we stopped at a viewpoint where we could still see Mount Rainier in the distance.

We once again crossed the Columbia River... this time much farther upstream than before.

We continued eastward, heading across the narrow, northern section of Idaho, and entering Montana.  Our destination was Kalispell near the western entrance to Glacier National Park.

That summer there were numerous forest fires raging through western Montana.  In this photo taken in Kalispell, those are not clouds on the horizon, but smoke from the fires.

The next day we drove across Glacier Park.  Most of this enormous park (16,000 square miles in size) is back country.  There is only one main road, the Going-to-the-Sun Highway.
It was built in the 1930s and was considered an engineering marvel.
Because of the nearby forest fires, the air was hazy.  I did not get many good photos of the spectacular scenery.


Glacier Park got its name because of the many glaciers on the mountain peaks.  Sadly the park's glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate due to climate change.  Only 37 glaciers remain, and it is predicted that they will have all disappeared by 2030.

About half way through the park is the Logan Pass Visitors' Center.  This is the trailhead for one of the most popular hiking trails, the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail.  It is a 2.7 mile round trip hike, and climbs 540 feet to an elevation of 7152 feet. 

The path is dominated by Mt. Reynolds.
Looking back along the trail that I had traveled
An alpine lake and meadow beneath Mt. Reynolds
This mountain goat was resting in the shade, and was not going to be scared away from his cool spot. I saw quite a bit of wildlife during this trip, but this was the only good photo that I managed to take.
The end of the trail, a panorama looking down at Hidden Lake
For the rest of our drive through the park, the haze was so bad that we did not even stop the car to take pictures.  We spent the night at East Glacier Village, just outside the park.  A few days before, the residents of the village thought that they might have to evacuate because of the fires.
We continued the long, boring journey home across the Great Plains.  We drove along Route 2, which crosses Montana not far from the Canadian border.  Montana is a huge state... the drive seemed endless.  We eventually got on Interstate 94, and then Interstate 90 and home.

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