6/23/2019 4 Comments
Riding the Big Red Bus
We have been having such a great time in and around Glacier National Park for over a week. We had not driven over to the east side of the park, and I've always wanted to ride that Red Bus, so we killed 2 birds with one stone! Our 6 hour tour started at St. Mary's Lodge at 10AM. We left our campsite at 7AM and didn't have much spare time. It's a long drive from where we were on Hungry Horse Reservoir, combined with some road construction waits, lots of curves and hills and valleys so I'm glad we allowed enough time! These Red Buses have been in operation for a long time, and you can read the history here.
We saw many beautiful spots, I've shown an assortment below. There was a fresh dusting of snow on the peaks from the night before. The eastern side of the park feels a little more remote, somehow, to me. There are great peaks and valleys all over, with several campgrounds and lots of hiking. Just east of the park boundary you can also get a feel for the rolling hills and plains there. A lot of this is Blackfeet Indian Reservation land, which looks like a good chunk of land on the map, until you consider the fact that originally their land was many times the size of the reservation. Browning is a town on the reservation, and the Museum of the Plains Indian is there.
We visited the East Glacier Hotel and had lunch there. This was the original access point to the park because that's where the railroad arrived. The Great Northern Railroad was a key part in making the beauties of this area known to people in the East, and even making the National Park designation happen. Many of the existing lodges and buildings were built by the railroad to accommodate the tourists that they wanted to bring out on the trains.
We visited Two Medicine Lake and the ice cream at the park store was great, according to all who tried it! The bus went along St. Mary's Lake to the Jackson Glacier Overlook. From that point the road ahead was closed, this is the eastern end of the Going To The Sun Road. That road was reported to be opening for the season on today, June 23. That is the only road that spans the park from east to west. When it's not open, a longer trip around the edges of the park has to be used.
Snow removal from the highest road in the park takes a lot of heavy equipment and some maneuvering to get the job done. Here's a link to some pictures and videos of the process. Living in MN and IA most of my life, I'm very used to snow plowing on our roads. But this snow removal is so far beyond that! In a lot of places, they have to use bulldozers and heavy equipment to get the top part of the snow out of the way so the giant blowers can come in and get down to the surface of the road. And after that, there's a lot of winter damage to repair, plus the fact that new avalanches can again bury part of the road! So the opening of the road all the way across is a big accomplishment, and is very important for the residents and visitors here. High five to those snow removers!
6/24/2019 11:16:38 am
Thank you for sharing your adventures and your beautiful pictures. I am so glad that you are living this dream each day!
6/24/2019 09:15:47 pm
6/25/2019 02:29:35 pm
6/25/2019 05:45:28 pm
This type of snow removal equipment is used all the time in our area. I just heard that there are several areas in Crater Lake Park (about an hour up the hill from us) are now open and they are working on the rest...hoping to have all open by the 4th of July.
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