12 September, 2016

EPIC Road Trip- Installment #5

~ The International Selkirk Loop, Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes Provincial Park~

We left Spokane, WA in the morning bound for Sandpoint, ID via the International Selkirk Loop. The "loop" encircles the Selkirk Mountain range. We headed north on the western side along the Pend Oreille River and happened upon the Box Canyon Dam; it has an incredibly fascinating history.

We continued on to (and through) the Canadian border where we loaded our car onto a ferry to cross the beautiful and scenic Kootenay Lake; a magnificent black bear crossed the road in front of the car on this route before we got to the ferry. We slowed to a stop and watched him continue down a driveway(!) and disappear out of sight. (Wouldn't you know it, my camera was out of reach!) The ferry crossing took approximately thirty minutes, we drove off and continued on our way around the loop and the panoramic lake.

Kootenay Lake - British Columbia, Canada
We arrived in Sandpoint, ID in the afternoon; we have been there before and loved it. As we had done two years earlier, we passed through Bonners Ferry on the way to Sandpoint and revisited the Bread Basket Bakery for Marionberry pie. This local delicacy tastes like a combination of raspberry and blueberry; it is THE BEST. And, even better, this pie was half the price of the Olallieberry pie in CA!
The next morning we left bright and early for Glacier National Park. This time we were able to pass through the park from west to east (Apgar to St. Mary) on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Two years ago this highway was closed for repairs. Our National Park "do-over" was well worth it, not only was the navigating much better but the weather was lovely and significantly improved over the cold, misty days we had in 2104; I am so happy that we returned!

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is, literally, clinging to the side of the mountain. Some passes are really tight and the drop-offs are vertical!
But... the views! This is so reminiscent of Switzerland, the only thing missing here are the cow bells ringing in the distance!

On the first day here we traveled halfway through, going as far as the Logan Pass visitor center (above).
I spotted this friend chilling on a steep bank above us as we were driving out of the park; from a distance I thought is was a huge chunk of snow. Then he turned his head!

The photographs above should give you a feel for the rugged steepness of these narrow mountain roads; they are shut down for repairs from rock slides often and closed for the winter from October through May. This highway is 50 miles in length and simply put: offers some of the most spectacular views that nature has to offer!

These iconic red tour buses are a part of Glacier's history and have been showing tourists the sights since the 1930's.

Saint Mary Lake, on the eastern side of Glacier, is serene in its majestic splendor. Sadly, we drove a few miles through an area burned out last summer; the Reynolds Creek fire was first reported in the afternoon of July 21, 2015 and spread to over 4,000 acres in a single day. While the blackened trees stand out as an ugly reminder of the devastation there is already much fresh, bright green, reforestation occurring as well as brand-new views of this lake.

Just before exiting the park and heading north to Waterton this fella stepped out in front of the car; this time I had the camera in my lap; I was granted a second chance from being unprepared two days earlier. Another successful re-do! Thanks for sharing the magnificence of your home with us, Mr. Bear. Isn't he handsome?

Remember in the second installment of this EPIC Road Trip series I mentioned a retired National Geographic photographer who mentioned three top sights to see before one dies? Well, here it is-- the third sight: Waterton Provincial Park in Alberta, just north of Glacier. That "bucket" list is now complete; however, for the record: I am feeling just fine and have no plans of checking out anytime soon.
This is Upper Waterton Lake, it was a cool and windy day. I could have stood in this very spot forever; this location on earth seemed nearly sacred to me.

This is the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, it sits at the confluence of Upper Waterton and Middle Waterton Lakes: I do believe that National Geographic photographer knew what he was talking about when he included this picturesque park on the list of must-sees!
Middle Waterton Lake: the color in these pictures is unaltered, who could improve on nature's palette?  
Leaving Waterton we encountered herds of roving free-range cattle; not a fence in sight anywhere. The long road home was about to begin after this stop on our itinerary. We traveled from here to the extremely windy city of Great Falls and on into Glendive, MT.
I'll end this installment at The Enchanted Room in Glendive; of course, another state another quilt shop! I found this shop to be a lovely one: a refurbished old home containing oodles of notions, patterns, books and fabrics all artfully displayed and beautifully organized with a cheerful sales staff. The next installment of our EPIC adventure will be the final one. It will include Theodore Roosevelt National Park and a wrap-up of odds and ends that I couldn't fit into the previous posts as well as tips and tricks that we have discovered for traveling with a fur-baby (thanks to SueSS for this idea in the comment section of a previous post)! One more Snapple fun-fact as a reward for riding along this far: "A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle, a group of geese in the air is a skein."
Life is Good!


Quiltdivajulie said...

Incredible scenery and such marvelous photographs! (and I saw two skeins of Canada Geese this morning -- yet another sign that the season is about to change). THANK YOU for sharing these EPIC posts.

Ramona said...

Your pictures are breath-taking. I can't imagine what the beautiful sites look like in person. One of my bucket list items is to visit a quilt shop in every state. It sounds like you may have the same item on your list. I'm not half way there yet, but close. :)

Janet O. said...

Oh, this is such beautiful country. I haven't been able to get up there for a few years, but have loved our visits there in the past. My MIL is from Alberta, so we get up there now and then for family gatherings and always take in a park or two along the way! We have been to all of these places at least once and I love them all. Thank you for the beautiful photos!

Lindah said...

Beautiful! Beautiful! You are such a good photographer. thank you for sharing these beautiful photos.

(I will have to admit it. After I thoroughly enjoyed these photos and showed them to DH, I had to go back and re-re-peruse the first day of school photos. So precious.)

rondiquilts said...

Thank you!!!! I have loved these posts!!! I've been curious about how you have traveled with Hannes too.


Carol said...

This is the post I have been waiting for on this journey as we leave in a few days for Whitefish, MT and Glacier Natl Park (from Texas.) Photos are just breathtaking and I can hardly wait. One question that confuses me: on the day you drive on the Road to the Rising Sun Road, you write you drove half way. Did you turn around and go back and then go completely across another day? It's about 50 miles across the park, right? We are planning to take a day to drive across and back to Whitefish, stopping for photos along the way. Is that doable?

cityquilter grace said...

another spectacular post mrs.g and the drop off views? reminiscent of acadia national park, except the raging ocean is below...and i agree with the national geographic recommendation....what beautiful sights! hope you will post the quilty goodies you "found"....lol

Marie said...

Loving your travels, pictures are great! Thanks for sharing with us. Hugs, Marie