Ultimate Destination? Glacier National Park! Memorial Day Weekend

image of Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

Our Ultimate Destination? Glacier National Park Memorial Day Weekend!

We made it! Glacier National Park, our ultimate destination for the Memorial Day Weekend. Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe the majestic views to be seen from every angle. This was the first visit to this particular park for both The Husband and I. We were equally blown away and literally couldn’t quit snapping pictures.

My Pitch For Parks! I Wish Everyone Could See Them!

If you don’t already have a pass to our national parks you can purchase one here. This pass will give you access to all the national parks and federal recreation lands. Members of the military and their dependents are eligible for a FREE pass. If you have a 4th grade child they are eligible for a FREE Every Kid In A Park paper voucher giving them FREE access to the parks/recreations sites for the duration of their 4th grade year. Senior Citizens (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) can purchase a lifetime pass for a mere $10. What a deal. Access to such a variety of parks and recreational sites for a mere $10 for life!!! Ok, enough of my sales pitch for the parks. I really do hope you’ll get your passes and support these national treasures. We all need to do our best to protect them and pass them on to our children/grandchildren. What a legacy they are!

Going-to-the-Sun-Road

The famous “Going-to-the-Sun-Road” was only open for the first 14 miles. Due to an extremely heavy snow year many roads within the park remained closed. Although this meant that we were unable to see some portions of the park and unable to drive through to the other side, it also meant that crowds were not going to be a problem. We took the Going-to-the-Sun-Road until we hit the roadblock taking pictures along the way.

image of Lake McDonald ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
Water so clear and blue!
image of Lake McDonald ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
I’ve never seen so much lake water with so few boats!
image of Lake McDonald Montana ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
Water so clear we could have counted the rocks on the bottom individually.

In Washington State we, too,  have amazing glaciers but they are very different from Montana glaciers.  In Washington, the glaciers come with each mountain. Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, The North Cascade Range.  In Montana, the mountains are strung together on the Continental Divide and it becomes glacier, next glacier, next glacier, next glacier and on and on.

image of falls on McDonald Creek ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
Falls on McDonald Creek
images of glaciers between old snags ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
Glacier views peeking between the snags

And. . .I’m Already Planning Our Return Trip

Exploring Glacier National Park in it’s entirety will have to wait for another trip due to road closures. The fall of 2017 sounds like a possibility. School will have started again so the largest crowds in the park will have diminished. Hopefully snow won’t start to fall again until at least October 1st?? Following Going-to-the-Sun-Road through to the other side is on the bucket list, as is hiking at least a few of the trails currently closed.

I didn’t get to see a bear this trip so I’m hoping to see one on our next trip. Even with the road closures we were thrilled by the awe inspiring beauty we found in the park. The weather Memorial Day Weekend cooperated and we were able to enjoy our sight seeing in shirt sleeves sans jackets of any type.

image of Flathead Lake MT our ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
Flathead Lake truly boggles the mind with it’s immensity.

Well, Hello, Nice Officer!

Flathead Lake was something both The Husband and I wanted to see so we opted to take a route home that would allow us to follow along the lake for the greatest distance possible. Seeing the houseboats on the lake in the photo above, I quickly pulled into a parking lot to snap a picture. Upon jumping back in the truck The Husband says, “uh, did you know you pulled into a one way parking lot going the wrong way?” Nope! Sure didn’t see any signs to that effect. The Husband says, “Yeah, I think that Trooper walking up behind us wants to talk to you!”  Well, hello officer!  Yes, I definitely did get to meet a Montana State Trooper. Very nice man and no, he didn’t give me a ticket. He said there actually was no signage where I entered stating it was a one way going the OTHER way! Told me to be careful when I pulled out and have a safe trip home to Washington.

 

image of the happy hippo ride our ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
Seattle WA has “the DUCK” Polson MT has the “Happy Hippo”

National Bison Range

The National Bison Range at Moiese, MT is another place you can use your National Park Pass. A drive through park, the entire tour will take you about 2 hours. Roads are dirt and gravel and travel is slow because everyone pulls over (yes, we definitely did) to watch the bison roam the fields, observe pronghorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, elk, deer and more. We did the 1/2 tour due to time restraints and the amount of miles we still needed to cover that day.  We barely passed the visitor center when we saw numerous huge bison asleep in the sun about 1/2 mile off the road.

image of bison our ultimate goal glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
These huge guys were enjoying the sun warming their lush pasture.
image of pronghorn antelope our ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
A Pronghorn Antelope ~ ignoring the tourists he continues grazing as he wanders.
image of Clark Fork River our ultimate destination glacier national park memorial day weekend www.happyhour786.com
As we proceeded towards home following the Clark Fork River continued to feed my “need for water” with beautiful views.

Some New Scenery On The Trip Back To Washington

Our route home was via Highway 200 to Highway 135 to I-90. This route afforded us some new views of territory we had not yet seen. Following Flathead Lake, Flathead River and then the Clark Fork River provided one of the most scenic drives I’ve been on in some time. Even though it was a holiday weekend, traffic was light. Summer road construction in places means a few spots where the speed limit was lowered but all work had stopped for the weekend so we had no construction related delays. Another memorable trip and another National Park experience in the books. I hope you each get a chance to see some or all of our National Parks. We’re checking them off one by one. Click here for a list of all the National Parks if you are interested in creating your own bucket list.

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