Jul 22, 2017

Icebergs to Caribbean Waters

When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else
in the Universe.

John Muir

Mike and Adam biked to the top of Going-to-the-Sun road.  Great fun on way back down.
While in the North West USA, we visited Glacier National Park before heading back to Mexico. 

Mike by the Eastern beach of Cozumel. 
Red numbers on the road match the number on the red sticks on the beach. 
Each represent a turtle nest full of eggs that have been brought to a sanctuary for their safety. 
They will safely be released back to sea later.

Hotel at McDonald Lake - Natural Look of "parkitecture'
Hand painted lanterns grace the interior
One of 33 Red Vintage, circa 1930's, refurbished busses traveling through the park.

The year after it opened (1910), Glacier National Park (GNP) had 4,000 visitors.  In 2016, it had over 2.9 million visitors.
GNP contains 700 miles of hiking trails.
GNP is the world’s first International Peace Park – Canada and the USA working together to preserve it.
GNP’s inception was so early in US/Canada history that its wildlife has barely changed since Lewis and Clark’s expedition (1805 in Montana).  The only animals no longer present are the woodland caribou and the bison.
Mountain goats are an important part of the identity of GNP – they are its official symbol.  If you cross to the Canadian side of GNP, your passport will be stamped with a mountain goat logo.
Two threatened species live in the park.  The grizzly bear and the Canadian lynx.  There are about 240 grizzly bears in GNP – that number has been consistent since 2006.  I couldn’t find a number for the lynx.

Largest lake in GNP - Lake McDonald.  Warm enough to swim without wetsuit in July!
Grandkids enjoyed the clear water
Avalanche Lake - several waterfalls still feeding it
Avalanche Lake - Clear but much colder than McDonald Lake
The Great Northern Railway constructed a series of chalets and hotels to mimic the lodges of Switzerland.  Made of natural materials they were dubbed ‘parkitecture’.  Today, they are considered National Historic Landmarks.
Vintage refurbished (by Ford motor) red transport busses from the 1930’s that run on propane help keep the number of vehicles traversing the park down.  The drivers of these vehicles are called ‘Jammers’ because of the sound the old transmissions’ gears made when shifting on the steep roads of the park.
One of the park’s peak supplies water to three separate oceans.  Triple Divide Peak’s waters flow to the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Arctic.
The park’s highest peak is Mt. Cleveland at 10,479 feet (3,194 meters).
The park covers over 1 million acres but ½ of it is privately owned and not open to the public.
The park is flanked by the Flathead Indian Reservation to its west and south, the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to the east, and Canada to the north.  The GNP mountains still hold spiritual significance for the Blackfeet, the Salish, and the Kootenai tribes.
The Going-To-The-Sun road which crosses the park and travels over the continental divide is an amazing engineering feat.  From that road you can see waterfalls, glaciers, valleys, lakes, rivers, grassy fields, and wildlife.  
On the way to Iceberg Lake
Layers of flora before the peaks
Bear grass in bloom - various stages
Just before Iceberg Lake - field of yellow glacier lilies
Iceberg Lake - still pieces of ice floating around - shivering just thinking about it.
The park contains:
  • 762 lakes of which 131 are named.  The largest lake is Lake McDonald at 9.4 miles by 1.5 miles and a depth of 464 feet!
  • 563 streams (both intermittent and perennial) covering a length of 2,865 miles.  The longest stream is 25.8 miles.
  • 200 waterfalls
  • 175 mountains
  • 26 glaciers (in 1850 there were 150 glaciers).  Glaciers may all be gone by 2020, only 2.5 years away!  
There is nothing like the present. This is a gorgeous place that we will forever remember.  
DAWN by Laura Richards and William Grant Turnbull.  
Male pronghorn club-tail dragonfly - 50 times true size.  Hayden, ID.  
Stainless steel, blown glass, LED lights.  

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