Glacier National Park … My First Impressions

Well, spent the day familiarizing myself with Glacier National Park. Leaving the motel in nearby Columbia Falls in the early morning hours, there was a light, but steady rainfall. But being 15 miles away in the mountains, things can … and do, change often. Reaching the park, there was no rain. Only a heavy cloud cover at the entrance. But traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road saw changes as I neared Logan Pass, the “top of the mountain”. The difference between the entrance and Logan Pass was quite noticeable … there was a ~15 degree temperature drop as I reached the top. And although there was no rain at Logan Pass, there was an extreme fog presence … one that dropped the visibility to 50 yards or less! But you know how I love shooting in fog! :o)

As I walked behind the Visitor’s Center to reach the trail that goes back into the mountains, where the Mountain Goats normally can be found, I was surprised to find a heavy, snow-pack along the boardwalk that leads into the mountains. And not only heavy snow, but the visibility was very poor, due to the heavy fog. But how can one pass the chance to catch Mountain Goats in a foggy, snowy situation? Not me! Here are a couple of images I made along the boardwalk as I carefully navigated the snowy, icy boardwalk:

Boardwalk trail at Logan's Pass Visitor's Center, Glacier NP

Boardwalk trail at Logan's Pass Visitor's Center, Glacier NP

 

Well, I hiked for about 30 minutes, fighting to keep from falling down. But it only got worse. As I progressed up the boardwalk … more accurately, where the boardwalk should have been, the fog got heavier and the snow pack seemed to only get bigger! If only I had my trekking poles with me (they were in my car, in the parking lot). And better yet, wish I had my Yax Trax with me (these slide over your hiking boots and have “teeth” that bite into the ice … left these at home. After all, who would have thought you’d need these in July!). After sitting on a large rock for a few minutes, contemplating my next move, I decided it best to give up today and save both my equipment and body from a potential fall. So, down I walked. When I reached the Visitor’s Center, the fog suddenly lifted (wouldn’t you know it!) so I took this photo, looking back to where I would have been hiking (the pink circle indicates the approximate location of where the mountain goats would have been). You can see the hike would have been some distance in these conditions, by comparing the size of the people in the photo to the goat area:

Boardwalk trail at Logan's Pass Visitor's Center, Glacier NP

 

Strike one! Next move? I’m trying again, right after I publish this post … this time with trekking poles and a padded backpack to protect my equipment.

So, instead of photographing goats, I worked on other things … wildflowers (will post soon), landscapes/scenics (those, too, will come later), and several of these cute little critters … Columbian Ground Squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus). They were busy scampering around, playing and stopping to munch on some of the wildflowers that were blooming here, like this one was doing with an Indian Paintbrush wildflower hors d’hoerves:

Columbian Ground Squirrel

 

Ever have that “just got caught” look? This little guy did!

Columbian Ground Squirrel

 

After this episode ended, I continued driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road, getting acquainted with the area and using the day to plan out the rest of my trip here. Stay tuned for more posts from the beautiful Glacier National Park! Oh, and I think you will be seeing some more of these cute little Columbian Ground Squirrels (hint, hint)!  :o)

 

 

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Posted in 2013, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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