Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Montana Part 3

So it is time to move from the Village Inn at the west entrace of Glacier to the Many Glacier Hotel in the north/east part of the park.  This requires another trek over the Going to the Sun Road, this time with one of us driving.  That one, would be my beloved, Cheryl.  She got behind the wheel and away we went.  As we got further towards Logans Pass and the continental divide again, it started to snow a little bit.  We were able to stop more since we were not in the Red Bus.

There was a bit more snow on the mountains on this trip over them

It was not alot of snow, but it was snow and we were on a narrow road up and over mountains. It was a little nerve wracking at times, but Cheryl did a great job and we landed at the the loop

thankfully the only switchback on the road.  We got up to Logans Pass and again used the lovely pit toilets - they do not get any better no matter how many times you use them - then we were on the other side.  Funny thing to get to the other side of the park you have to leave the park.  

So out we go, take a left go a few miles and take another left onto one of the worst roads ever.  A few miles down the road was the ranger station where you buy your pass.  We had come into the park after the ranger station was closed and had not gotton a pass yet.  So Mare whips out her drivers license and gets a senior pass that covers entrance into the park for life and all that for $10 bucks!  Yup, that could just be the reason you see so many seniors in national parks.  Although it is getting harder and harder to tell them from us.

We drove down the road, bumping and avoiding bumps, stopping to take pictures.

I will tell you that I thought East Glacier was spectacular - well West Glacier is more spectacular!  We came to our final destination in Glacier and home for the next three days - Many Glacier Hotel.  

From the bellmen in leiderhosen to the view

yes, this is the view, the mountains reflected on Swiftcurrent Lake, we knew we were somplace special.  The history of how Glacier came to be is interesting and how this little alpine chateau came to sit at the edge of this lake is a tale of big hopes, knowing the right people and strong backs.

The hotel was started in 1914 and completed by the summer season of 1915.  The winters here are harsh to put it mildly, but many men labored thru it and there it stands today, looking just about the same as it did 100 years ago.  Except it now has heat, running water and electricity - makes it a little easier to be there - except it is only open for three maybe four months out of the year.  The rest of the time, it is boarded up and has a caretaker to make sure nothing bad happens.  

You walk into a big lobby with a huge fireplace that is kept going 24 hours a day by the bellmen in their little shorts and suspenders.  It is elevated about a foot off the ground on a stone platform, there are chairs and couches all around and a very homey feeling.  People are friendly and help you spot bears up on the hill.  People that have hiked all day or climbed a mountain or something come in and tell their tales.  

One guy came in, he was a very outdoorsy looking guy, shorts and a sleeveless shirt and a bandanna wrapped around his head (by the end of the time there, we were pretty much convinced that he was bald under that do-rag like Hulk Hogan).  He had obviously been here more than once and knew alot about the place and proceeded to tell those around him about it.  The most interesting thing he said was that the big horned sheep that was over in the corner of the lobby had fallen thru the sky light on the roof one winter and was not found until spring.  They stuffed him and there he sits in a corner forever wondering what made him take that last step...

The Northern Pacific Railroad was behind the building of this place and their plan was to be the only way to get close to the hotel.  They would bring them as close as the railroad would come and then bring them the rest of the way by stage coach.  Then came the automobile, which made access to all the parks available to lots more people, but they did not need the railroads to get there, so eventually things were sold and the National Park Service took over.

I think I could really go on for a long time about the history of this magical place, but I won't bore you with it.  Let me just say thanks to the men and women that saved it from burning down.

Until next time.

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