Since we were only in the park for a few days, we wanted to see and learn as much as possible. What better way than a guided tour through the entire park on one of the old Red Buses?
We struck out at 8:30 on the Crown of the Continent Tour with our guide Matt. Matt was a nice guy who introduced himself as someone who’d grown up his whole life wishing he had a place in the backwoods where he couldn’t be bothered. He told us that once he saved enough money that’s exactly what he did. His place is 8 miles from the nearest telephone, 4 miles from the nearest neighbor in the winter and 1 mile in the summer. He parks his truck and ski’s 2 miles into his house in the winter time because that’s as far as it’s plowed. He has a generator for power but no TV, no internet and no phone. I’m sure I could live that way if I had to, but I’m not sure I’d want to. Still, it has a certain appeal. I could probably write a whole post just on Matt so we’ll stop there. There is an funny story involving Laura Bush though so maybe I’ll write that up some day.
The tour took us over the going to the sun road and back into Many Glacier Hotel for lunch. It was amazing, and informative and the going to the sun road takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen. We saw 9 of the park’s 27 Glaciers from the bus and countless Perennial Snow Fields. Matt informed us that a glacier has 3 requirements.
- It must have a surface area greater than 25 acres
- It must be greater than 100ft thick
- It must be moving
If a chunk of ice meats some but not all of these requirements it’s considered a perennial snow field. Yes, perennial because it comes back (or remains) every year just like your flowers. Speaking of flowers, we got a glimpse of some of the alpine wildflowers while stopped at Logan’s Pass and they’re amazing!
On our way back through we stopped at a little parking lot just past Logan’s pass where the Mountain Goats hang out. They were everywhere. In the parking lot, on the walkways, on the rocks nearby, in the trees nearby, hanging out on the man made walls… literally everywhere.
The downside to making land like this accessible to the masses is you begin to affect the wildlife. The goats are no exception. Anti-Freeze is now a delicacy in their diet. Don’t worry though, they can’t ingest enough of it to hurt them, remember… they’re hard core. They live above 7,000ft 365 days a year, avalanche’s and all.
After the tour we cooked some hot dogs and pasta to end the night on a good note (full) and drifted off to sleep.