Amazing America

Happy July 4th everyone!  After a day like today we are very much in touch with the extraordinary country we live in.  The beauty of it all just takes our breath away.  After much anticipation, the “Going to the Sun” road opened and we wasted no time in driving along the road to hike the Hidden Lake Trail at Logan Pass.  And this is what it looked like when we got there at 8:30 this morning:

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I’m not sure what I was expecting since the delay had been about SNOW, but one thing I was sure about was that we wouldn’t be seeing those “meadows of wildflowers”!   Well after my initial 10 minutes of panic (I overheard a ranger talking about potential dangerous conditions once things warmed up) I got in the spirit and we hit the trail.  Here’s me feeling good about conquering the panic:

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Because we were ahead of the crowds (per usual) there was an incredible feeling of quiet and isolation.  Check this out:

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You can see the yellow trail markers that we followed on the way up peeking out behind me.  Once up this large hill things flattened out and we were treated to some lovely scenery:

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I was very happy to park myself for a few minutes on the dry land:

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After a while we arrived at the Hidden Lake lookout but we didn’t get any shots of that.  David descended farther down toward the actual lake but since it was frozen you can’t really see much in those photos either.  I wanted to get a shot of him way down there but he had my camera! So back we went.  The sun was shining by then and the snow was getting softer.  The crowds were undaunted though:

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Once at the bottom we took a moment to actually check out the trailhead.  Here’s David (who is 6’1″) standing next to the impressive snow wall:

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And here’s me (after peeling off a few layers) next to the trailhead sign:

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After this hike in the snow we headed back to the west side of the park via the Going to the Sun road.  And this time, with the sun high overhead and plenty of time to explore, we stopped to enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen.  The road is very windy and slow-moving, but really, we were all there to enjoy and admire the beauty all around us.

Here are some shots of the mountains, waterfalls and river (from on high):

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At one pull-off area were learned something about the stunning shape of these valleys:

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Apparently the U-shaped valleys so clear in my photos were caused by the glaciers themselves and left behind when they melted. Here are shots of us in front of one particularly dramatic valley.  I also love the beautiful stone barriers that are used at the side of the road. So organic and architectural.

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The waterfalls that come crashing down the mountains are something to see:

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I don’t think the folks in the Mercedes convertible were planning on a car wash today…

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Oops!

At the lower elevation we were treated to close-ups of the river that you could see in the panoramic photos.  It is a lush shade of blue/green and we had to get out of the car and have a look:

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I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to spend the day surrounded by such beauty.  Tonight it’s a quiet dinner with David in Whitefish and then to bed before the fireworks!

Enjoy your 4th!

 

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