Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 1 at Glacier National Park

flower in Whitefish

I'm taking my time uploading pictures from my Montana trip - I took SO many, and when I got home and really looked at them, the ones I thought would be most wonderful fell flat, and the detail shots I overlooked at first were best. This is how I know I'm an amateur at photo-taking, but I do find I'm best at capturing what fascinates me most: tiny details. :)

Flying somewhere on the 4th of July is amazing - I mean, all the predictable flight delays aside, that is. But just being in the air and seeing storms of fireworks bursting in radiant shimmering colors below you... wow. Of course I have no photos for that - only the memories in my head. :) Also, when flying to Montana in the summer, it's a shock to see how late the sun sets: I watched the sun set from our plane at 11:30 PM! That alone made our 12 hour airport/travel ordeal worthwhile. I remember seeing a tiny sliver of an orange moon rising as we landed with fireworks bursting all around, out of the deep mountain shadows.

Lake McDonald

It was odd to wake surrounded by mountains. We drove about 30 minutes into the park and here was my first pic, snapped at Lake McDonald. It in no way comes close to the real beauty of it, but there it is, an approximation. :) We drove down Going-to-the-Sun Road from west to east. It takes hours, not because of the distance but because of the fierce bottlenecks near the end, in the mountains near Logan Pass. Along the way we saw all kinds of butterflies, birds and wildlife, including an immense female elk that gracefully stalked across the road. She seemed to stare down haughtily at all the cars, and I could see why, because she TOWERED over us. Really, I've seen photos of elk before but none have ever captured how huge they are. And of course she was gone before I could snap a picture... :) I was predictably captivated by tiny things, like ground squirrels.

Photos of mountains are really quite dull and none of them are like standing on a mountain...

Every time I see things like this, beauty like this, I find myself saying "thank you." I feel so grateful to encounter everything, to see things that are wild, and large, and clean like this. All the way uphill to Logan Pass waterfalls formed by melting snow poured downhill to meet us, either sprinkling us or raining down in torrents.

Logan Pass was 10 degrees cooler than the valley, so windy, and covered with snow at least 5 feet deep in places. Those tiny speck in the distance are people skiing:

snow at Logan Pass

That pic was taken by my boyfriend, who, unlike me, is a master at framing. :) I made a few little friends at Logan Pass:

Hoary Marmots! :) They're like fat ground squirrels with fur coats who do a lot more pondering and staring than running and squeaking. They're so un-timid, I was able to put my lens an inch from their furry faces:

Hoary Marmot

On the way out, we saw a herd of bighorn sheep scurry up a snow-covered hill faster than we could pull out our camera.. of course. :) We stopped to see a couple of waterfalls and take in St. Mary Lake:

glacial water

That last pic was also taken by my boyfriend. One of our last sights in the park was a very famous pull-off to photograph Wild Goose Island:

Wild Goose Island

It must be famous because even a dummy can photograph it well... Yes, I took that photo. :) That day, we continued our drive south to East Glacier, down a windy road surrounded by mountains, cattle fields, and wildflowers:

Just outside of Glacier NP

And, thanks to a broken power window on the driver's side we had to drive all the way back to the airport and back again (about 3 and half hours) which means we were stuck in the car for at least 7-8 hours that day. Oh well. Not a bad deal if you can see mountains, I guess... :)

To those of you who shared so many kind words and thoughts about my dad, thank you again. He's still resting at home and still doing well. I was really worried going on a vacation we'd planned so far in advance but when I heard he was at home and recovering, I felt better about it. I checked on him so many times my mom (who is used to only hearing from me once a month or so) told me to give it a rest... ;) Thank you again, and more on Glacier soon.

Also, have you checked out Feeling Stitchy? We're featuring the 5 finalists (chosen by Jenny Hart) in our banner competition this week, and after they're all featured everyone will vote for a winner. Check it out! :)


Anonymous said...

ooh, it's so pretty- i can't wait to go. it is kind of amazing how late the sun sets in montana. we really do have loooooong summer days.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, it looks AMAZING! Can't wait to see more of your photos.

muralimanohar said...

Oh my gosh!! Now I am DYING to follow your trail..those pics are amazing!!!

susanc said...

Those pictures are absolutely gorgeous - I'm sure the beauty of that place takes your breath away when you're there in person. It's really awe-inspiring.

Those little marmots are so cute! It's amazing that you were able to get so close to them. Thanks for sharing all this beauty with us. I look forward to seeing more of your photos. Glad to hear your dad is resting at home and that he's doing okay.

Nix Sidhe said...

These photos are so amazing. I especially love the 3rd from the bottom. I miss being out in nature like that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love Marmots!  We have them at out local zoo and you can go into these little tunnels and pop your head up in a viewing dome and get right next to them.  Well, you can if you're a kid.  If you're a 28 year old woman you get some funny looks...  Beautiful pictures too.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm all those blue skies and fresh air, looks wonderful!

kittykill said...

So beautiful! Everything is so breathtaking. I'm so glad that your dad is doing better. Good thoughts to him and your family.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What gorgeous pictures.