Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Waterfalls and other features in the Saint Mary Lake area

I don't recall what the name of this spot is.  The water comes rushing through the crack in the rock and then makes a 90 degree turn as seen at the bottom of the photo.  It is very impressive.

It is hard to really put into perspective just how far back this goes.

I took a walk to Saint Mary Falls.  There is a bridge across the river below the falls.  This is looking downriver.

Looking up at Saint Mary Falls.

I decided to hike up to Virginia Falls which was about another mile and a half up the trail.  The path followed the river for a good part of the way and cascades like this were not uncommon.

This is Virginia Falls.  You could hike up to the base of it, which I did.  I didn't take a picture of the falls from the base because it was far too wet.  Even here you can see that I was getting water on the lens.

Small flowers near Saint Mary Falls.

A lone flower. 
Hiking back to the car.  Virginia Falls can be see in the background.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Glacier National Park - Saint Mary Lake area

Just after entering the park at Saint Mary Lake, the  road turns left and you drive along the west shore.  Saint Mary Lake is the second largest lake in the park.  It is 9.9 miles long and Going to the Sun Road (seen above) runs along it's shore.

This is the view to the right of the road in the picture above.

This was the view from my campsite my first night at Glacier.  Lake Saint Mary, as well as the road are between here and the mountain.
During the night it rained in the campground.  At elevation it was cold enough to snow.  This is what it looked like the next morning.

This is the view across the road from the visitor center.  Saint Mary Lake is visible at right center.  The open, light green area on the right above the lake is where the first two pictures were taken from.

Scenic boat rides are available.  There were a couple of options here.  I took the boat to the end of the lake and made a short hike to a nearby waterfall.  Here is the boat launch.  I was the only passenger on the outbound trip.

The outflow of waterfall I hiked to.  I don't recall the name of the falls.

From the dock at the end of the lake.

Waterfalls were everywhere originating from the melting snow and ice.

Another of the numerous, unnamed falls.

Wild Goose Island in Saint Mary Lake.

Sun Point on Saint Mary Lake.  There used to be a resort here.  If I recall, it closed during WWII and never reopened.  It burned and the debris was pushed into the lake.

Big Sky Country

Just after entering Montana, I drove through a rain shower.  After passing through, I was treated to a beautiful rainbow. 

The Wolf Point Bridge.  This is the longest bridge of its type in Montana and was built in 1930.

The mountains.

This is a memorial constructed by the Great Northern Railroad to commemorate the furthest north the Lewis and Clark expedition reached.  The actual site, four miles to the north, is call Camp Disappointment.  Lewis had split from Clark on the return and traveled up the Marias River in hopes of reporting that the headwaters were further north.  From Camp Disappointment, Lewis could see that the river turned west, not north and the men with him turned back.

As you can see, even here vandals take their toll. 

The railroad leading west to the mountains.

Looking into Glacier.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Scenic Drive

One of the side roads led to this area.  A short uphill hike and you had tremendous views of the area.  Here we could see some bison coming down the draw just right of center.  They only appear in the enlarged image as dots.

Looking west over.

More wild horses.

The Little Missouri River.  The campground is the wooded area to the right of the river.

The remains of a meat packing plant in Medora.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Scenic Drive

As with many scenic drives, there were numerous opportunities to get out, take pictures and take short hikes.  I stopped at this place because I found it interesting.  Some of the layers that make up the area are composed of coal.  Here, one of the coal seams was ignited by a lightning strike.  It burned slowly for decades until finally going out sometime in the 1970s.  People would bring marshmallows out to cook over the burning coal.

The start of the trail.  The area where the coal burned is in the valley on the left of the picture. 

The coal burned back through this area.  After it burned, the overlying layers settled over the newly open space.  There is another layer of coal that was above the one that burned.  You can't really see it because it is pretty thin, but it is at the top of the grey area in the center of the picture.

 An overlook during the hike.  The drop off on the other side of the tree was pretty severe.

 On of the many coulees in the area.

After getting back in the car, I saw my first bison.  I would see plenty more.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Scenic Drive

 Another prairie dog.

The interior of the park showing the road I just came in on.

 Looking the other way.

Wild horses roam the park.  I was fortunate enough to see some.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Scenic Drive

I did not make it to the Northern or Elkhorn Ranch Units of the park.  The part I was at had a 36 mile scenic loop

Shortly after leaving the visitor center.  You can see the bridge the crosses the highway to the heart of the park.

One of the first stops on the scenic drive is a prairie dog town.

Something tasted good.

A prairie dog.  These little flowers were all over the place.

Looking around.

Keeping a look out.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Roosevelt's Lodge

In 1884, Theodore Roosevelt's mother died.  Eleven hours later his wife died in the same house just two days after their daughter was born.  To get away and recover, he moved to Medora, North Dakota and started a ranch. 

This is the cabin that he had constructed.  It was somewhat pretty extravagant.  It consisted of three rooms and a loft where the ranch hands stayed. 

This is the main room of the cabin and takes up roughly half the space in the cabin.  Many of the furnishings are original. 

The bedroom.

The kitchen.