Sunday, July 29, 2012

Glacier National Park after Church in Whitefish

Today we went to church at the Calvary Chapel Whitefish church in Whitefish, Montana.  There are a few Calvary Chapels within 20 miles or so from where we are, but this one was also next to the Walmart that we planned to shop at yesterday, but decided to go to Walmart after church on Sunday.
Church in Whitefish was wonderful.  The music worship portion was very good.  The members were very friendly, and they mentioned that there were many "visitors" today, but we have no idea how many that represents.  My guess is that perhaps 1/3 of those in attendance.  Amazingly, they had a pot luck after church out on the lawn, and all were encouraged to come even if you did not know about it and/or did not bring something to share.  We passed on that, but we were both impressed with the meeting, the message, and the spirit of those who were there.

We them traveled to Kalispell where we found an Applebee's to eat at before we headed across the street to Walmart.  We typically don't eat at these chain type of restaurants, but Applebee's is a bit different for us since that is where we had our first meal together when we first met in Memphis back in early 2011.  It reminds us that we have come a long way since then, and in a sense, we have a long (travel-wise) way to go.

On another note, we talked about having problems getting on the wireless in Portland, and we had the same troubles here at this park.  I did some research, and found that with Windows 7, some wireless routers have a problem getting the IP address when they connect to the wireless router.  The fix is updating your driver for the computer's wireless device.

After we got home we first had to quiet little Skruffy down, who barked a bit while we were gone, according to our neighbors.  Bubba was happy too....don't know if it was seeing us, or because he finally got some peace and quiet.  Marcia got the Walmart stuff put away while I got our computers wireless devices updated, which did fix the problem by-the-way, and then we headed to the west entrance to Glacier National Park -- with the dogs (which I am sure put a smile on our neighbor's face).  

It was so busy at the Apgar Visitor Center area, that we decided that the map and information they give you at the gate will be enough for us.  We are saving the "Going-to-the-Sun" road for tomorrow, so today we went north from the Apgar area along the Camas Road.  The first 11 miles or so is a good paved road, then you either head north or head west after you leave the park, but both roads are dirt roads.  We turned back.  But we did get a few pictures to share....

Back in 2003 there were a number of fires at Glacier.  The larges, the Robert Fire, burned 39,000 acres within the park, and another 13,700 outside of the park.  In the picture above, the Robert Fire is shown by the grey arrow.  The road we took today runs right through the fire area for about 5 out of the 11 miles we drove.  The fires of 2003 reportedly burned 10% of the park.

The road did not stop the fires...didn't even slow it down.

Below the lack of trees has opened up a view of the high mountains on the other side of where thick trees once stood.

 Above is a view to the north...Canada is up there just past the peaks of these mountains.
The fires don't burn everything within the fire area, as seen in the picture above.  Below is a picture of some trees which we drove through after the fire area, and within 1/2 mile, we were again surrounded by burned trees.

At the end of the paved road one of the dirt roads heads west through this canyon, and then turns to the southwest and eventually turns back into a paved road and leads to Columbia Falls, although another dirt road turns south to head back to Highway 2 just above Coram where we are staying.  However, as I said before, we turned around and headed back.

Above are the mountains to the north at the end of the paved road, while below is a view of Lake McDonald and the mountains we will be seeing better tomorrow.  The Going-to-the-Sun road is just on the other side of the lake and runs the length of the lake on that side.
We did not see any wildlife today, and we hope to see some tomorrow.  One morning we hope to get up real early and head into Glacier because that, we are told, is the best time to see wildlife during the busy summer months.  Just as long as we don't get too close to one them there Grizzlies....

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