Postcards purchased at Glacier National Park

Given the number of postcards for sale in gift shops, even people who do not normally write letters must still write and send postcards on their vacations.  Perhaps postcards are the Twitter of snail mail. Both accommodate only the shortest messages.

I still enjoy sending and receiving postcards.  I often buy one or two for myself as souvenirs of my trips.  I like the vintage-like art on these postcards from Glacier National Park, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Sign at the entrance to Glacier National Park

Viewpoint at the first bridge, just inside Glacier National Park at St. Mary's

The eastern side of Glacier National Park is accessed in St. Mary’s.  Because of highway construction, we could drive the Going-to-the-Sun road only as far as Logan’s Pass.  Because of the high winds, we cancelled our planned hike to Hidden Lake at the pass, but we did stop at the usual tourist spots along the way to the summit.

The eastern side of Glacier National Park is dominated by St. Mary's Lake.

Fall colors in Glacier National Park

Glacier Park peaks with glaciers

Sunrift Gorge

Fall colors in Glacier National Park

Worker directing traffic around the construction project at windy and cold Logan's Pass.

We follow a pilot truck through the construction zone to the summit at Logan's Pass

High winds at Logan's Pass. The Visitor's Center at the pass had no electricity or running water, as staff prepared to close for the winter. It was cold.

Cloudy skies at Logan's Pass

Sunrise enroute to St. Mary's entrance to Glacier National Park

We got up early for the drive from East Glacier to the entrance of the national park at St. Mary’s. . . just in time for a colorful sunrise!

Pink and purple clouds in a colorful Montana sunrise

Pink-tinged peaks in Glacier National Park

Morning sun lights the glacier at the peak of this mountain

Sunrise from Hwy 40 between East Glacier and St. Mary's

Sunset over East Glacier

September 30, 2010

The sunset over East Glacier rivaled any of the scenery we saw inside Glacier National Park.  The setting sun provided a spectacular, ever-changing, but short-lived show.

Sunset over the Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier

Sunset over the Glacier Park Lodge

Sunset over the Amtrak station in East Glacier. The train arrived a few minutes later.

Ever-changing show in the sky

Sunset over mountain peaks

Spectacular Montana sunset

Sunset in East Glacier

I saw all of these wildflowers at just one stop along McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park:

I loved the colors in these grasses:

The western part of Glacier National Park is dominated by Lake McDonald.

Little did we know that much of Glacier National Park shuts down by mid-September.  Most campgrounds were closed by September 19th. This was the final weekend for staying at the Lake McDonald Lodge and the Glacier Park Lodge at East Glacier.  The Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed between Avalanche and Logan Pass on September 19th for construction, so we had to access the park from two different entrances, about 90 miles apart. 

Still, we counted ourselves lucky to have so much of the park in uncrowded circumstances. We divided our time — half of Day 1 in West Glacier, and the morning of Day 2 in the park by St. Mary’s.  The weather was too blustery for our planned hikes, so we just enjoyed the scenery and short trails close to the road. 

Shoreline of Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Looking across Lake McDonald to fire-ravaged slopes and distant peaks

We could drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road as far as Avalanche Creek.

Deeply crevassed bark of fir tree on Trail of the Cedars nature trail

These tree roots reminded me of pigs' hooves!!

My husband fishing off the dock at Lake McDonald (no luck)

A few early touches of fall colors on the shore of Lake McDonald

Pebbly shore of Lake McDonald

A peek at the magnificent lobby of the Lake McDonald Lodge

The drive between West and East Glacier and the St. Mary’s entrance was stunningly beautiful.    We took it at a leisurely pace, twice (there and back).   Not a bad compromise for the forced inaccessibility of the Going-to-the-Sun traverse across the park.  We stayed in an inexpensive motel (aah, the showers! the bed!) in East Glacier instead of the more expensive National Park Lodge.  We felt we were able to appreciate a lot of Glacier National Park’s scenery and other offerings even on such a short visit.

Along Hwy 2 between West and East Glacier

Look at the amazing array of colors in the ditch of Hwy 2

Peek at the lobby of the Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier. It would be open one more day before closing for the winter.

Andy Goldsworthy-like sculpture on the lawn at the Glacier Park Lodge