Glacier National Park-- Fire!! to Polson, Montana

Glacier National Park Travel Blog

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Fire getting too close for comfort!

Friday-  We got up early, and saw that the fire had moved much closer to us during the night.  There was a constant drone of helicoptors dumping large containers of water, scooped up from the nearby lake. We could actually see bursts of orange flames in the tops of trees, and it was close enough now to hear the crackling! We had planned to explore the northern part of Glacier Park today, but we were afraid they would close Going-To-The-Sun Road again with the fire moving in closer, so we decided to go straight through the park instead.  When we went to the camp store for morning coffee, the staff was busy canceling all their reservations for that day due to the fire approaching. Time to get out of Dodge!  We packed up quickly and headed out.

Beautiful scenery of St Mary Lake
 We stopped first at the visitor center, which was full of news and reports about the fire, which apparently had been started a week ago by careless campers.  Many acres of the park were burnt.  Dawn was anxious to get the fire behind us, so we traveled on to a turnout by St Mary Lake, awesome views of the lake and mountains!  A little farther down the road, we parked the truck and hiked a trail to a waterfall.  Then we continued on down the road, stopping at all the overlooks to see various glaciers, mountains and waterfalls. 

 We came up to another visiter center, where we came across a family of mountain goats wandering around. Dawn held out her hand, and a momma and baby goat came right up to her! They seem tame, but they are still wild animals-Don't get too close!   Tyler had a close encounter when we stopped by the side of the road so he could "go" in the bushes.

Goat Family
..he almost walked right into a deer!  They were face to face when they startled each other, the deer turned and jumped high in the air to get away.  He returned shortly after to...(ahem)....lick up the "salt" that Tyler left behind!  Yuck!!

We stopped at a turnout along the river that a waterfall/ rapids area and a crystal clear lagoon. Some people were swimming but we didn't. Tyler played in the water a little, then we went back to the parking lot and made sandwiches.  After lunch, we parked and went for a walk down the "Trail of The Cedars", a boardwalk through the woods by some tall trees and a clear-water ravine. Parts of the rock walls of the river were curved and rounded, shaped over the years by the torrents of water that rush down the ravine, from the snowmelt every spring.

The deer that startled Tyler
  On the bridge there, a butterfly landed on Dawn's hand and stayed there for several minutes. ( She often feels that things like that are a sign from her deceased father)   There were a lot of old trees, they said this part of the park hadn't had a fire in over 500 years.  It was a loop trail, but it was half under construction, so we had to head back the way we came.

Once out of the park, we drove along Flathead Lake to a KOA in Polson, Montana.  We saw dozens of cherry stands!  We got a good site near the kitchen area, made a nice (contained!) fire, and cooked some Ribeyes on the grill. Next to an airport and a great view of Flathead lake, it was a really nice campground.

jostravel says:
Careless campers are really annoying - if they can't keep a fire under control, they shouldn't light it! Glad you got past the fire safe :)
Posted on: Apr 17, 2016
rotorhead85 says:
Fantastic trip, excellent blogs and pics! Hope to get here someday.
Posted on: Aug 28, 2007
WaltJake says:
I'm glad you are enjoying reading about our trip! Your comments are appreciated. I think you are right, everything happens for a reason!
Posted on: Jul 05, 2007
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Fire getting too close for comfort!
Fire getting too close for comfort!
Beautiful scenery of St Mary Lake
Beautiful scenery of St Mary Lake
Goat Family
Goat Family
The deer that startled Tyler
The deer that startled Tyler
packing up and heading out!
packing up and heading out!
repacking the truck was always a c…
repacking the truck was always a …
the fire is getting very close to …
the fire is getting very close to…
this is only a few hundred yards f…
this is only a few hundred yards …
That black speck in the middle is …
That black speck in the middle is…
the KOA canceled the rest of the r…
the KOA canceled the rest of the …
Into the Park!
Into the Park!
fire update at the visitors center
fire update at the visitor's center
much of the park was already burnt
much of the park was already burnt
Dawn was glad to get the fire behi…
Dawn was glad to get the fire beh…
beautiful mountains!
beautiful mountains!
Wild Goose Island in the middle of…
Wild Goose Island in the middle o…
Tyler and I at St Mary Lake
Tyler and I at St Mary Lake
now on the OTHER side of St Mary L…
now on the OTHER side of St Mary …
the glaciers are small this time o…
the glaciers are small this time …
walking a trail to a waterfall
walking a trail to a waterfall
Its around here somewhere
It's around here somewhere
just follow the river!
just follow the river!
here it is!
here it is!
A log across the river is just an …
A log across the river is just an…
there he goes!
there he goes!
was less thn a mile hike to get he…
was less thn a mile hike to get h…
trail led to the the top of the fa…
trail led to the the top of the f…
of course, Tyler has to climb!
of course, Tyler has to climb!
some nice views up here
some nice views up here
Along Going-to-the-Sun Road
Along Going-to-the-Sun Road
waterfall alongside the road
waterfall alongside the road
COOOOOOOOOOOLD!
COOOOOOOOOOOLD!
Momma and baby goat
Momma and baby goat
We stopped to have a picnic lunch …
We stopped to have a picnic lunch…
river of cold glacier-melt runoff
river of cold glacier-melt runoff
crystal clear pool
crystal clear pool
...of course, Tyler had to check i…
...of course, Tyler had to check …
If he wasnt climbing something, h…
If he wasn't climbing something, …
Thr rock walls of the river were w…
Thr rock walls of the river were …
The fast moving spring melt runoff…
The fast moving spring melt runof…
walking a trail along the river
walking a trail along the river
Along the trail a butterfly landed…
Along the trail a butterfly lande…
it stayed there for several minute…
it stayed there for several minut…
she felt it was a sign from her fa…
she felt it was a sign from her f…
Trail of the Cedars
Trail of the Cedars
A peaceful walk through the woods
A peaceful walk through the woods
A shallow river ran through the ol…
A shallow river ran through the o…
Tyler ran ahead to look for arrowh…
Tyler ran ahead to look for arrow…
campground in Polson, Montana
campground in Polson, Montana
We kept a close eye on OUR fire!
We kept a close eye on OUR fire!
Glacier National Park
photo by: mrgishi