Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Glacier Park's wonders, surprises impress even this native Montanan

Glacier Park's beauty reflects millions of years of change in ancient rock formations.  Here, summer meets winter! 
Snow has already come to Glacier National Park in northern Montana.
"Today, for the first time in my life, I have seen Glacier Park. Perhaps I can best express to you my thrill and delight by saying that I wish every American, old and young, could have been with me today. The great mountains, the glaciers, the lakes and the trees make me long to stay here...'' 
 --Franklin D. Roosevelt, in August of 1934, delivering a Presidential radio address from Two Medicine Chalet in Glacier National Park

Nick and Nora have visited five national parks, here Glacier.



Click here for Lilian's Last Dance

Native Californian Keller looks forward to each Glacier visit.
GLACIER PARK cannot be experienced in a single day -- or three -- which is what we had. That's longer than FDR had 80 years ago, when
he toured and park in a brief day and gave a stirring radio address about Glacier's wonders.
If you only have a couple days, the park can be savored sufficiently to encourage an encore visit.
Trees, critters, birds and the majestic glaciers that give the park its name are but a few of the enticements. They impressed FDR then as they do us today.

This reflection near East Glacier hints at the wondrous beauty the park offers.
TOSS IN AN ambling silverback grizzly, which we watched for 90 minutes, and it's hard to beat Glacier Park in autumn.
Grizzly bears are battening down the hatches and climbing into their caves this month, so we felt lucky to spy one and follow him for over an hour, near East Glacier, as he munched on grubs and berries and fattened up for the long winter's nap.
The grizzly has been around Glacier for as long as people have been, at least 10,000 years. The native people were the first, and they'd been there thousands of years before European explorers showed up in the late 1800s in search of beaver.  Blackfeet inhabited the eastern part of today's park, and Flathead, Salish and Kootenai the western regions. The "westerners" crossed the mountains in search of vast buffalo herds on eastern plains.
A close-up of algae, a lovely mosaic on rock where recent snows had melted.
THE NATIVE people probably came for the same reasons today's tourists do: rugged peaks, clear waters, breathtaking glacial-carved valleys.  The landscape produces both desired resources and inspiration to those who love nature's beauty.
Following the European pelt hunters, miners came, then settlers.  By 1891, the Great Northern Railway was completed and hundreds came to northwest Montana. Small towns developed, west of Marias Pass, then hotels and chalets, many of them historic.
Photographer Rick Cosgriffe has a field day in Glacier. 
The world renowned Going to the Sun Road was completed in 1932 and remains a historic accomplishment.
BUT LOOK back farther than the 1930s! Look back millions of years because the mountains we now admire in Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago.  Ancient rocks forced themselves eastward up and over much younger rock strata.  The Lewis Overthrust rocks are considered to have some of the finest fossilized examples of extremely early life found anywhere on Earth!
Sadly, the glaciers are retreating.  The park has done a good job of telling this tale in diagrams and hand-outs. The dramatic U-shaped valleys, moraines and lakes are changing with global warming. Of the 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century, only 25 active glaciers remain!  We may see all the glaciers disappear by 2020 if the current climate patterns persist.

COMING UP:  She had to be hip, happy, talented and versatile. The actors who played the title role in "Annie Get Your Gun" include a huge range -- from the famous Ethel Merman, to Betty Hutton, Reba McIntyre and Bernadette Peters. The title character of "Lilian's Last Dance" was inspired by was inspired by an interview with the late director and producer Josh Logan, who talked to Christene Meyers in 1986 on a Atlantic crossing on Queen Elizabeth II. Logan
directed "Annie Get Your Gun" on Broadway and their conversations about theater and creating memorable characters planted the seeds for a novel -- and, maybe some day, a Broadway musical.
Catch us Wednesdays and weekends at: www.whereiscookie.com

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