"" Writer's Wanderings: Road Trip 2015 - Going To The Sun Road, GNP

Friday, October 02, 2015

Road Trip 2015 - Going To The Sun Road, GNP

Our last day in Glacier National Park was a planned drive from east to west on the Going To The Sun Road. The construction of the road that bisects the park began in 1921 and was completed in 1932. Several small tunnels were obviously a challenge back in the day. The name of the road derives from an old story from the Blackfeet of a deity named Sour Spirit who came down from the sun to teach the braves how to hunt. On his journey back to the sun, Sour Spirit had his image reproduced on the mountain now called Going To The Sun from which the road takes its name.

I wasn't sure what to expect since I had read reviews that said the road was treacherous with narrow spots and sharp curves. Probably as the seasons change it could get a bit dicey but the dry roads were just fine and while they weren't a four lane highway, there was plenty of room to maneuver even when faced with a large RV. Those who are squeamish though and travel west to east rather than the way we did might have a fright or two. It always seems like you are closer to the edge than you are.

There was some construction being done on parts of the road and that will continue as the need for repair on a 75 year old road arises so some parts of the road that usually allowed pulling off for points of view were closed. Other than that, we had an easy go.

The small park newspaper that is available as you enter the park had in the center section a map and numbered areas of interest along with the explanations for each. There is a shuttle that runs during the peak season and stops at several places along the way for you to get out and explore.

There were lots of good views of several of the glaciers the park is named for. Several options for boat rides on some of the lakes and rivers are available but many of those were closing for the season. A hike to a glacier was also not on our to do list so we just enjoyed the views from the road.

After stopping at Logan Pass, an elevation of 6,646 feet, where the road crosses the continental divide, we wound our way down to Lake MacDonald stopping for a few more good views and a waterfall or two, including one where the whole wall next to the road "weeps". At MacDonald Lodge, we enjoyed a nice lunch and then continued on to the west side of Glacier National Park and the end of the road--for the park.

The end of the road for us was a very nice B&B, Good Medicine, in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish reminded us a lot of Redmond, WA, where our son and family used to live. The lake looked very similar as did the surrounding landscape. The town of Whitefish had a distinct western flavor but we ate at a restaurant that featured Cajun/southern cooking.

And of course, it was time to do some laundry before heading to Yellowstone.

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