Birthdays, Blackfeet and Glaciers!

August 2, 2017 005

Happy 75th Birthday Fred!!

Yesterday was Fred’s 75th birthday and so last night we celebrated with a festive meal of pinto beans, Brussel sprouts, cornbread, slaw and Snicker’s birthday cake! Can you tell we have been wanting “home cooking”? For all of its simplicity it was a lovely evening. Before dinner we had a celebratory drink toasting Fred. Because it was his birthday, Fred had the pleasure of deciding where his before dinner soirée would be. It has been quite hot here for the past few days and he opted for the downstairs porch. Laughter and joy reminded us that it is good to celebrate the gift of life anywhere, anytime.

The Mountains, the Glaciers

The west entrance to Glacier National Park is only about 25 miles from Whitefish where we are staying. Established in 1910 it straddles the US and Canada. In 1911, the naturalist, Dr. Morton J. Elrod said of Glacier National Park: “Here is the place where clouds are made…a fairy land where dreams of fantastic things come true, and where interest and wonder never cease.” Today we experienced that interest and wonder as we drove the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The weather in Whitefish was breezy and sunny with warm temperatures; but as we traveled along the mountain highway the clouds lowered, as did the temperature. By the time we arrived at Logan’s Pass it was 56 degrees and the clouds were all around us. We never lost sight, however of the craggy, mountains around us. The evidence of glaciers pervaded our senses. Snow covered passes showed us the beauty of those few glaciers which are left. Some of the glaciers were dying, evidenced by the huge waterfalls coming from their snowy masses. Others seemed reasonably intact. What an incredible force of nature these glaciers have been in carving out the glorious beauty of this place. The 1,583 sq. miles of this National Park with its huge glacial lakes and massive peaks is indeed a place of never ceasing wonder and interest. Although the crowds made everything move slower, it was a joy to see so many families from all over the world enjoying this place.

 

I know that global warming may be a controversial, even political issue, but it is hard to deny that something is causing the decrease in our glaciers. For those among us who had seen Glacier National Park many years ago it was for them a shock to see a decrease in the amount of glacial activity.

From Glacier National Park we traveled east to the Blackfeet Reservation. We had climbed to 6,600 feet at Logan’s Pass in Glacier, but only descended to around 4,000 ft elevation as we entered the reservation. The 3,000 sq. miles of the reservation go from 3,400 ft altitude to over 9,000 ft at Chief Mountain. We drove through grasslands where cattle were often ranging free. In Browning, Montana we stopped to go through the Museum of the Plains Indians It is a very simple but well-done museum about these Native Americans, which gave us a wonderful picture of their culture and character. Examples of their beadwork and woven quill work were spectacular as were the illustrations of their lifestyles, religion and family life. This reservation is headquarters for the Piegan Blackfeet band which is the largest ethnic group of the Blackfoot Confederacy.

 

Fireweed, and St. Mary’s glacial lake

Our drive home took us around the southern border of Glacier National Forest following along the Flathead River much of the way. It was a beautiful drive and the end to a perfect day.

 


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