GLACIER NATIONAL PARK & CANADIAN ROCKIES, DAY 3:  ST. MARY LAKE & MANY GLACIER

Except for this day during our cruise of St. Mary Lake, it was amazing how the sun came out during the best possible time during our sightseeing throughout our travels.  Mother Nature worked her magic the previous day when we were enjoying the views of Waterton Lake from the Prince of Wales Hotel.  As the afternoon progressed, the clouds enveloped the area when it no longer mattered.  The same thing happened as our tour through the Canadian Rockies progressed, and we were amazed at the timing of the weather changes—all in our favor!

(For all pictures, click on the image to see full screen view.)

Located on the eastern side of Glacier National Park, St. Mary Lake is about ten miles long. Taking a narrated cruise was a wonderful way to see it and learn about the area.  It was breathtaking to be surrounded by the steep mountains that began forming 170 million years ago, and to be on one of the park’s more than 130 named lakes.  In all, the park encompasses more than 1 million acres!

I never saw Stanley Kubricks film, The Shining, but the opening scene was filmed at the lake.  Scott showed us the beginning of the movie, so we could see the lake from a different perspective.  Of course, the weather was perfect when they filmed the movie, but the low-hanging clouds did add drama to the gloom we experienced.

Halfway through the cruise, we docked for a short hike to see a beautiful waterfall:

White Twisted Stalk- The flower that blooms from this plant is white and hangs from kinked twisted stalks. Towards the end of the season, it produces a berry that starts out green, changes to orange, then bright red.

During the afternoon, we headed out to Many Glacier Hotel, located in the northeastern area of Glacier National Park.  Built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914-15, the hotel is situated overlooking Swiftcurrent Lake.  The area is known as “Switzerland of North America,” and it was beautiful!  A hiking path circles the lake with great views of Many Glacier, the lake, and the hotel.  If you are lucky enough, you will also see a lot of wildlife.  Along with Linda, one of the other group members, we hiked ahead at a faster pace and just caught a glimpse of a female moose with her baby as they ran across our path and headed into the woods.  I tried to capture a photo, but all I got was a blurry shot of Mom and the butt of her baby.  It all happened so quick!  As it turned out, that was our only moose sighting of the trip; and, other than elk, we never saw any other large animals, such as bears or mountain goats.  It became a joke with our group as Scott’s confidence in seeing wildlife resulted in spotting nothing but small rodents.  That was where our luck ended…

A gloomy view during our walk near the Many Glacier Hotel
Scott capturing a reflection photo
Many Glacier Hotel

I thoroughly enjoyed all of our walks and hikes, though, and savored the fresh air and gorgeous (“gowajus”) sites.  (That was another joke with the group.  Linda, her friend, Wanda, and their husbands were from New Jersey; so, Scott playfully poked fun at their accent with his Kiwi/Australian/Canadian/British accent—a melting pot of some of the places he had lived since leaving New Zealand at the age of 19.)  We laughed a lot on this trip!

The evening was spent back at St. Mary Village where Bruce and I thoroughly enjoyed using our dinner vouchers for a repeat of the night before, except for a change in Sweet Peaks ice cream flavors.  We even had the same nice waitress!

Next up:  Riding the Red Jammers along Going-to-the-Sun Road