(An old stock photo of the dam being built around 1951.)
(The mountains of Glacier National Park in the background!)
(An eagle's nest.)
After spending some time doing a little exploring I continued on my way towards Glacier National Park. I stopped at "The Mountain Man" store to look around and see if they had some goodies for the house. Oh yeah, some how, some way, we are going to have a Bison mount for the Family Room, AKA The Yellowstone Room! I continued east on Hwy 2 and made a stop in Essex, the home of the Izaak Walton Inn, a historic inn originally built by the Great Northern Railway in 1939 for lodging railway workers. Today it's a rustic setting and you can even stay in one of the cabooses overnight!
I drove on to the top of Marias Pass where it was snowing lightly.
A little history:
The pass was charted by John Frank Stevens, principal engineer of the Great Northern Railway, in December 1889. The location of the pass had been rumored for several years beforehand, but it took Stevens and a Blackfoot Indian guide named Coonsah to discover it. The pass proved ideal for a railroad, because its approach was broad and open, within a valley ranging from one to six miles wide, and at a gentle grade that would not require extensive excavation or rockwork. Construction of the railroad through the pass began on August 1, 1890, starting from Fort Assinniboine to Marias Pass. The railroad followed the Middle Fork of the Flathead River west of the continental divide. Today, U.S. Highway 2, the BNSF Railway, successor to the Great Northern, and Amtrak's Empire Builder passenger train use the pass. The railway line is still the principal BNSF northern transcontinental line. A statue of John Frank Stevens stands at the summit of Marias Pass.
It was James J Hill and his Great Northern Railroad that promoted this area and was instrumental in establishing Glacier National Park in 1910! Since Dave works for the BNSF Railway we have a connection that runs a little deeper than "just" loving this area only for its beauty!
I drove to East Glacier where most of its buildings were already boarded up for the winter. It seemed strange because we were just there 8 weeks earlier on vacation! I had planned on grabbing lunch there but nothing was open. I ended up buying a bag of chips and a drink at a gas station.
(Glacier Park Lodge hibernating over winter!)
We love the Two Medicine Area of the Park!
I left the area and decided to drive up to the St Mary's entrance of the Park. The "Going To The Sun Road" closed September 15th so I could only drive as far as the Jackson Glacier turnout but it was still a beautiful drive, in spite of the sleet and snowy conditions.
I met an older couple from Alabama and chatted with them for a bit before making the decision to return back to the house. I didn't want to be out driving once it was dark, worrying about the weather. All in all, I had a great, relaxed day!
To be continued...