Watertown-Glacier International Peace Park

It was a pleasure to drive through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and the Blood Indian Reserve, from the eastern Montana side of Glacier National Park to the Canadian side in Waterton Lakes National Park. The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and it is a richly diverse ecological wonder. Watertown is also home to the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel (dating from the early 1920s) which sits on a wildly windy precipice overlooking Upper Waterton Lake.

It was wildflower season in the park, which added to already dramatic scenery, and we loved the red Adirondack chairs beckoning us to rest. The Canadian National Park Service places these chairs in gorgeous locations all over the country as a call to sit and appreciate…what an idea! When we finally reached sensory overload, we found refuge by taking afternoon tea in the lobby of the Prince of Wales Hotel. Very close to Heaven.

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Beargrass

I‘d never heard of it, but as more and more of these tall white stalks appeared along the roadside, I began to wonder what it was. And then I had to stop and walk into the woods to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

The National Park Service website informed me that beargrass is a wildflower that blooms near the west entrance to Glacier National Park, and was named by the Lewis and Clark expedition. It can grow up to five feet tall and each rosette blooms only once. Bears don’t eat it, but sheep, deer, elk and goats do. Beargrass can be seen annually, but sparsely, in the spring… but if conditions are just right, with ideal rainfall and soil moisture, mass blooming can occur… every five to ten years! Who knew we would be so lucky?!!!!

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Glacier National Park – West

We had hoped for smaller crowds by planning our visit to the Montana side of Glacier National Park during early June, and got our wish for a disappointing reason. The touted fifty mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road, which bisects the park, was still blocked for ongoing snow removal only eight miles from the west entrance. We may have been one week too early for full appreciation of the park, but were rewarded with beautiful weather to enjoy Lake McDonald, Avalanche Creek, mystical wooded trails, and the lovely old Lake McDonald Lodge, built in 1913. The requirement to drive around the park rather than through it brought wonderful compensation in big Montana skies.

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