I've seen more rodents here at the park, than any other park I've been in. The chipmunks are absolutely fearless, as are the various kinds of ground squirrels. The red squirrels have black tails, and the hoary marmot is huge. The ground squirrels chip frequently, sounding much like birds.
Almost any trail can lead you to a waterfall. This is Running Eagle waterfall, named for an actual Blackfoot woman who became a warrior and the chief of her tribe. Now, while water levels are low, the water comes out of the rocks. In spring, it will flow over the top. When the glaciers melt away completely, many streams will also disappear when the winter snows melt in the spring.
Marias Pass is where US 2 goes over the Continental Divide when traveling from west to east. I was really surprised the first time I sped past the sign, since it didn't feel like we were nearly high enough to be crossing the Continental Divide. At only 5,213 feet in elevation, the mountains tower over the pass, but remember, a pass is supposed to be a low place to cross higher mountain ranges. 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 toward Marias Pass.
There are many quaint hotels and inns built early in the Park's history, and often related to the railroads. The Izaak Walton Inn, in Essex, however, takes the cake. Originally, it provided housing for railroad employees, and now it uses old railroad cars as hotel rooms for park visitors. What fun!
Amtrak still stops directly in front of the Glacier Park Lodge, which was built almost a century ago by the Great Northern Railway. One of the most striking features of Glacier Park Lodge is undoubtedly the massive logs used in the construction. The immense timbers that support the Lodge were probably 500 to 800 years old when they were cut and all of them retain their bark to this day. There are 60 of them, 36 to 42 inches in diameter and 40 feet long. The timbers in the lobby are Douglas fir and the verandahs are supported by Cedars from Washington. Each lodge or hotel in the park is fascinating, even to visit.
Now we are trying to find everything we brought, before getting on the plane tomorrow. The kids say our air conditioning at home isn't working. Sigh. I like being on vacation.