‘(Forrest Gump) What’s my destiny, Mama?’ ‘(Mama) You’re gonnna have to figure that out yourself.’
Near my campsite of Many Glacier, was Saint Mary Lake. I actually went twice, once for the sunset and again for a boat tour the following day. It may have been my favorite part of my three days at Glacier National Park, it was truly stunning! As I mentioned in my previous post because the Going the Sun Road was closed, you have to drive the long way around from West Glacier and, much like the Sun Road by Lake McDonald, this was closed about ten miles from the entry point. It definitely gave me a taste of the road I couldn’t access and how beautiful it must be, especially since I was unimpressed by West Glacier.
I will not lie, the highlight of the whole trip to St. Mary Lake was seeing the bridge Forrest Gump runs across, lol. I previously wrote about how much the movie means to me and I was excited to be here. I did forget my Bubba Gump hat (I was in the process of moving and it accidentally got pack) and did not get a great photo of myself on the bridge because of how it is situated. To get a view of the bridge and the mountains, you have to walk a bit down a path down from the bridge on a creek (it is immediately when you drive into the area). You need another person to do it and I was solo. One day I will get a better shot but that was not the day, ha! I did get a better selfie stick so things are looking up when I return to Monument Valley over Christmas as I head to Vegas to see Adele.
You can see a couple of glaciers in this section of the park and all easily accessible via turnoffs. It was quite moody when I was there and VERY windy the two days I spend in the area. When I took the boat tour (a great way to see the lake, mountains, and, when open, the Going the Sun Road), the winds were about 35-40 mph. It was unreal! I don’t usually get sea sick but was a bit worried about on a very small and very old boat.
The boat tour was incredible. I learned a lot including that during the chinook, a warm weather phenomena in the winter, will cause trees to thaw and refreeze, this rapid change can cause some of the trees to EXPLODE! Also, that moose are very good swimmers and can hold their breath for long stretches. I did not see any moose, swimming or otherwise, but cool none the less! The boat crew dropped us off at a waterfall that was raging as the snow was melting, it wasn’t drinking water underneath a glacial fall in New Zealand but it will do, lol. I did not do the tour of Lake McDonald (it was sold out) but loved this one and would do it in a heartbeat, wind and all! As you can also gain access to the Sun Road, make sure you book your reservations well in advanced. It was only $32 and worth every penny!
I cannot state more empathically that you must go to East Glacier. It is so much better than West Glacier. I mean, Lake McDonald is fine but the lakes of East Glacier are truly magical. Make the trip, even if you have to take the long way around because life is the journey and not the destination and sometimes some of the best place come from a detour!