Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Category: National Parks & Places (Page 1 of 8)

Glacier National Park: Two Medicine

Sinopah Mountain in the Fog

In the summer of 2021 Glacier National Park, instituted a reservation requirement to drive the ever-popular Going-t0-the-Sun Road during the day. These reservations were very difficult to get and many people chose to postpone their trips to Glacier. Those that did not were able to get to the road early in the morning or in the evenings. Another option was to explore the other areas of the park that are not on Going-to-the-Sun Road. Two Medicine is one of these areas.

Historically, the Two Medicine Valley has been one of the least visited parts of the park. Parking was much easier to come by than Many Glacier and the road was not under construction. The drive to the Two Medicine Valley was probably the most breathtaking in the park outside of Going-to-the-Sun Road, although it still had some nail-biting turns! And the view, once you get there (top), is pretty great too!

Kayaks on Two Medicine Lake

Boats on Two Medicine Lake

By the time we got to the Two Medicine Valley for our boat tour, the rain we had been anticipating all day finally came. We contemplated canceling our boat ride, but the tour boats are enclosed and there’s not really another dry option in the park. This boat ride can be used to cut the hike to Upper Two Medicine Lake in half, but with hail coming down, we opted to just relax and stay dry on the boat.

I highly recommend taking one of the boat tours in Glacier National Park. They fill up early, a few weeks in advance, Two Medicine was the only one available for my time in Glacier. Assuming the Going-to-the-Sun Road reservations continue into the future, boat tour reservations on St. Mary Lake and Lake McDonald get you access to the road for the day of your reservation. Check Out GlacierParkBoats.com for pricing and to purchase tickets.

Aside from the boat tours, there are miles of hiking trails to explore in the Two Medicine area of the park. After our boat tour, we enjoyed walking around the Two Medicine Store, which was built in 1914 and is a National Historic Landmark. The 100 site Two Medicine campground is in this section of the park and offers first-come-first-served campsites (10 sites are able to accommodate RVs up to 35 feet) with no electricity but flush toilets.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Swiftcurrent Creek

Many Glacier Area

Glacier National Park: Exploring Many Glacier

Swiftcurrent Creek

In the summer of 2021 Glacier National Park, instituted a reservation requirement to drive the ever-popular Going-t0-the-Sun Road during the day. These reservations were very difficult to get and many people chose to postpone their trips to Glacier. Those that did not were able to get to the road early in the morning or in the evenings. Another option was to explore the other areas of the park that are not on Going-to-the-Sun Road. One of these areas is the Many Glacier area.

This area is home to the picturesque Many Glacier Hotel. At the base of a mountain on Swiftcurrent Lake, this is where I want to stay on my return trip to Glacier. The hotel is also the base for one of the park’s boat tours. The boat ride across Swiftcurrent Lake can help cut some mileage off of one of the longer hikes.

Dock on Swiftcurrent Lake

Many Glacier is the jumping-off point for one of the more popular hikes in the park, The Grinnel Glacier Trail. The 7.6 Mile (although boat rides can shave off 3.4 miles) round trip hike gains 1840 feet in elevation and gets you a view of the 152 acre glacier, one of the largest left in the park. When we visited at the end of June, most of the trail was still snow-covered and rangers were in the parking lot, dissuading people from embarking on the hike.

Unfortunately, road construction on Many Glacier Road left us with much less time to explore this part of the park than we had originally hoped. We ended up just walking the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail around the lake before heading back to the car so we could make our reservation for the boat tour in the Two Medicine area of the park. Because of our limited time in Many Glacier, I definitely want to return and maybe try my hand at the Grinnel Glacier hike.

Since this is one of the areas of the park that didn’t require a reservation this year, the small parking areas filled up early in the day. I was hoping the road construction would keep people away but that did not appear to be the case at all. If you plan on exploring the Many Glacier area, plan to get there early to make sure you have a place to park.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by next week as we explore the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Baring Creek

Baring Creek

East Side of Glacier National Park

Wild Goose Island

After leaving Yellowstone in the morning, we arrived at the East Side of Glacier National Park after about seven hours on the road. The famous Going to the Sun Road hadn’t opened for the season yet, so the east side of the park was pretty quiet.

Baring FallsEven though we knew we couldn’t cross Logan Pass, we turned on our GyPSy guide and drove the part of the road that was open. One of the hikes the guide recommended as an easy hike on the east side of the park was the hike to Baring Falls (left). The hike is less than a mile round trip and was a good way to ease into hiking in Glacier with only 400 feet of change in elevation. At a 25 foot drop, Baring Falls is by no means the biggest waterfall in the area, but it is definitely one of the easiest hikes on the east side of the park. We saw a deer grazing near the water, which was a nice treat.

Room at Rising Sun Motor Inn

Our room at Rising Sun.

After our hike, we headed to our room for the first part of our time in Glacier at the Rising Sun Motor Inn. This location wasn’t my first choice, especially so early in the season with the Going to the Sun Road closed, but the room was available two months ahead, so we grabbed it. The motel-style hotel is not my favorite but I will take it if it allows me to sleep inside a National Park. The rooms were clean and the private bathroom was a big step up from our Old House Room at the Old Faithful Inn. We hardly saw anyone else around. The downside to staying at Rising Sun in 2021 was that the restaurant, Two Dog Flats, was closed for the season due to staffing shortages. I didn’t think anything of it when we got the email in advance. I figured we would be able to find some food outside the park in St. Mary. I did not realize how dismal the dining choices would be. If I had it to do over, I would’ve planned to cook on our camp stove in the Rising Sun Picnic area across the street.

Overall, I enjoyed our stay at Rising Sun, but if you’re booking early in the season, be aware that the Going to the Sun Road probably won’t open until the end of June or early July and that really limits what you can see. If Two Dog Flats is closed again, you may want to try to find lodging on the west side of the park where there are more services.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Cone Geyser

Cone Geyser

Yellowstone’s Southern Geysers

Pool in West Thumb Basin

After our drive through Grand Teton National Park, we headed back to Yellowstone to see the southernmost geysers and hot springs in the park. On our previous geyser basin day, we visited Norris, Upper, and Midway Geyser Basins. That left West Thumb and Old Faithful left to be explored.

The West Thumb Geyser Basin was probably the most interesting geyser basin in the park. Located on the south shore of Yellowstone Lake, this area is one of the least explored sections of the park. Its location along the shores of the lake makes it stand out from all the geyser basins in the park and makes for interesting landscape photos. Unlike Midway or even Norris, it was not hard that hard to find a parking spot at West Thumb in the middle of the day.

Fishing ConeWhile all the other geothermal features in the park are on land, West Thumb Geyser Basin is the place to see geysers in the water. Walking the boardwalk at West Thumb several cones can be seen steaming out in the lake. One of the most famous is Fishing Cone. Back in the day when fishing was allowed on Yellowstone Lake, anglers used to dip their catch in Fishing Cone to cook it. Nowadays, fishing in the lake is but it does create a funny mental picture.

We saved the most famous geyser basin in the park for last. Upper Geyser Basin is home to the world renowned Old Faithful and this area is home to not only the Old Faithful Inn where we stayed, but the Old Faithful Lodge, and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. This area of the park is built for capacity and it seemed like parking was available any time of the day.

Cone GeyserWith over 1,300 documented geysers, The Upper Geyser Basin has the largest concentration of geysers in the world. With six miles of boardwalk, you could probably take a whole day just to explore the geothermal features around Old Faithful. Add on a five-mile loop and you can avoid the traffic and walk to the nearby Biscuit Basin.

It seemed like no matter what time of day it was, people crowded around to watch Old Faithful. The park publishes eruption times for Old Faithful (give or take ten minutes) and there is even a clock in the Old Faithful Inn that gives you the estimated time. If you want to visit one of the Old Faithful gift shops, do so right before the geyser erupts to beat the crowds. And once again, I highly recommend staying at least one night at the Old Faithful Inn, where you can sit out on the mezzanine and watch Old Faithful with your own chair and not jammed in elbow to elbow with strangers. That alone was worth the price for me!

I think I have finally reached the end of my Yellowstone coverage. Check back next week as I head north to Glacier National Park! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Moulton Barn

Moulton Barn - Grand Teton National Park

One Day in Grand Teton National Park

Snake River Overlook

After our day exploring Yellowstone’s geothermal areas, we headed to Grand Teton National Park. When planning this trip, Grand Teton was not on my “must-see” list. It was more important to be me that we saw everything we could at Yellowstone, but we covered most of what we wanted to see in our first two days, so we hopped in the car and headed for Jackson. After walking over ten miles the day before, it was nice to sit in the car for a bit of a drive. Coming from the Old Faithful Inn, we didn’t rush in the morning, so parking for most of the popular hiking spots was full by the time we got there, so this was just a day for driving the loop road and seeing the Tetons.

One thing that makes the Tetons so unique is that these mountains seem to pop up out of nowhere. There are no foothills surrounding them. The drive from Yellowstone on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway was not a hilly or incredibly interesting drive and then just all of a sudden there are these three lone mountains. Its a very unique landscape and I can understand why Mr. Rockefeller fought so hard to make this area a National Park.

View from Signal Mountain Road

Just like with the other areas we visited on this trip, we used the GyPSy app to guide our exploration of the Tetons. One place I probably wouldn’t have explored without the app, was the winding Signal Mountain Drive. The view of the wildflowers and the mountains in the distance made it a beautiful place to stop and stretch your legs (above)!

Moulton Barn in Mormon RowIn Grand Teton, the one place I knew I wanted to stop at is the iconic Mormon Row. The old buildings here are what I picture when I think of Grand Teton. At the turn of the 19th century, 27 Mormon homesteaders headed to the area that is now a part of Grand Teton National Park, to live off the land. The land is surprisingly fertile and the homesteaders worked for years, digging ditches and levees to improve the irrigation for their crops. Water still flows in these ditches today. By the 1950’s most of the families sold their land to expand Grand Teton National Park. Mormon Row was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Another iconic stop in Grand Teton is at the Snake River Overlook (top). There is a famous Ansel Adams photograph of this location that was taken in 1942. Of course, the trees have grown a bit in the last 80 years so it doesn’t look exactly like it did when Adams stood there, but it was really fun to try to find the right perspective to match that iconic shot!

Bison in Grand Teton

Bison in Grand Teton National Park

This drive through Grand Teton was fun, but I know we barely scratched the surface of the park. Whenever we return to Yellowstone, we will have to devote more time to Teton and getting off the beaten path. I would love to get out on the water of Jenny Lake and stay in one of the iconic park lodges. We never made it to the town of Jackson either, so I would like to get to explore that area too!

 

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week when I end our day with more geysers at Yellowstone! To read more about this trip, check out the Epic National Park Road Trip. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Firehole Falls

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