Beginning to wind down from our trip to the Canadian Rockies and Glacier NP, we stayed overnight in the town of Hungry Horse, MT, not far from the western entrance of Glacier NP. I just love the little touches that this hotel/RV campground had. It was the perfect way for us to begin our last day in the park.
As I said, this place had an RV park, but it also had several other accommodation options … that being soft sided tents (complete with queen bed, table, lamp, chair) or the very appropriate for the area teepee (also very nice on the inside).
On my first trip to this area, when my daughter was much younger, we opted for one of those teepee units (of course, in another city). It was so much fun for her, but could have been a problem for my mom, as she began to change into her PJs at night…. let’s just say that you should check them to be sure they’re not “see through” at night with a light on. LOL. So much for the reminiscing.
Hungry Horse, MT was named for a moment in history when 2 horses, that had wandered away from their sleigh during the harsh winter of 1900-1901, were found about a month later, severely weak and suffering from starvation. They were able to be cared for and eventually recovered their health and so a town and other things were named after that occurrence, including a dam. Of course, as most men do, Tom wanted to explore the dam, so off we went. The Hungry Horse Dam Project was for the production of hydroelectric power and also flood control. Its concrete dam stands at 564 feet, which at the time made it the 2nd largest dam in the US, though it now stands as the 10th highest.
(Sorry for the harsh lighting)
As all dams do, to provide flood control, there’s some sort of relief for the water and this dam uses a bell-mouth spillway. It’s known as a glory hole and this one is actually the highest one in the world!
It really was quite impressive to see in person and imagine how it must be to see the water entering the spillway from its perimeter as the needs demand. A nice Visitor Center was open during our visit which was like pulling teeth to get Tom to leave … he’s so into that kind of stuff. :-) Then on top of it, I asked how often they call upon that glory hole and she said that it should be happening in “not too long”. I would imagine she meant several days, so “NO, Tom, we’re not waiting for it!” LOL
What we didn’t realize was that the dam was just the beginning of the offerings of the area. It was part of the Hungry Horse Reservoir Recreation Area – a 31-mile long road, surrounded by over 25 mountain peaks, encompassed 23,800 acres, including 170 miles of shoreline. Fishing, boating, waterskiing, and swimming were just some of the area activities which it provided for.
Of course, for me, it offered amazing views of the south fork of the Flathead River, birding, wildlife photography, etc.
We both wished we had more time to explore all 31 miles, but as I said, vacation time was winding down and I had a plane to catch in the morning. :-(
Our final destination for the evening was Helena, MT, where I would board an early morning flight. But not before 2 more important stops along the way. The first was to explore a now lesser traveled area of Glacier NP, known as Two Medicine.
Before the Going to the Sun Road opened in 1932, Two Medicine was once most popular for the visitors arriving by train. The area, one which I had never visited, offers the guest amazing vista, adventurous trails to hike, waterfalls, and of course, lakes.
The native Blackfeet Indians consider Chief Mountain and Medicine Mountain to be the two most sacred places with Glacier NP boundaries. Other cool things to note are that the Two Medicine Store there is designated a National Historic Landmark. For those dinosaur history fans, they’ve also found fossils there of Late Cretaceous Dinosaurs and their eggs. Pretty cool in my book.
Eventually, we had to leave the beauty of not just Two Medicine area behind, but also of Glacier NP.
Onward we drove through some pretty beautiful landscapes of rural Montana, on our way towards Great Falls, MT. Synchronizing our schedules to perfection, we met up with our friends again, Donna & Buck, for some dinner. To our surprise, they showed up on Buck’s brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle. Though I kept calling it beautiful, I was quickly notified that you don’t call it “beautiful”, but rather you say it’s “sick!”. Haha. Don’t they just look awesome on it? The question remains as to where in the world he would fit their camera gear!
After dinner, it was time to say our goodbyes and head on down for some final packing and rest (if that’s what you call 3-4 hrs) before the flight home…. always the worst part of vacation for me. :-)
We hope that you have enjoyed our journey through the Canadian Rockies and Glacier NP with us. By the time that you read this, we’ll be already home from our 2014 trip to Alaska, so stay tuned for more about that!
© 2014 Debbie Tubridy / http://www.tnwaphotography.com