After a great start to our visit in Glacier National Park (GNP) we were still hoping to get the third of the Big Three sightings, a Grizzly Bear. Glacier is a really huge park with 1,583 square miles of wilderness and very few roads for access. However, our plan was to see all the park we could so we headed over to the Many Glacier part of the park since we had heard the scenery was great and that it was an area with better odds of seeing a Grizzly Bear.
We drove back into West Glacier as we decided it best to drive back over Logan Pass and over to Saint Mary which means we would drive the complete Going to the Sun road which is just under 60 miles. It always is a slow drive but chocked full of beautiful scenery, amazing waterfalls and bluest water I have seen since I last visited Antarctica. As we made it to Logan Pass I thought I saw some Mountain Goats again so we stopped and hiked over to where I saw them. Sure enough we found a nice family of them and another one with a radio collar. It is amazing how human tolerant these majestic animals are at Logan Pass.
From Logan Pass there was a lot of road construction so we had several delays but when we finally saw Saint Mary Lake we knew we were getting close to Saint Mary. We stopped at a pullout and had our packed lunch while dipping our toes in the blue waters of Saint Mary Lake.
From Saint Mary we headed north to the Many Glacier part of Glacier National Park. Another beautiful lake, Lake Sherburn, was to our south as we drove in and the peaks in the distance were simply stunning… We decided to stop at yet another stunning lake, Swiftcurrent Lake, where we took the Swiftwater Trail for a few miles to snap photo after photo. What a beautiful area Many Glacier is… although we didn’t see any bears must less the elusive Grizzly!
We had planned to go back a different way but we decided one more trip over Logan’s Pass would be fun. At the final switchback right before the straightway to Logan's Pass we saw a few people looking up the hill to our right. Before I knew it Sharon was yelling for me to park as there was a Grizzly Bear making its way along the slope parallel to us. Sharon handed me our binoculars and I dashed out to see if he was continuing our way. Sharon ran behind with the camera and we were able to watch him amble across the mountainside and I fired off a few zoomed in (slightly blurry) photos.
The bear was in the open intermittently while moving through some brush. We watched for about 5 full minutes. At one point he paused while I had him in view with the binoculars and he turned his head and seemingly stared right at me... seeing that large and wide head looking my way gave me the chills as I felt like the main course for dinner. So glad was I that the car was nearby even though it seemed as if I was only of passing interest to him. What a lifetime thrill to see one of these magnificent bears that represent true wilderness…
We stopped at the top to and got to watch the Bighorn Sheep again which gave us time to reflect on our amazing luck in changing our minds to return home this way after all!. To complete the trip we stopped at Lake McDonald where we unpacked some snacks and a cold frosty beverage while dipping our toes in the lake and savoring yet another splendid day here in Glacier…