Glacier National Park

I decided to take the “red jammer bus” to tour Glacier. Best idea ever! The famous Red Buses are the ideal way to see and learn more about Glacier National Park. The vintage 1930s buses are part of the human history and heritage of the park. As much of the park’s scenery is vertically oriented, the roll-back tops are perfect for providing full views of the stunning mountains, and the area’s signature Big Sky. The guides are seasoned park veterans, who are here because they love the park and enjoy sharing the park with visitors. We all enjoyed playing Prairie Dog standing up on the seats and looking around.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s a few

Full Buck Moon

July 2019 is notable because it will have two new Moons: the first rose on July 2 and the second rises on July 31. In recent years, a second new Moon in a single calendar month has come to be called a “Black Moon,” though this is not an official astronomical term. Read more about the mysterious Black Moon!

July 16th is the Full Buck Moon. At this time, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

MOON FACTS

  • On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the Moon. He also placed the U.S. flag there.

Flathead Lake Monster

The story of a monster in Flathead Lake originates in a Kutenai traditional legend. According to the story, long ago, the first native tribe in the area lived on an island in the middle of the lake. One winter while crossing the frozen lake to move camp, two girls saw antlers approximately two feet in length protruding through the frozen ice. Thinking the antlers belonged to some animal, the girls decided to chop them off and take them. They used sharp-edged rocks to cut through the ice when the antlers suddenly started shaking, the ice around them split open, and the head of a monster appeared through the ice shaking its giant antlers. The girls used their special powers to transform into a ball and a buckskin target to escape the monster, but half of the tribe drowned in the lake, which is said to be the reason why there are so few Kutenai people. The narrative holds that the Kutenai never strayed far from the lakeshore after that, and white settlers later reported occasionally seeing the monster.

Local tales of the Flathead Lake Monster go back more than 100 years. It was supposedly first reported in 1889 by Captain James C. Kerr of the lake steamboat the U.S. Grant who claimed he and his 100 passengers saw an unusually large whale-like object in the water. According to the story, one of the passengers on the steamer shot at the creature and sent it diving for safety.  Contemporary reports of sightings by local residents and visitors average between one and two each year.

One local story that received much publicity described how a 3-year old boy apparently fell into the lake, and when asked how he had extracted himself, told his mother “The Flathead monster lifted me up”. In the 1950s, a significant cash reward was offered by Big Fish Unlimited to anyone who could catch what was termed the “superfish” of Flathead Lake. A man named C. Leslie Griffith was reported to have caught a 7-foot, 6-inch, 181-pound, 1-ounce white sturgeon, now displayed at the Polson-Flathead Historical Museum.

Columbia River Headwaters

Since I am recently tuned in to River Headwaters, I was pleased to discover Columbia Lake close by. Columbia Lake is the primary lake at the headwaters of the Columbia River, in British Columbia, Canada. It is fed by several small tributaries. Columbia Lake is a fresh water lake located along Highway 93 and 95, between Canal Flats and Fairmont Hot Springs in British Columbia, Canada.  Its average July temperature of 18 °C (64.4 °F) makes it the largest warm water lake in the East Kootenay.

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific NW region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles long, and its largest tributary is the Snake River. Its drainage basin is roughly the size of France and extends into seven US states and a Canadian province. The fourth-largest river in the United States by volume, the Columbia has the greatest flow of any North American river entering the Pacific.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise, named Lake of the Little Fishes by the Stoney Nakota First Nations people, is a glacial lake within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Lake Louise is named after the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. The turquoise colour of the water comes from rock flour carried into the lake by melt-water from the glaciers that overlook the lake. Founded in 1890 as Laggan Station, Lake Louise was once a wild outpost at the end of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Parking is limited at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and fills quickly during daylight hours, so planning ahead is key. Park your car and ride Roam Transit or Parks Canada shuttles from the Town of Banff to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Make the most of your visit to Banff National Park by using shuttles and transit. This was the most crowded experience I had on my adventures so far.

Burgess Shale

Over five hundred million years old! Way older than dinosaurs!

The Burgess Shale fossils are some of the oldest and most complex in the world! They are so important that they have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These fossils represent a complete ecosystem that existed for only a very short time after the first explosion of multicellular life on earth. They are still making new discoveries and finding new animals, which are changing our understanding of early life and evolution! The Burgess Shale is now part of the larger Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.

The Burgess Shale was discovered by paleontologist Charles Walcott on 30 August 1909. He returned in 1910 with his sons, daughter, and wife, establishing a quarry on the flanks of Fossil Ridge. The significance of soft-bodied preservation, and the range of organisms he recognised as new to science, led him to return to the quarry almost every year until 1924. At that point, aged 74, he had amassed over 65,000 specimens. Describing the fossils was a vast task, pursued by Walcott until his death in 1927.

Continental Divide

The Continental Divide is the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean (including those that drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean.

Though there are a few other hydrological divides in the Americas, the Continental Divide is by far the most prominent of these because it tends to follow a line of high peaks along the main ranges of the Rocky Mountains and Andes, at a generally much higher elevation than the other hydrological divisions.

The Divide crosses into the United States in northwestern Montana, at the boundary between Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park. Further south, the Divide forms the backbone of the Rocky Mountain Front in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, heads south towards Helena and Butte, then west past the namesake community of Divide, Montana, through the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness to the Bitterroot Range, where it forms the eastern third of the state boundary between Idaho and Montana. The Divide crosses into Wyoming within Yellowstone National Park and continues southeast into Colorado where it reaches its highest point in North America at the summit of  Grays Peak at 14,278′.  It crosses US Hwy 160 in southwestern Colorado at Wolf Creek Pass, where a line symbolizes the division. The Divide then proceeds south into western New Mexico, passing along the western boundary of the endorheic Plains of San Agustin. Although the Divide represents the height of land between watersheds, it does not always follow the highest ranges/peaks within each state or province.

Cathie, Alissa and Hannibal on the Continental Divide in Canada