Glacier

150 years ago, Glacier National Park was home to 150 glaciers – 26 of which are left today for me and Derek to marvel at. Being swiss and knowing the glaciers we have in the alps, the ones here are small – if not tiny – in comparison. The landscape, however, is every bit as beautiful as Switzerland. Entering the park, I felt like driving in the swiss alps, looking for a campsite. Only at our 4th stop did we find a site, and only for one night. Approaching 4th of July weekend, we knew it would be tough to get campsites. We switched twice, each time getting up before 6 and driving to the new site, hoping to catch someone just about to leave, so we could snag their site. It worked both times, for which we were very grateful!

In terms of photography, Glacier National Park offers a lot of similar subjects as back home: Rivers, waterfalls, gorges, forest and lakes reflecting the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, the first evening turned out to be another day in our cloudless sunset streak, of which we are getting a little fed up at this point.

We focused on shooting some reflections in Avalanche Lake the second evening, and again, no clouds. The Lake is fed by 6 waterfalls and wildlife frequents the area: chipmunks got into Derek’s backpack and a deer almost ran over our tripods! The 1 hour hike up to the lake was nice enough and the scenery quite relaxing, so missing out on any colourful sunset wasn’t too bad (except maybe for Derek, who forgot something at the campsite and had to run back and return up to the lake to get the time-lapse he wanted…)

The sun is setting behind Rocky Point at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park - no clouds in sight, but still beautiful.

The sun is setting behind Rocky Point at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park - no clouds in sight, but still beautiful.

Along the Going-to-the-Sun road, going across Logan Pass, there are countless waterfalls, such as this one next to the Weeping Wall.

Along the Going-to-the-Sun road, going across Logan Pass, there are countless waterfalls, such as this one next to the Weeping Wall.

 

On our third day, I started early to get another campsite and thoroughly enjoyed driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road across Logan Pass by myself! We shot the beautiful Avalanche gorge in the morning, before setting up at our new campsite. Our afternoon program included two more waterfalls: St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls, situated at the south-west end of St. Mary Lake. However, after seeing St. Mary Falls, we stayed there for about 2 hours, until I slipped on some moss, fell down a small cliff and got my trousers all muddy and wet. Luckily, I didn’t get hurt and I managed to get the image I wanted!

Getting myself all muddy after sliding off of a moss covered cliff at St. Mary Falls. Worth it though to get the image I wanted!

Getting myself all muddy after sliding off of a moss covered cliff at St. Mary Falls. Worth it though to get the image I wanted!

Me marvelling at the beautiful Avalanche Gorge, fed by Avalanche Lake on the west side of Glacier National Park.

Me marvelling at the beautiful Avalanche Gorge, fed by Avalanche Lake on the west side of Glacier National Park.

For sunset, it almost looked like the weather was going to cooperate, but decided not to in the very end, by giving us some colour in the most useless part of the sky. Still, it was nice to see that it is possible after all to get colourful skies out here! Since Derek and I needed a good rest, we slept in and spent the morning doing some photo management.

We headed to Two Medicine Lake in the late afternoon, where we planned on photographing another waterfall and Two Medicine Lake. While the lake was nice to see, we didn’t find a compelling composition and moved on to the Running Eagle Falls, which more than satisfied us. The waterfall really is two waterfalls, one coming out from the top, the other out of the rock’s face, behind the first one! While it was stunning to photograph and look at, I got cold pretty quickly and moved back to the car, dismissing our last night in Glacier NP for sunset, as once again, all the clouds had moved out.

The Running Eagle Falls near Two Medicine Lake have a trick up their sleeve: They are actually two falls, one hidden behind the other. They are only visible individually only if there's a low flow of water coming from the top - otherwise the top waterfall would obscure the lower one.

The Running Eagle Falls near Two Medicine Lake have a trick up their sleeve: They are actually two falls, one hidden behind the other. They are only visible individually only if there's a low flow of water coming from the top - otherwise the top waterfall would obscure the lower one.

After a very short night I got up at 5.15 am to shoot sunrise at the Wild Goose Island Overlook, where I would get glowing mountain peaks and the Wild Goose Island in St. Mary Lake in the foreground. Despite the lashing wind I managed to get the photo I wanted, even though I would have wished for some (more) clouds, but by now I'm sort of used to that...

The rising sun illuminates the mountains lining St. Mary Lake, Wild Goose Island can also be seen.

The rising sun illuminates the mountains lining St. Mary Lake, Wild Goose Island can also be seen.

As my visit at Glacier National Park comes to an end, I realise I discovered a passion to shoot waterfalls. We did some of them here, and I am looking forward to shooting some more in Banff and Jasper, but especially the ones we have planned in Portland! For now, off to Canada!

Until then,
David