|Us at the Bus
Our guide, Norm, who was battling a cold, battled through it and was able to do the tour despite his cold....He entertained us with a tremendous amount of interesting information, all kinds of geological stuff, interesting facts, and special points of interest that were personal to his own heart. We really appreciated that.
|Our driver's favorite overlook
Speaking of bears, Norm told us the "bear bells" that they sell at tourist places really don't work. The best advice he gave us and what rangers tell you, is to make plenty of noise on the trails. Clap your hands frequently, sing, talk loudly, or repeat, "HEY, BEAR!" loudly. (I don't like that one, sounds like you are asking him to come see you!) Don't run from a bear, as that triggers a pursuit response from the bear. We ran into some hikers as we did a little walking around the other day, and a mother was whispering to her kids, "Isn't this beautiful?" giving them the respect nature, tread softly, leave no trace behind speech, but in bear country, that's exactly the WRONG thing to do. Bears are all over the park--both grizzlies and black bear. And it's not as simple as black bears are black. Bears can be all different colors even if they are black bears. Black bears can be brown, and grizzlies can be black. Grizzlies have smushed in muzzles and a muscled hump on their neck/back area. They are so strong a swipe of a paw can break the neck of a MOOSE. Yikes! Norm said the best prevention is to make noise when hiking, hike in groups, don't hike after dark, and watch for BIG fresh bear scat, tree scrapes and carry bear spray. (It's like pepper spray).....(See? There is relevance to my blog title today in reference to bear poop!) Oh! and one more thing--Bears possess keen smell and hearing..dogs and pets are prohibited from being on the trails because they are prone to conflict with bears. Just one more bear fact (just the bare facts, ma'am!) Yuck, yuck! There are 400 grizzlies and about 1,000 black bears in the park. Sparky says how in the world do they know that when it's so heavily mountainous and forested??? They can't track them very well in helicopters or planes...Hm-m-m-m, well, we'll just have trust in the park rangers' info and be careful!
There are about 36 red buses in service here, and the history behind them is wonderful, Norm shared that, too--how they stripped them down to the bare wooden frame, refitted them with upholstery fabric, redid the engines completely (they have some kind of truck V-8 engine in them now) so that they can use hybrid fuels or propane. The red buses used to be used in other national parks as well, but now, Glacier is the only one that has the red ones. I guess there are some of the same White Company buses in Yellowstone and they are-----YELLOW! Surprise! But don't you just love the front ends of these buses?
So cool! Eldy and I rode in the way back after hearing several women say they get car sick easily, and we were really surprised at how comfortable they were riding in the very back. Not at all like a school bus! The suspension system on these is really great!
We learned a lot about the Going to the Sun Road, the construction of it, how unique it is, (cantilevered (?) into the side of the mountain instead of having umpteen switchbacks plowing through the valley...how architecturally unique it is, and how historically unique Glacier National Park is. The park has several important worldwide awards. The road itself is going through a major reconstruction for many years to come as mountain settling and upheavals have changed the structure of the road over the years since it was completed in the 1930's. It has great historical significance, so the reconstruction is planned to preserve it the way it was when it was first built.
They rebuilt this portion of the overpass by hanging over the edge in bosun's baskets held by rope in order to do the masonry work! Very dangerous work!
|Bird Woman Falls
|Last man standing, that's my Eldo!
Tomorrow, its a zoo! With all the animals we saw on the Red Bus tour, that is! You'll see what we mean. Part II tomorrow...hope to see you then, back at the pass, Logan's Pass.