G is for Glacier National Park

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on April 11, 2011 0 Comments

What is your phobia?  Mine is heights.  Back in the late 1980’s I took my Mom to Glacier National Park.  We heard that the Going to the Sun Highway was very beautiful, without knowing anything more we set off to explore.  Bad decision on my part!


The road is windy, narrow hardly any shoulders and did I say steep.  A man I knew who lived in Kallispell, MT told me his father had worked on building the original road during the 1930’s.  He said when he was a kid, they drove up there and you could touch the side of the mountain from the car window and on the other side was only a narrow shoulder.


By the time I drove the road it was two lanes with an occasional pull out.  (Place you could pull over to let other cars pass.)  Did I mention that I have major anxiety attacks connected to heights?  The trip up Going to the Sun Highway was beautiful.  It was also terrifying.  I realized early on that I was in for a difficult trip, but there was no place to turn around and go back.  I had to keep on going.


The Going to the Sun Road is approximately 50 miles long.  In places the drop is phenomenal.  You have to admire the engineering and grit it took to carve the original road out of the mountain.  It seemed like it took forever to get to the top of the mountain.  Once there I asked how to get back to Kallispell.


“Mam, you take the road you just came up and you go down.  Just retrace your journey.”


These words sent ice shooting up my spine.  Perspiration dripped from my hands as they shook.  My heartbeat went into overdrive.  My chest felt like a 500 pound demon was sitting on it as I labored to breath.


I decided there had to be another answer.  I pointed to the road going in the opposite direction.  “Where does that go?”


“That will take you to Saint Marys.”


“So if I take that road, how do I get to Kallispell?”


The ranger looked at me with confusion.  “Mam, its a long way out of your way.  But follow the road and you will see some signs when you get to Browning.”


Its approximately 140 miles from Logan Pass to West Glacier KOA where our gear was.  Did I mention it was dark and I don’t enjoy driving in the dark.  We eventually made it back to our cabin around midnight.


I recently learned that the park now runs shuttles up the road.  People don’t have to drive themselves.  I would like to go again before the Glacier melts.  I know I would do better with someone else driving.      I can shut my eyes when it gets to scary.  That didn’t work so well when I was the one driving.



About the Author ()

I'm a curious person. Interested in stories, history, people, research. I am passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer's; and helping others who are now care givers for loved ones. I enjoy reading and currently using picture books as mentor texts wit

Leave a Reply