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Glacier's Grandeur: Inside Glacier National Park

Program Number: 21016RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/3/2014 - 8/8/2014; 8/17/2014 - 8/22/2014; 8/31/2014 - 9/5/2014; 9/14/2014 - 9/19/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Glacier National Park, Montana
Price starting at: $1,655.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; Walking/Hiking; Outdoor Adventures, Misc.; Science & Nature
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

From our lodging inside the park, explore different areas of the park daily and return to relax on warm summer evenings on spectacular Lake McDonald. Experience the grandeur of Glacier National Park — so named because its dramatic landscape was carved by glaciers eons ago. Encounter the wonder and splendor within this “Crown of the Continent” during daily field trips to the Lake McDonald Valley, Logan Pass and Many Glacier areas of the park. Field trips are enhanced by instructors, naturalists, and other experts detailing the variety of life, mammoth lakes and serrated peaks in one of nature’s greatest works of art.




Highlights

• Discover rugged, glaciated mountains that rise above stunning valleys and turquoise waters, home to a natural wealth of plants and wildlife in the Swiftcurrent Valley.
• Take a scenic float trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
• Travel the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road and touch the Continental Divide, where waters flow both toward the Pacific and the Atlantic.



Activity Particulars

Easy to moderate 1 - 5 mile walks and hikes on mountainous, uneven and rocky terrain; stairs, getting in and out of water raft. Hotel elevation 3,153 feet; highest elevaton 6,600 feet.



Participants split into smaller groups for daily field trips and hikes.



Coordinated by Black Hills Educational Institute.




Glacier National Park

This million-acre wilderness includes towering summits, mirror-like lakes, and hundreds of bird and mammal species, as well as the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 52-mile narrow and winding journey through the heart of the park over the Continental Divide.



Accommodations
Comfortable and rustic motel with modest amenities resulting in a one-of-a kind, National Park lodging experience.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Lori Curtis

Lori Curtis is the science and education director for the Whitefish Lake Institute. With a master’s degree in environmental studies and a bachelor’s in business management, she has conducted research in aquatic ecosystems and directed terrestrial restoration efforts. Lori’s extensive career includes diverse management roles across a variety of disciplines. In 2010, Lori wrote the “Flathead Watershed Sourcebook: A Guide to an Extraordinary Place.” She is also an adjunct instructor for Green Mountain College and serves on the Flathead CORE Watershed Education Committee. She is the recipient of the 2010 Partner of the Year award from the Northwest Regional RC&D and the 2011 Outstanding Writer Award from the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Lori and her husband Walt enjoy the many outdoor activities of the area, particularly hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and kayaking.
 
Ellen Horowitz

Ellen Horowitz has conducted field classes and natural history explorations for 35 years, but she’s been peering through hand lenses and binoculars her entire life. She received formal training in bugs, flowers, forests, feathers and fur from Earlham College, the University of New Hampshire and Oregon State University. Ellen currently teaches field botany, Rocky Mountain flora, and practical botany at Flathead Valley Community College. She also offers natural history courses and excursions through the college’s continuing education department and the Glacier Institute. Her work as a naturalist and writer has been recognized with several honors, including Montana Audubon’s Outstanding Educator of the Year, and awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Ellen and her husband live on a farm in rural Columbia Falls with their Australian cattle dog and six mules, and are restoring their century-old log homestead house.
 
Brian Peck

Brian Peck is an independent wildlife consultant working with the Great Bear Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council to bring about the recovery of grizzly and wolf populations in North America. His educational background is in wildlife biology and natural resource administration from the University of Massachusetts and Colorado State University, respectively. Brian spent 21 years with Boulder Colorado’s Mountain Parks and Open Space system, first as a Ranger and naturalist and later as natural resources and education coordinator. During the winter of 1986-87, Brian took a leave from his Ranger job to help the Wolf Ecology Project track the return of wolves to Glacier National Park’s North Fork of the Flathead River Valley. He later served as the wolf and grizzly recovery coordinator for the National Audubon Society before beginning his current career as a consultant.
 
Becky Lomax

Becky Lomax first saw Glacier National Park when she was three years old during a trip with her family. During college, she returned to work for two summers at Glacier Park Lodge, and later, led hiking and backpacking trips for more than a decade. She is author the Glacier National Park Moon Guidebook Series, which is now in its fourth edition. Currently working as a writer and photographer, Becky has published articles and images on Glacier’s wildlife, trails, history, lodges, melting icefields, and ecology in magazines such as Smithsonian, Montana Magazine, and Montana Outdoors.
 
Ashley Mason

Ashley Mason started her career in music in 1986 as a voice major at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem North Carolina. She was nearly finished with her degree in voice performance when she heard "the call of the wild.” Much to her parents confusion, she transferred to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina to study geology. After finishing up in 1992 with a minor in field biology, Ashley came to Montana to teach for the Glacier Institute. Since then she has been a familiar face in the conservation education field in Northwest Montana. Ashley has been the program director for The Glacier Institute, and has worked for Swan Ecosystem Center, Upward Bound, Flathead Land Trust, and as a ranger naturalist for Glacier National Park. Currently, she is the conservationeducator for Flathead Audubon Society and was the 2012 Audubon Educator of the year. Ashley loves to take the miraculous drama of the landscape and turn it into a story that will captivate her audiences. She lives in Kalispell with her husband, two children, four chickens, cat, and guinea pig.
 
Paul Rappaport

Paul has worked in Glacier National Park for the past five years in several capacities, including work with the Glacier Institute. With a master's in geology and a lifelong passion for weather, climate, and climate change issues, Paul brings to Road Scholar a critical component of understanding and appreciation for the natural world. When Paul is not leading hikes, he is an avid cyclist, skier and winter backcountry safety instructor. Paul just finished a two month bicycle journey through Europe before joining us in Montana for the summer season.
 
Denny Olson

As the star of the TV show “Critterman’s World,” which appeared on the NBC Montana Today Show for more than four years, Denny Olson has entertained and educated people of all ages in the wonders of nature. His humorous alter-egos — including The Grizz, Dr. Loonacy and Antler Antics, among others — have appeared as he has given presentations across the country to more than 2 million people. Denny has trained thousands of naturalists, teachers and students in acting techniques, lectured on Native American storytelling as a teaching tool, and conducted graduate-level storytelling workshops nation-wide. His critically acclaimed books include, “Way of the Whitetail,” as well as the children’s book, “Special Gifts.” Formally trained as a biologist and geologist, Denny has an M.S. from the University of Minnesota. For the last few years, Denny has applied these skills to his love for Glacier National Park, leading interpretive hikes and doing park presentations.
 
Leila Robinson

Throughout her lifetime, Leila Robinson has developed a great love of the outdoors, and especially enjoys exploring it in hiking mode. Her love of travel and nature has taken her to every continent, and she has been thrilled to see and experience each journey. Leila been a high school and college educator in art and interdisciplinary studies, as well as a museum program developer for 13 years. Being able to live in Glacier for the past seven summers has given her a true appreciation of this incredible and favorite national park.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Motel Lake McDonald
  Lake McDonald in West Glacier 5 nights
 Motel Lake McDonald
Type: Motel
  Description: Motel Lake McDonald is made up of two, 2-story buildings and it is tucked quaintly near the shores of picturesque Lake McDonald. Motel Lake McDonald is located about 300 yards from Lake McDonald Lodge.
  Contact info: 1 Going-to-the-Sun Road
Glacier National Park, MT 59921 USA
phone: 406-888-5100
web: www.glacierparkinc.com
  Room amenities: All guestrooms at Motel Lake McDonald are rustic, yet comfortable. In keeping in the era in which all the rooms were built, they offer guests modest amenities and old-world style accommodations resulting in a one-of-a kind, National Park lodging experience. All rooms at Motel Lake McDonald have hair dryers, irons and an ironing board. All rooms have a private bathroom and there are no connecting rooms. There is a heater, but no air conditioning as it is seldom needed in the mountains. The 2nd level rooms are accessed via stairs only.
  Facility amenities: There is a nearby General Store for incidental needs. The nearby Lake McDonald Lodge (about 300 yards) has a full restaurant and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: call for pricing Please call central reservations for any pre or post night stays. 406-888-5100
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: call for pricing Please call central reservations for any pre or post night stays. 406-888-5100
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Motel Lake McDonald is located near Lake McDonald Lodge. Check in anytime after 3:00 p.m. Orientation will take place in the Creekside Room at 4:00 p.m. You will be staying at Motel Lake McDonald that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Motel check out by 11:00 a.m. You will be staying at Motel Lake McDonald the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Because the program begins inside Glacier National Park you will need to purchase your own Park Entrance pass or bring your National Park Pass with you for entrance into Glacier National Park and access to Motel Lake McDonald. Entrance into the Park is not included in the program. A waiver will need to be signed on site at the time of the float trip.
  Parking availability:
There is free parking at Motel Lake McDonald
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Lake McDonald in West Glacier
  Nearest city or town:  West Glacier
  Nearest highway: Hwy 2
  Nearest airport:  Glacier International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Lake McDonald in West Glacier
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Glacier International Airport - Kalispell

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Glacier Taxi
phone: 406-250-3603
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

45 minutes 

   

To ensure availability of transportation upon arrival, contact Taxi service 1 week prior to program start. Return service can be scheduled upon arrival with the driver.

 

West Glacier

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Lake McDonald Shuttle
phone: 406-888-5431
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

   

The Hotel Shuttle can only pick up from the West Glacier Belton Train Stop. The only payment option is CASH. To ensure availability upon arrival, contact the Front Desk at Lake McDonald Lodge 1 day prior. Return service can be scheduled through the Front Desk upon arrival.

 

Glacier International Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Kountry Taxi
phone: 406-250-8015
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

45 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

34.6

   

To ensure availability of transportation upon arrival, contact company 1 week prior to program start. Return service can be scheduled upon arrival with the driver.

 
Driving Directions
  Kalispell Follow US Hwy 2 from Kalispell through Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse. Take a left in West Glacier on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Drive approximately 11 miles along the shoreline of Lake McDonald. Follow the signs to Lake McDonald Lodge and Motel Lake McDonald (300 yards from Lake McDonald Lodge).
Elevation Note: Elevation at the hotel is 3,153'. The highest elevation you'll experience during the week is 7,000'.

Equipment Requirements: Warm waterproof clothing, rain jacket, sturdy hiking boots, waterproof shoes / sandals (for float trip), a day pack, collapsible walking stick, hat and a leak-proof water bottle are highly recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals / Lodge Check-in / Orientation / Welcome Dinner / Area Introductory Orientation
(Sunday, August 3)
   
 Afternoon: Check in at Motel Lake McDonald anytime after 3:00 p.m. Collect your Road Scholar Program Welcome Packet at time of check in. Orientation will take place at 4:00 p.m. in the Creekside Room located next to Lake McDonald Lodge, approximately 300 yards from Motel Lake McDonald. The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date daily program schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. During free time, the Group Leader will often be available to guide informal excursions, activities, or meals not included in the program. You are welcome to join if you wish, with associated costs (if any) on your own, or explore independently. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Opening dinner will take place in Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge. Participants will be able to order off the menu. The Dining Room is known for its wild game, and local specialties.
 Evening: After dinner, return to the Creekside room for the conclusion of the area introductory orientation.
   
Accommodations: Motel Lake McDonald
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Interpretive Hikes in the Lake McDonald Valley / Presentation / Boat Cruise on Lake McDonald
(Monday, August 4)
   
 Breakfast: The breakfast menu at Russell’s Fireside Dining Room includes many standard American classics as well as a lighter fare for those not looking for a heavy morning meal.
 Morning: We'll begin our exploration of Glacier National Park by walking / hiking Trail of the Cedars, Avalanche Lake Trail or McDonald Creek Falls, (trail selections are made by individual group leaders and field instructors on the day of the hike based on weather, trail conditions and group ability). Trail of the Cedars is a spectacular wet forest trail looping through old-growth stands of western redcedar, western hemlock and black cottonwood and boarders a section of Avalanche Creek. Avalanche Lake Trail follows the west rim of the gorge and ends up at an idyllic, subalpine lake rimmed with waterfalls. McDonald Creek Falls Trail wanders through a mixed woodland of hemlock, larch and Douglas fir, leading you on a path to McDonald Creek's turquoise waters and churning falls.
 Lunch: A fresh pre-selected sack-lunch sandwich wrap that will include sides, piece of fruit and a bottle of water.
 Afternoon: This afternoon will be a continuation of walks and hikes through the beautiful Lake McDonald Valley. We'll return to Motel Lake McDonald for some down time prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge.
 Evening: Following dinner we’ll walk a short distance to the boat dock for a cruise around Lake McDonald on a historic wooden boat. A narrative of the lake will help orient us to the terrain and history of the park.
   
Accommodations: Motel Lake McDonald
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trip to Logan Pass via the Historic Going-to-the-Sun Road / Interpretive Scenic Hike
(Tuesday, August 5)
   
 Breakfast: Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge.
 Morning: This morning ascend the Historic Going-to-the-Sun Road, an engineering marvel with portions built on mountain cliffs complete with tunnels, arches and narrow switch backs help showcase Glacier's stunning scenery. Cross the Continental Divide at Logan Pass where waters flow both to the Pacific and Atlantic.
 Lunch: A fresh pre-selected sack-lunch sandwich wrap that will include sides, piece of fruit and a bottle of water.
 Afternoon: We'll continue our exploration along the Going-to-the-Sun Road with moderate walks and hikes led by expert field instructors.
 Dinner: Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge.
 Evening: After dinner we'll have a presentation covering more of the amazing ecosystems and historic cultures of Glacier National Park and the surrounding area.
   
Accommodations: Motel Lake McDonald
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field Trip to Many Glacier / Interpretive Scenic Hikes / Free Evening
(Wednesday, August 6)
   
 Breakfast: Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge.
 Morning: This morning we'll depart for the north east side of Glacier National Park. The Swiftcurrent Valley showcases amazing views of rugged peaks, pristine lakes and roaming wildlife. Expert field instructors will lead us on beautiful trails with breathtaking views.
 Lunch: A fresh pre-selected sack-lunch sandwich wrap that will include sides, piece of fruit and a bottle of water.
 Afternoon: Groups will conclude their instructor-led hikes and depart for their return trip to Motel Lake McDonald.
 Dinner: This dinner has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader for dinner at your own cost if you like.
 Evening: Free evening. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please feel free to ask the Group Leader for free time activity suggestions.
   
Accommodations: Motel Lake McDonald
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Presentation / Scenic Float Trip on the Middle Fork River
(Thursday, August 7)
   
 Breakfast: Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge.
 Morning: This morning we'll have a presentation covering more of the amazing ecosystems and historic cultures of Glacier National Park and the surrounding area.
 Lunch: Jammer Joe's Pizzeria and Grill. Participants will be free to order off the menu for lunch. Jammer Joe’s serves up pizzas, salads and sandwiches in a retro Red Bus atmosphere.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, enjoy a scenic interpretive 6 mile float trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
 Dinner: Bring an extra set of clothes for this evening's outdoor barbecue directly following the float trip.
   
Accommodations: Motel Lake McDonald
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Independent Departures
(Friday, August 8)
   
 Breakfast: Meal coupons will be provided for breakfast at the Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge, open from 6:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
 Morning: The program concludes with breakfast, followed by independent departures. Please note that check out is by 11:00 a.m.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Glacier - A Natural History Guide


Author: David Rockwell


Description: Author and naturalist David Rockwell presents in-depth descriptions of the geology, history, flora, and fauna of the park. He explains the park's evolution from the erosion of Siberian mountains more than a billion years ago to the glaciers that gave Glacier National Park its distinctive landscape. He examines the park's great predators-grizzly bears, mountain lions, and wolves-and their complex relationship with their prey. The result is a fascinating and intimate portrait of one of the world's last wild places.



Going-to-the-Sun Road: Glacier National Park's Highway to the Sky


Author: C.W. Guthrie


Description: Traveling Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is an experience like no other. Laborers toiled for nearly 20 years to complete the 50-mile road that winds an impossible route through the heart of Glacier. One of the most scenic highways in the world, this marvel of engineering set the standard for all national parks. C. W. Guthrie tells the intriguing tale of the history and the construction of the epic Going-to-the-Sun Road. Includes more than 60 black-and-white historic and color photographs, maps.



Geology Along Going-to-the-Sun Road


Author: Raup, Earhart, Whipple, and Carrara


Description: With this colorful and lively guide, Glacier National Park visitors can tour the fascinating geologic events that created the park's majestic scenery. Complete with an easy-to-read map that offers a three-dimensional perspective on the area's geology, Geology Along Going-to-the-Sun Road gives lay readers and geologists alike a glimpse into Glacier's unique geologic summary.



Grizzly Country


Author: Andy Russell


Description: The grizzly bear has always inspired awe in man, but the animal's true nature and character has long been shrouded in myth. Few people know grizzlies as Andy Russell does, and in Grizzly Country he shares stories from a lifetime of experience observing them, first as hunter, then as cameraman. In wonderfully engaging prose, he reveals the life cycle of this remarkable creature.



Wildflowers of Glacier National Park


Author: Shannon Fitzpatrick Kimball and Peter Lesica


Description: Wildflowers of Glacier National park and Surrounding Areas is a user-friendly guide featuring over 300 of Glacier National Park's most common plant species. From wildflowers to trees to grasses and sedges, this book features beautiful photographs, detailed descriptions, notes on habitat and fun facts for each plant. It's a perfect plant reference for anyone with an interest in the natural history and splendor of Glacier National Park. The index lists plants both by their common and scientific names.



Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park


Author: James Willard Schultz


Description: The author writes a series of diary entries as his Blackfoot friends tell stories in the lodge or around the fire at the end of the day. He has managed to keep the compelling style of his original material, told by talented story tellers. The stories run the gamut from tribal history to legend and myth and convey something of Blackfoot culture, daily life, and beliefs.



Flathead Watershed Sourcebook, A Guide to an Extraordinary Place


Author: Lori S. Curtis


Description: This book serves as a primer to the Flathead Watershed. Viewed from a bioregional perspective, it discusses the many people and systems that make up the Flathead Watershed - one of the most biologically intact ecosystems in North America. This book weds science and art, nature and human nature into an appealing and informative publication. Call 406-862-1160 or visit publisher@flatheadwatershed.org to receive a copy





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