Going to the Sun Road

by kfrego

Going to the Sun Road crosses the Rocky Mountains through Glacier National Park. The fifty plus miles of highway was constructed in 1932 and is open for traffic from June through early fall. Vehicle length and size restrictions are enforced. The east end of the road follows St. Marys Lake at elevation 4484 feet.  The road crosses the continental divide at Logan Pass and reaches an elevation of 6646 feet. On the west side the road drops to 2984 feet at Lake McDonald. The scenery is outstanding.

Can you imagine spending days with almost no scenery at all and looking ahead to see the Rocky Mountains becoming more prominent on the horizon? This was the backdrop of my next adventure. It was quite a trip with both families, lots of kids, two cars, and long days riding. The trip was taking it’s toll on everybody, but mostly on our Aunt Marion. When looking back today it was probably because she never realized exactly how far it was from upstate New York to Spokane, Washington. The anticipation of entering Glacier National Park and the Rocky Mountains has never been forgotten. The drive along the shores of Lake St. Marys was really enjoyable.

We were soon away from the lake and heading uphill towards what seemed like the top of the world. The further we went the more spectacular the scenery became. We made several stops to look out over the wilderness below. Before we reached the summit of Logan Pass, Aunt Marion wasn’t enjoying this adventure at all. When we stopped on top to view Lake McDonald twenty some miles away and nearly 3600 feet below us to the west her day was ruined. You’re on top and the only way to go is down. It doesn’t matter which way you go so turning around doesn’t help. All of us kids were enjoying this great adventure, but Aunt Marion was scared to death. As our two cars made the descent off Logan Pass she kneeled on the front floor and refused to raise her head. She stayed on the floor until Uncle Harold convinced her we were actually on flat terrain again.

My mother tried to comfort Aunt Marion when we would stop, but the trip had really depressed her. She was completely wore out from the experience. She could never get away from her ride on the floor. Dad and Uncle Harold made sure of that. It was just another part of a great adventure for us kids.

Maybe some day you will get to experience the ascent of Going to the Sun Road…..just don’t forget you have to come back down too.