By Robert Lucke
If you have long dreamed of scaling the most magnificent of Glacier National Park's peaks, but for whatever reason, just can't, this story is for you.
By studying maps, getting a good pair of binoculars and reading a couple of books, you can look into areas of Glacier that are all but impossible for most folks to even get to.
First the books. A great book is the "Glacier Climbing" book by Gordon Edwards. It describes in great detail how to climb most of Glacier's peaks and what there is to see along the way. It is also good to get a copy of the Glacier National Park place name book. That book is a great guide to pointing out things that are not usually known. For instance, in the Big Prairie up the North Fork of the Flathead, there used to be a town called Havreville because so many people from Havre had built cabins in that one spot. Probably nowhere but in that book can one find information like that these days.
So study the books, and see where you would like to go if you could go anywhere in the park that you wanted.
Maybe you have always wanted to visit Sperry Chalet and Glacier. Even though you might not ever be able to do that, you can stand at Apgar and look right straight into the basin that holds Sperry. Add your binoculars to the mix and all of a sudden Mount Edwards and the land between Mount Brown and Gunsight Mountain become as clear as if you were standing right there. Continue looking during the day as the sun changes on the mountains and the scene continuously changes, too. With bright sunshine, Mount Reynolds, Bear Hat and the Dragon's Tail can be seen in that picture, as well. And the trail to get into this beautiful bowl following up Snyder Creek from the Lake McDonald Lodge almost can be seen.
Or read Edwards' description of the 4,000-foot cliff on the north side of Mount Siyeh and you will want to see it. Go up the Many Glacier road past Lake Sherburne and there it is, and not only that, there is the huge bowl that Cracker Lake lies in directly below the cliff. Read of the technical climb up the cliff to the top of Mount Siyeh and you will be glad that you are climbing Glacier's peaks vicariously.
Read about the enormously difficult climb to the top of Mount Saint Nicholas in Glacier and then, while looking at that enormous Matterhorn in the Middle Fork region, remember that Havre resident Conrad Wellen climbed that beautiful peak first. Wellen was a long-time minister at the Presbyterian Church in Havre and has a Bear Paw peak named for him.
You can visit some intriguing places, such as Shangri la, Floral Park, and Virginia Falls and the hanging garden above, along with the hanging garden above Bird Woman Falls that same way.
All it takes is your map, some reading, and some good binoculars, and Glacier National Park will never look the same again.