A Landing a Day

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Glacier National Park, Montana

Posted by graywacke on August 9, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2360; A Landing A Day blog post number 792.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (48o 7.002’N, 113o 11.849’W) puts me in NW Montana:

Here’s my local landing map:

OK, there are some local towns, but I thought that this landing was close enough to Glacier National Park to forgo the towns and feature the park.  [Random musing:  one might think that the opposite of “forgo” should be “forstop”, or is it, as Jody just suggested –  “fivego?”]

And no, Glacier National Park has not been featured previously on ALAD.

Here’s my most local streams-only map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Lodgepole Ck; on to Morrison Ck; on to the Middle Fork of the Flathead River (1st hit ever!).  Zooming back:

The Middle Fork joins up to the plain ol’ Flathead (13th hit), which makes its way to the Clark Fork (23rd hit).  OK, I’ll zoom back one more time:

And the Clark Fork is almost the only game in town for the Pend Oreille (with 23 of its 25 hits); on to the Mighty Columbia (171st hit).

It’s time to free fall in to the mountains of NW Montana.  Click HERE to hitch your wagon to the Google Earth (GE) yellow pushpin and settle in to our latest random location.

Here’s an oblique GE shot looking north towards Glacier:

And one looking east up the valley of Lodgepole Creek:

I had to head way north to Route 2 near Essex (see local landing map) to get a GE Street View look at my drainage pathway.  Here’s the lovely view of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River one can see there:

So, I was a little overwhelmed by the immensity (and the immense beauty) of Glacier National Park.  I figured I could feature the retreat of glaciers in the park (which I do) along with some choice GE Panoramio shots (which I do).  But what else? 

Well, I happened to be checking out the NYTimes webpage and I found an 8/3/17 article by Steph Yin entitled “Mountain Goats on Your Trail?  They Like You and Your Urine.”  And then, to my amazement and delight, I found that the article features mountain goats in Glacier National Park!

Here are some excerpts:

A few years ago, employees at Glacier National Park in Montana noticed that mountain goats were hanging out — even sleeping — far away from cliffs, and spending much of their time near humans. Researchers who investigated this atypical behavior determined that where there were people, there were fewer predators. Also where there were people, there was pee.

Combined, these phenomena afford mountain goats two prized essentials: safety and salt. “You can’t beat that. It’s like vacation for goats,” said Wesley Sarmento, who led the study, published in the journal Biological Conservation last month, as a master’s student at the University of Montana.

Mountain goats love salt. They are known to travel more than 15 miles to lick natural salt deposits, which provide essential nutrients. But human urine is packed with minerals from our salty diets, and mountain goats will forgo [there’s that word again!] those journeys if there is a lot of urine around. As a result, many a hiker has strayed off-trail to tinkle and found mountain goats lurking, eager to lick a rock or eat a plant drenched in fresh, life-sustaining urine.

They not only seek out urine, but also place where tourists place their sweaty hands (caption below):

Mountain goats licking salt off a fence at Glacier National Park in Montana. Goats in the park tend to follow the paths of humans because of the leftover salt from urine and because where humans are, predators aren’t. Credit Rex Features, via Associated Press

And here’s a picture of hikers surrounded by mountain goats (caption below):

Hikers surrounded by mountain goats on the Hidden Lake Nature Trail in Glacier National Park. Credit Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

I found a May 10, 2017 CNN write-up about the decline of glaciers in the park, by Steve Almasy and Mayra Cuevas, entitled “The big melt: Glacier National Park is losing its glaciers.”

Some excerpts:

The 37 glaciers remaining at Glacier National Park are vanishing.

In the past half century, some of the ice formations in Montana have lost 85% of their size, and the average shrinkage is 39%, a study released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University says.

One day, they will be gone, the study’s lead scientist said Wednesday.

“The trend right now is that they are inexorably going into their final demise. There is no chance they will go into rebirth,” Dan Fagre said. “In several decades they will be mostly gone. They will certainly be gone before the end of the century.”

And humans are responsible, he said.

“There are variations in the climate but it is humans that have made all those variations warmer,” he said. “The glaciers have been here for 7,000 years and will be gone in decades. This is not part of the natural cycle.”

I’ve never been to Glacier National Park, but I have visited Athabasca Glacier in Jaspar National Park, Alberta Canada.  This was back in 1985, but I distinctly remember seeing roadside markers showing where the toe of the glacier was at various times in the past. 

Here’s a picture of one of the markers (GE Pano by Idle Moor).

And yes, anthropogenic climate change started up about a hundred years ago, when greenhouse gas emissions really started ramping up.  Here’s a graph:

OK.  Let’s look at some GE Panoramio shots of Glacier National Park.  I’ll start out with this, by YSato

Also by YSato:

Tom Lussier Photography:

Also Tom Lussier Photography:

T. Jacobs:

Steven Irwin:

By Владимир Ш:

By Bruce MacIver:

I’ll close with a much more local Pano shot; this by Andy Turner, taken 5 miles west of my landing:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day


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