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Monday, August 1, 2011

National Park Lodges

When folks find out our family is going to visit a National Park, they inevitably ask, "Are you camping?" My husband chuckles. I shake my head. No, I prefer to have a bed and indoor shower after a long day of hiking. Besides that, we love the history and beauty of the National Park Lodges. A calm settles over me when I enter the lobbies of these buildings.

The trip to Glacier National Park found us staying at four such places: Many Glacier Hotel (1915), Glacier Park Lodge (1913), Lake McDonald Lodge (1914), and Belton Chalet (1910). The craftsmanship and foresight involved in their creations is clearly evident. Each has charm and architectural uniqueness and a notable sense of character. I marvel that a century has passed since these opened to the public, and I often wonder about those who have come before me. If the walls could speak, I would love to know their stories.

Great Lodges of the National Parks (and its sequel) by Christine Barnes provides the history behind many of the notable dwellings, and I have returned to it this week to reinforce and add to the things I learned about the four places we stayed. Not only does the text inform, but the accompanying photographs vividly bring each place to life.


7 comments:

  1. i bet those walls were whispering to you the entire time you were there.

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  2. I've never stayed at a National Park lodge, although I've marveled at the beauty of the few I've seen (Rainier and Yellowstone). I've always assumed it would be impossible to book a room. You've planted a good idea in my brain.

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  3. You need to stay at a lodge, David. You missed two of my favorites: Paradise Inn at Mount Rainier and Lake Hotel at Yellowstone. It's not impossible to get a room...you just have to start about 9 months in advance and be a bit flexible.

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  4. I am enjoying your posts about your visit to Glacier very much and especially liked this one. My husband worked at Mount Rainier NP while Paradise Inn was being restored after the historic 2006 flood. During the five years we lived nearby, we often came to "play for the day" at the Inn. And despite years of one of us having a Park Service job, we do not camp in tents!

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  5. We stayed at Paradise Inn just before the restoration, Laurie! My favorite memory there is of waking up on our first morning (it was cloudy and raining when we arrived the previous night), going for a run in the clouds, sitting on the bed while writing in my journal afterward, and suddenly seeing the mountain as the clouds cleared! I love that you also do not camp :) You and I must meet someday!

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  6. I am so glad the Mountain showed itself to you in that way! My first view of Raineir came after a month of me living right next to it and never seeing it during a typical Washington spring. I kept pointing out various mountains at lower altitude, asking my husband if that was it. He just smiled and said I'd know it when I saw it. And boy, did I. After I recovered from being stunned by the view, I wanted to climb it. And after I recovered from learning I couldn't (doctor's orders; I have a lung condition), I wanted to hike it. Even though we've moved to Northern CA, I still get back to Mount Rainier and hike alongside it a couple times a year. If I'm lucky, I see it. If I'm even luckier, it's from Paradise.

    I think it would be wonderful to meet, too! Maybe our mutual friend David can help make it happen.

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  7. I knew some people did not see Mount Rainier when visiting for just a few days, but I had no idea it could be a month, Laurie! I will imagine you on the Skyline Trail getting as close as possible to the summit :)

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