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.