Handy Guidebook for Glacier Park’s Wildflowers

During the Spring and Summer, hikers throughout Glacier National Park report being enchanted by the colorful profusion of wildflowers from McDonald Valley to Granite Park to the Belly River Valley. For years, I counted on Guide to Glacier National Park by George C. Ruhle and Plants of Waterton-Glacier National Parks by Richard J. Shaw and Danny On for identifying just what I was seeing along the trail.

Sad to say, both of these books are out of print and relatively hard to find. The pages of my old wildflower book are now a loose-leaf collection of sheets; the same would also be true of Ruhle’s book if it were not spiral bound.

Last year, Mountain Press Publishing came out with a wonderful replacement for the book by Shaw and On: Wildflowers of Glacier National Park and Surrounding Areas. Written by botanists Shannon Fitzpatrick Kimball and Peter Lesica, the book features beautiful photographs and layperson friendly details.

A botanist for 15 years, Kimball has served as a consultant for the park. Lesica is also the co-author (with Debbie McNeil) of A Flora of Glacier National Park, Montana and other books based on his 25 years as a Montana botanist.

Published in April 2010, this 260-page guide is an easy-to-use wonder for Glacier’s visitors from Red Bus tourists to casual hikers to ardent backpackers and climbers. The book is available from Amazon and through the Glacier Association. Like my earlier book, this one also groups flowers by color—a very handy technique.

Readers of Glacier Park Magazine will also enjoy Kimball’s article “The Healthy Rose” in the magazine’s Spring 2011 issue.

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A Glacier Park Novel

Going-to-the-Sun Road Geology

Every year thousands of people enjoy the views from Glacier National Park’s engineering marvel known as the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Whether you’re looking at the scenery from the seat of your bicycle, a red tour bus or your car, the trip from St. Mary’s to Lake McDonald provides some of the best high country ambiance in the Rocky Mountains.

Up close and personal, you will notice the rock formations. They are stunning and colorful but, unless you have a good tour guide or a handy reference book, the geology on display may remain incomprehensible.

Geology Along Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana will meet your needs perfectly. First published by the Glacier Association in 1983, this practical, well-illustrated guidebook has met the test of time. The book is organized into twenty-one stops from east to west along Sun Road that illustrate many of the park’s geological features.

Sun Road Tour Stops

Sun Road's Logan Pass - NPS Photo
The book includes color photographs of both the far-away and the close-up features. For example, you can compare what you see when you look at Curly Bear Mountain 3.9 miles from the entrance station with a diagrammed photograph that illustrates the mountain’s visible rock formations.

Or, at Stop 5, “Grinnell Formation,” text and close-up photographs in the book help you better understand this colorful red rock. Logan Pass, Stop 10, at 6,680 offers excellent views of the horn-shaped mountains created by glaciation, including Clements Mountain (shown in the book).

In addition to the stops, the book includes a glossary, information about rock colors, a list of the park’s rock formations and a handy shaded relief map of the road. Written by geologists in a language intended for non-scientists, the guide adds to a visitor’s understanding and enjoyment of a highway that has thrilled millions of tourists since its completion in 1932.

Malcolm R. Campbell, who worked as an editorial assistant for this Glacier Association book project, is the author of two novels partially set in the park, The Sun Singer and Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey.

Crawford W. Long Museum Included in Civil War Sites Guidebook

The Crawford W. Long Museum in Jefferson is among the 350 historic sites included in Crossroads of Conflict: Guide to Civil War Sites in Georgia from the University of Georgia Press.

The entry, which includes a photograph of the museum’s historic 1858 Pendergrass Store, notes that the facility “honors the physician Crawford W. Long, who attended the University of Georgia where he roomed with Alexander H. Stephens, the future vice president of the Confederacy. Long is credited as the first physician to use ether for surgical purposes.” Long served in the Athens, Georgia Home Guard and as a surgeon for the Confederacy.

Written by Barry L. Brown and Gordon R. Elwell, the Georgia Civil War Commission publication is an expanded update of the 1994 edition of the guidebook. The 304-page new edition, which arranges Georgia sites into nine regions beginning with the Chickamauga Battlefield in the northwest, includes 65 black and white photographs, 190 color photographs and images, and twenty maps.

According to the University of Georgia Press, “The impact of the Civil War on Georgia was greater than any other event in the state’s history. Approximately eleven thousand Georgians were killed and the state suffered more than one hundred thousand in total casualties. Georgia was extremely influential in this nation’s most tragic conflict, and the war touched every corner of the state.”

Born in Danielsville, Georgia, Crawford W. Long (1815-1878) first used ether for surgical anesthesia on March 30, 1842.

“Do a Georgia resident, friend planning a cultural tourism vacation to the South, or student of the Civil War might enjoy this guidebook? If so, click the Share This button below to send a link by email or recommend this post on your favorite social site.”

Coming Attractions on Malcolm’s Round Table

November 17 – An interview with author Vila Spiderhawk
November 21 – Second Annual Blog Jog Day
December 17 – Virtual VHP Dine-a-Round