Montana House Glacier National Park

Farewell to the Hungry Horse Hideout…

by grace on November 1, 2019

Saturday morning, Sept. 21st, It took us a while to load up all our stuff.

And i had to run around and take some last photos of some of the cute outside stuff…can you spot the metal bicycle to the left of the aspen tree?

I wish i’d taken a picture of the ingenious watering system our host had rigged up…slender hoses were snaked in the baskets and on timers, i think, so all the flowers looked fantastic.

cute bear!

and another one!

I hadn’t even noticed this cowboy til i was looking around for last-minute photo ops.

Such a great time. Air b&b has certainly been great for us!

we finally left at maybe 11:00 and drove to Apgar village one more time because i wanted to buy a fantastic photo of goat on the side of Goat Lick, an almost vertical slab of rock. But when we got there, somebody had bought the photo. Disappointing. Luckily the Montana House lady was able to have the artist make another print and they delivered it to us. I also bought another print, of a Pika. A pika is an adorable little creature, kind of like a big mouse? we didn’t actually see one, but it the photo was so cute that i had to buy it.

Here’s a photo i found on the web…i’d post a photo of the one i bought but it’s copyrighted.

Pika!

we then wandered over to the other gift store in Apgar and bought a few more souvenirs, and then headed back on Route 2 to Many Glacier.

We went on a great hike there, to be published soon…

I just looked up pikas on a website and i’m including all the info about them here because i think it’s really interesting.

Description of the Pika

These little mammals have stout bodies, short legs, and small ears. Most species have thick fur, which comes in handy living in old mountain peaks. There are a variety of species, all of which come in different shapes and sizes. The different species of these cute critters range anywhere from six to nine inches when fully grown, and weigh less than a pound.

Interesting Facts About the Pika

These seemingly insignificant little mammals are actually quite interesting creatures. From their mountain abodes, pikas exhibit a number of strange behaviors and unique adaptations. Learn more below!

  • Food so Nice, They Eat it Twice! – This close relative of the rabbit performs a similar behavior while foraging for food. After a meal, they produce green feces consisting of plants and grass. To better absorb the nutrients, they then eat this feces. Eww! The second time around, their stool looks like normal rodent poop, dark and solid.
  • Storage Capacity – Unlike some other cold-weather species, pikas do not hibernate over the winter. Instead, to survive the winter they most store food for themselves in their tunnels. Throughout the summer, these mammals create piles of grass, dry them in the sun, and bring them to their burrows to store for the winter.
  • Boys and Girls – Just like rabbits, female pikas are called “does,” and males are called “Bucks.” Males are usually slightly larger than females.
  • Far From Home – The majority of pika species live in various mountainous regions in Asia. However, two species do reside in North America. The American pika and the collared pika both live in North America. The American pika lives in the northwestern United States, while the collared pika lives in parts of Alaska and northwestern Canada.

Habitat of the Pika

Though there is a wide variety of species, all are adapted to life in cold climates. Because of this, they actually need cold temperatures, and can die if exposed to hotter climates.

The vast majority of species live in mountainous regions among the rocks and crevices. Some species also construct burrows in the soil. Those species that burrow live in less mountainous regions known as steppe, or grassland.

Distribution of the Pika

This animal’s distribution varies greatly based on species. There are two species that live in North America, the rest range throughout Asia. Quite a few species live in Mongolia and Siberia, as well as China, Nepal, India, and more. Some species have very restricted range, while others, like the Nubra pika, are more widespread through various countries.

Diet of the Pika

These creatures are herbivores, which means that they eat plants. Far from picky, they will feed on grasses, flowering plants, sedges, shrubs, mosses, and more. They spend some time feeding, and some time collecting plants to dry and store for the winter.

The colder the region, the more dried plants the pika needs to survive the winter. They create piles of grasses and other vegetation, and leave them in the sun to dry out. This prevents their food stores from rotting or growing mold.

Pika and Human Interaction

Because they live at such high elevations, pikas do not frequently interact with humans. Sadly, direct human contact is not necessarily the only way we can impact these creatures. Human-induced climate change has caused increases in global temperature.

As discussed previously, these creatures are quite sensitive to warm climates, and simply cannot survive if their environment gets too hot. This is causing various species to become isolated and fragmented as their usable habitat decreases. While the IUCN Red List still considers most species “Least Concern,” they have expressed the need for additional research and concern.

Domestication

Humans have not domesticated pikas in any way.

Does the Pika Make a Good Pet

Pikas do not make good pets. If they get too hot, they can die, so you must regulate their temperature at all times. They are also wild animals, and while you can tame young creatures with time and patience, as they reach sexual maturity they become less compatible with household life.

Pika Care

Zoos successfully care for various species of pikas. With so many species, there is no guaranteed care information for every individual, but the information for one species likely translates to another. The primary concern when caring for them is temperature regulation.

Zookeepers house pikas in temperature-controlled environments. They also provide them with rocky habitats, or those that have artificial rocks and tunnels. Their diet is easy to replicate, and zookeepers provide hay, a variety of fresh grasses, fruits, and vegetables.

Behavior of the Pika

Behavior varies from species to species. Some animals are diurnal, and most active during the day, while others prefer to forage during the early morning and late evening. Generally speaking, the colder the climate, the more likely that species is active during the day when it is warmer. Some species are social, and live in family groups. Other species are solitary, and even territorial.

Reproduction of the Pika

With such a wide variety of pika species, it is not surprising that breeding behavior varies. Some species produce large litters, while others have just a few offspring. Most tunnel-digging species produce more young than those that live in rock crevices. Across species, most gestation periods last approximately one month. Weaning and independence varies greatly between species, with some animals forming longer-lasting family groups.

Like i said, that was a lot of info, but it seemed interesting to me.

If you want to see even more adorable photos, here a link to the site.

ok then,

mrs. almost to the end of glacier hughes.

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Anniversary dinner in Apgar Village

by grace on October 22, 2019

After our great hike up Apgar Lookout Trail on Mon. Sept. 16th we headed back to Apgar Village. It’s the largest village in Glacier, but all it consists of is a couple of gift shops a couple of hotels, and a restaurant.

The first place we stopped in Apgar is the best shop by far. It’s called Montana House, and it’s full of beautiful and amazing stuff made in Montana.

This stunning canoe was hanging from the ceiling.

It was built in 1995, and was paddled on Lake McDonald for 25 years. It’s a steal at $5,300. We couldn’t buy it because it wouldn’t have fit in our tiny cabin on the train.

There was a staggering amount of beautiful jewelry, and Kevin bought me these lovely earrings for our anniversary.

He’d forgotten to get me an anniversary card and when he woke up that morning i think he was pretty worried that he’d forgotten because i’d left a card out for him. So when i got up, he’d emptied one of the many boxes containing sugar-free hawaiian punch packets, and written a sweet note inside.

So the earrings were a bonus.

Unfortunately, i lost one of the them when we just went up to northern illinois to visit Kevin’s family in the middle of October. Luckily i have that photo of the earrings and am going to call the shop and get a replacement. I’d already been in contact with them because we’d seen some outstanding photos by a japanese artist who has relocated to Montana and takes so many photos of animals at the park. I’d seen a great photo that i wanted, but by the time I decided i should buy it on the last day of our trip, somebody had bought it. So the shop had the artist make another print and they shipped it to me.

we were hungry that evening because of our big hike and found the perfect spot for dinner at Edie’s Diner. A couple had just vacated this table so we had a fantastic view of the lake and mountains in the distance.

Plus the food was fantastic – i had a “charlie russell buffalo burger,” which was a bison burger with huckleberry aioli and blue cheese. Kevin had fish & chips which weren’t bad, but not as stellar as my burger.

I just looked up charlie russell…he was a western artist who had a summer home in Apgar. FYI.

One bonus about hiking is that it enables us to eat a hearty meal fairly guilt-free. a warm huckleberry cobble for dessert. Mmmmm good.

The view of the diner and the lone Apgar street. Behind me is Lake McDonald.

After eating we wandered over to the edge of Lake McDonald, and found a couple who we’d seen when we were eating and snacking before our descent down the Grinnell Glacier trail two days before. I’d been too tired up on that mountain to try to strike up a conversation, but now we talked. They were married (they looked too young to be married!), they had at least a couple of small children who they’d left back in San Diego for this vacation. Between Saturday and Monday they’d managed to go to the sister park, Waterton National Park in Canada. This seemed like a lot of driving to me, but I just looked it up, and to get to Waterton from the Many Glacier Hotel, where we’d started our boat ride to the hike to Grinnell, was only an hour and a half. but then they had to look around there in Canada and then drive all the way back to the other side of Glacier. Lots of driving I bet.

Dang, we should have gone to Waterton…next time!

Before we went to Glacier I tried to look at most of the stuff on their website, which is quite extensive. One thing i found fascinating was that they had webcams in different spots in the park, and i checked them every once in a while to see if there were big crowds anywhere. They’re all in real time, and it was fun to see what it was like at any given moment.

In Apgar, I showed Kevin the spot where one of the cameras were, and i had the brilliant idea of texting amy to see if she could see us on the webcam. I asked a few other people, but amy was the only one who was able to spot us and capture the photo.

Here’s the screenshot that she saved:

She said she knew it was us, because had figured i’d be waving like mad at the camera!

When we walked back to the lake, we had her try it again. it’s kind of hard to tell it’s us, but it is.

If you want to check out the current conditions at different places around the park, here’s the link to the webcams. you just click on whichever one you want to see; some of them have the current temperature and the elevation on them.

it was a super-fun anniversary, one that’ll be hard to beat…but i bet we’ll be up to the challenge by next year!

ok then,

mrs. still nice weather here in late october hughes.

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