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We spent our first day in Glacier National Park exploring the Two Medicine area. After our Aster Falls hike, we headed down to Two Medicine Lake for our ride with the Glacier Park Boat Company.
Two Medicine got its name from the Blackfeet Indians. Each year, the clan seer would have a vision quest to determine where the tribe should build its ceremonial medicine lodge. One year, two seers from separate clans had visions of the same place which became known as Two Medicine Lodge (later shortened to Two Medicine.)
We boarded the Sinopah, a 92-year-old enclosed wooden boat which has been cruising Two Medicine Lake from the park’s beginnings. Built in 1926 for the Great Northern Railway’s tourism company, it was named after the daughter of Blackfeet chief Lone Walker. Sinopah is also the name of one of the mountains towering over Two Medicine Lake.
On our 20 minute ride to the other side, naturalist Hailey named the mountains we were passing and shared the tribal folklore behind some of the names. She told us that there are no glaciers on the Two Medicine side of Glacier National Park, even though we could see large snow fields that appeared to be glaciers. To be considered a glacier, it must be 25 square acres, 100 feet tall and show some signs of movement.
We docked at the Twin Falls trailhead and hiked it with our boat captain/naturalist Nathan. We rode the 3:00 boat back, this time with Nathan providing commentary (along with some groan-worthy jokes) and Hailey driving. As we approached the general store and other buildings, Nathan pointed out the Swiss-inspired architecture.
The general store, which carries souvenirs, camping necessities and has a small snack bar, was originally one of the park’s lodges. Louis Hill, president of the Great Northern Railroad, built most of the lodges like Swiss Chalets because he considered Glacier National Park to be the ‘Alps of America.’ He wanted to encourage wealthy easterners to use his trains to ‘See America First’, rather than voyage to Europe.
To see my other Glacier NP/Two Medicine Posts, click the following links:
Location: 2 Medicine Rd, East Glacier Park, Mt 59434
Designation: National Park
Date designation declared: 5/11/1910
Date of my visit: 6/23/2018