How would you feel if the sun was shining, your family was bored, and all you could come up with, for fun, was to take a ride to look for a hose tower? I mean…it was something I wanted to do, but——>eventually. I didn’t think I wanted to waste a perfectly good day on it, but nothing better came up.
As usual, I felt a bit disappointed when I saw the clouds hanging over the canyon as we drove down Hwy. 206. I couldn’t help myself. I started complaining that we were leaving the sunshiny valley, and heading into the clouds. What a shame to leave fair weather behind. Fall was nodding towards winter and soon sunshine would be scarce.
It never fails; when we have blue skies in the valley, the park has gray ones, except for summer. Summer in western Montana is blissful, and much more reliable in the sunshine department. David, my eternally optimistic hubby, rarely, if ever, agrees with me about the gray skies. “The skies are not cloudy all day”, he insists. I’ve been married to him a long time, and most of the time he’s right, so there’s no point in arguing.
After arriving at the park, we turned into park headquarters to search for the hose tower.
After riding pass the gas pumps, administrative offices, and fire cache several times, we gave up and parked near the residences to get out and stretch our legs.
After reading the park sign, near what looked like a bike path, I had an AHA moment!
Our pursuit to find the hose tower was leading us to places we hadn’t been before. Our “we have nothing better to do adventure” was turning into an exploration of the original Glacier Park entrance. And the views? Simply put, it was picture postcard perfect!
It’s fascinating to think that the very first visitors to Glacier used rowboats to get across the river to enter the park. Once across, horse and buggies picked them up and they were on their way to experience the Sun Road.
A bridge was constructed in 1895, which did away with the boats. This first bridge was later condemned in 1918, and that’s when the Belton Bridge was built. It served as the park entrance until 1938, when another bridge was built in what is now the current entrance to the park.
There I was, strolling down the original road towards the Belton Bridge – it was almost like traveling back in time! Well, not quite, but good enough.
Back in the truck, and to our quest to find the elusive hose tower. We went to the visitor center for help. Confirming that we were looking in the right area, (park headquarters), a ranger said that we probably missed the hose tower because it was in a hollow near the fire cache.
Before going back to search for the tower, we took a picture of beautiful Lake McDonald.
And another one.
Finding the elusive hose tower
By now you’re probably wondering what’s so great about the dang hose tower. For one, it’s a historic building in the park that most folks don’t get to see, but we can because we live so close to the park. For another:
- It was built in 1933 by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) crews to help dry hoses by park fire teams.
- The tower stands 60 feet tall.
- It is still used today.
- The tower has received a lot of comment from other national parks as to its unique and distinct design.
- It is the only noted hose tower in any national park.
Finally, there it was. We had driven passed it several times earlier, but hadn’t seen it. We took the path down into the hollow and took some pictures.
That wrapped up the day, and it was a good one. Despite my cynicism about gray skies, I was rewarded with color of another nature.
The Jewel of the Continent was at its peak of fall color and we had hit it just in time before it put on its winter coat.
I got a bit of my historical reference [via here]