The rugged Mount Logan, in the immediate foreground sternly towers above the landscape in this image lensed in the late fall before the winter snows begin. With glaciers on two sides, Pumpelly Glacier and Logan Glacier on the right Mount Logan has 2 of the remaining 25 glaciers in Glacier National Park. In 1850, there were an estimated 150 glaciers in the park but today Glaciologists have predicted that by the year 2030, all the glaciers in the park may disappear.
If you look closely in the valley on the ride side, middle of the image, that is known as Red Eagle Creek and has 2 beautiful waterfalls below that valley that help drain the snowmelt and rainwater into Red Eagle Lake below. Up above that small valley to the right, along the middle edge of this image is a pyramid-shaped peak known as Split Mountain. Behind that peak is a vibrant purple mountain called Medicine Owl Peak and to the left of that is the brightly colored White Calf Mountain.
If you follow the ridgeline to the immediate upper left of Mount Logan you come to Almost-A-Dog Mountain. Continuing along the ridgeline to the left is Dusty Star Mountain and on the other side of the ridge slightly to the right is Little Chief Mountain. On the other side of the mountains, you can see a body of water in the distance, this is St. Mary Lake. The small strip of land separating the lake is where the tiny community of St. Mary is located. This is the eastern entrance to Glacier National Park up through Going-To-The-Sun-Mountain road.
The First Nations Blackfoot and other tribes local to this area held these mountains in sacred reverence. Well beyond the relatively short span of recorded history, First Nations people began migrating south from the Alaska area. Traveling into what eventually became Montana, they established a rugged passageway along the length of the eastern flank of this imposing natural wall, the Rocky Mountains.
Historically known as the Old North Trail, finer details of the original path have been forgotten, lost in the mist of surmise, however, ample evidence of its long-term human use is well-etched in the lands below. It was summer, 1805, while heading against Missouri River currents toward the Rocky Mountains that Meriwether Lewis first spied what he called in his journal, the “Shining Mountains” to the west. He wrote that the “sun glancing off of the snow gave the mountains a glittering appearance.” Today this 110-mile stretch is known as the Rocky Mountain Front and is considered one of the most iconic and dramatic places on the planet.
The arrival of the occupants of this area dates as early as 500 A.D. and most likely even centuries before that time. This area was located near a thoroughfare that was used by numerous nations as they relocated looking for a place to call home. The mountains held a sacred place for them, and surely each nation had their own names for the peaks and places in present-day Glacier National Park.
First Nations Tribespeople called the Front the “Backbone of the World,” and sought wisdom through vision quests deep in the mountain wilderness at places like Ear Mountain and Heart Butte or the very sacred Two Medicine, shown in the image above.
The Front has long been sacred country to the Blackfeet Nation and was, before the arrival of Europeans, the traditional Blackfeet hunting grounds. Great endless herds of bison sustained the Blackfeet, roaming by the millions as they traversed the plains in the shadow of these beautiful mountains.
In the image above, Citadel Mountain basks in the light of evening sunset, casting it looming shadow over Almost A Dog Mountain on the right and Little Chief Mountain on the left along with Mahtotopa Mountain and Red Eagle Mountain, the purple tip of the mountain chain. These mountains overlook Saint Mary Lake, on the left side of this image.
“Imazí-imita” is Blackfoot for Almost A Dog. As a young man, he was one of the very few survivors that were part of the horrific 1870 Marias Massacre. His entire family was killed in this tragic and totally unnecessary attack, and although crippled for life, he survived this horrible event. Then 13 years later he survived the horrendous Starvation Winter of 1883-84. It is befitting that this harsh and stark mountain be named after a Blackfoot warrior who suffered such a starkly, harsh life.