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Montana Moment

Roberto Nickson


Behind the Shot

In the late 1800s, railroads cut passes through the Rockies across the Continental Divide. In an effort to spur tourism, it was common for railroads to build elaborate resorts modeled after the great Swiss hotels and chalets in the most scenic areas along the routes.

In 1913, Lake McDonald Lodge in Montana’s Glacier National Park was completed on the route of the Great Northern Railroad. The massive wood and stone structure was built in a classic Swiss architectural style, and featured large open spaces, huge fireplaces, and rough-sawn timbers and log framing.

Today, the lodge rooms and adjoining cabins are more modern than they were 100 years ago, but still feature more rustic accommodations than one would find a national motel chain. Wi-fi is spotty at best, and there are no TVs or air conditioners in the rooms.

A stay at the lodge on the eastern shore of Lake McDonald isn’t about having modern conveniences. Tree-lined pathways and hiking trails are designed to draw visitors into magnificent Glacier National Park. Returning after a long day of sightseeing, canoeing or trout fishing, guests gather in the great open hall warmed by a stone fireplace to enjoy food and drinks and share stories.

Roberto visited the lake in winter 2019. “We visited Montana to spend time with a few close friends who live up there. Glacier National Park blew me away with its beauty. My friends Justin and Travis, who also happen to be talented photographers, took us up to this part of the park near Lake McDonald where we were treated to this incredible view of the winter Wonderland.”