The historic "jammer buses," retired last summer for safety reasons, may be renovated and brought back into service (See page 3). Here, the "jammer" fleet, newly-purchased in the late 1930s, picks up passengers at Many Glacier Hotel. (Tomer Hileman photo, reprinted with permission of the Glacier Natural History Association)
Editors Note: Elsie Williams first came to Glacier Park in 1948, accompanied by her daughter Mona. (The story of their first hike appeared in the Spring 1999 Inside Trail.) Mona Williams Brown still returns to hike the Parks trails every summer. Elsie, who died in 1984, wrote many fine poems inspired by Glacier.
Recent weeks have brought hopeful developments in the quest to rehabilitate Glacier Park's historic "jammer buses," manufactured in 1936-1939. Committed efforts by numerous parties -- Glacier Park Inc. (GPI) the National Park Service, many private citizens, and recently the Ford Motor Company -- have led to promising initiatives to renovate the fleet.
The red buses were taken off the road in July and August 1999. The buses had given continuous service in Glacier Park for more than six decades. Each bus had been driven roughly 600,000 miles over Glacier's roads. Last summer, cracks were found in the chassis, and GPI properly took the buses out of service for safety reasons. (See The lnside Trail, Fall 1999)
Last fall, the public expressed strong support for a quest to renovate the "reds." An inspection was carried out by GPI's chief mechanic, Larry Hegg, and by three independent experts -- Bruce Austin (an expert on historic White Motor Company vehicles), Dennis Schwecke (a Ford Motor Company engineer), and Patrick Scott (a bus safety specialist from the Denver Transit Authority). The inspection showed that the buses' bodies were sound. The experts were hopeful that the buses could be remounted on new chassis at a reasonable cost.
In order to renovate the buses, two crucial problems have to be solved. First, a suitable chassis must be either found or developed -- one that will match the antique bodies, and that will carry suitable "running gear" (motor, transmission, steering, and braking systems). Second, a renovation company must be found which can remount the bodies properly and insure its work.
In recent weeks, promising initiatives have taken place on both issues. The Ford Motor Company has expressed a serious interest in the project. Ford is willing to devote substantial resources either to modify an existing chassis with "running gear" or to develop one for the buses.
GPI also has had discussions with prospective renovation contractors. It seems likely that, if a chassis is developed, one of these firms can adequately guarantee the competence and safety of the work.
In early February, one of the most roadworthy of the "jammer" buses (no. 98) was driven from Glacier Park to Detroit. Larry Hegg and Steve Ansotegui (a Park Service mechanic who supervises heavy equipment in Glacier) drove at a careful 5-day pace, with a pickup truck trailing in case of breakdowns. The bus was successfully delivered to Ford for diagnosis and evaluation.
It must be emphasized that the bus renovation project still is tentative. Unforeseen difficulties may arise in developing the chassis or in making arrangements to carry out the renovation work. But the prospects of bringing the "reds" back into service are far more hopeful than they appeared to be a few months ago. Commendations are due to GPI, to the National Park Service, to Ford, and to the many citizens who have worked to bring them back to the road.
By Ray Djuff, Prince of Wales (1973-75, 78)
Roe Emery did not limit his business affairs to Glacier. With a transportation concession in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and a city bus service in Denver, Colo., Emery began finding himself stretched thin during the 1920s. He decided to put Glacier Park Transportation Company up for sale in an attempt to find more free time for his other operations. Emery found a buyer in an old acquaintance, Howard H. Hays Sr. of Riverside, Calif., whom he had known since 1915.
Hays was not new to the parks concession business. Hays started working in the national parks in 1906 and was for many years general passenger agent for the Wylie Company, which operated a series of permanent tent camps in Yellowstone. Later, with the encouragement of National Park Service director Stephen Mather and the financial support of Walter White, Hays consolidated the many camping and transportation companies to become president of Yellowstone Camps Company in 1919. Hays had been introduced to White by Roe Emery. In 1924, Hays sold his Yellowstone interests and moved to Riverside to recuperate from exhaustion and a related nervous illness. He wasnt long out of the concession business, though, returning in 1926 to operate the transportation concession in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California.
Emery invited Hays to visit Glacier during the summer of 1926 and see the operation. Hays inspected it closely. He also took keen interest in the slow but on-going work on Going-to-the-Sun Highway. "I walked over the route of the proposed Going-to-the-Sun Highway. After making this survey, I came to the conclusion that a sight-seeing route across the Continental Divide would become nationally famous. I was also impressed by the opportunity which would come for joining the American and Canadian Park in an international bus operation," Hays says in his memoirs, referring to Great Northerns commissioning of the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton, due north of Glacier, which would open the following year.
A deal was struck in January 1927 for Hays to buy one-third of the stock of the company for $100,000, with the option to buy the remaining two-thirds at a later date. Hays took over operation that summer, renaming it Glacier Park Transport Company and signing a 20 year deal to provide transportation services to Great Northern. However, the paperwork between Hays, Walter White and Roe Emery wasnt signed until December 7, 1927.
With other businesses to operate, like his newspaper and bus concession in Sequoia, Hays relied heavily on Fred Noble to keep Glacier Park Transport Company operational and viable. Noble had cut his teeth in the business in Rocky Mountain National Park with Emery in 1917, coming to Glacier in 1923 as superintendent of Glacier Park Transportation Company. He took over as general manager in 1925 upon the death of George Moore. Noble remained when Hays took over the company in 1927, continuing in service over the next two decades, except for a wartime stint as manager of the Office of Defense Transportation for the state of Montana.
Hays quickly became a member in good standing of the concessioner family in Glacier Park, winning respect from Great Northern officials. He made a point of getting to know each of the Great Northern officers as friends. Hed often invite them on fishing expeditions on St. Mary and Two Medicine lakes whenever they were in the park. The trust railway officials had in Hays was shown by the fact he was asked to act as their agent in 1928 when Great Northern first attempted to buy the Lewis Glacier Hotel (now Lake McDonald Lodge) from its original owners, John and Olive Lewis. The railway realized that Going-to-the-Sun Highway would soon become a reality and wanted control of the Lewises hotel to ensure a strong presence on the west side of the park. Hays, too, recognized the potential of the highway and was well established with his own stake in the Lake McDonald area. When he took over the bus company, along with it came title to the Motor Vessel De Smet, which Emery had brought several years before.
Like Emery before him, Hays coddled his drivers and ensured they were well treated. In return, he expected them to be at their best on the job. Hays was responsible for beginning the trend of hiring only college and university students as drivers. "We like college type men because they are intelligent, eager and greatly interested in recreational and educational aspects of the Rocky Mountains," Hays said. In earlier times, Emery had to rely on professional drivers as there were few people who knew how to drive. To promote esprit de corps, Hays oversaw the drivers uniform develop from a white shirt and plus-fours to a smart ensemble that included brown lace-up boots matched to tan riding breeches, white shirt and dark tie and dark blue coats. It was an outfit that turned womens heads and made male hotel staff, in dowdier uniforms, bristle with envy.
Hays used his influence as owner of the Riverside Daily Press newspaper to ensure flattering articles were written and run about the bus company, indirectly promoting tourism to Glacier. The articles touted the bus companys safety record, of which it could rightly be proud. One article indicated that in seven years there had only been three instances of bus crashes with "civilian" cars, all minor. Blame was laid on civilians unfamiliar with the winding mountain roads. "The familiarity of the drivers keeps accidents down," noted Fred Noble, general manager of the bus company.
Hays was very protective of his concession in Glacier, to the point it nearly caused an international incident. A furore was started in 1930 when a Brewster car from Banff carrying a private party was refused entrance to Glacier because it was not a recognized transport concessioner. A flurry of letters resulted on both official and unofficial levels, with all sides talking about access privileges and reciprocal rights. Given it was an isolated incident, the matter was let drop. It would not be the last. Greyhound in 1936 tried to get into Glacier via Waterton, proposing to set up a service linking Lethbridge and Kalispell. Hays saw it for what it was and successfully nixed any chance of Greyhound buses driving through or even near the park. It wasnt until 1959 that Glacier Park Transport Company, by then under Great Northern management and ownership, started allowing outside buses to drive into the park, and then only to Many Glacier Hotel.
Hayss zealousness in maintaining the integrity of his bus company concession in Glacier was not reserved for outsiders. Great Northern officials also learned Hays was not a man who would be bullied. A showdown between the railway and bus company started with the decline in tourism to Glacier that came with the Depression.
Prior to the Depression, Hays had been building up Glacier Park Transport Company by selling his own tour packages to Glacier independent of the railway. He did so under the auspices of provisions in his contract with Great Northern. Where Emerys contract let the railway control advertising and ticket sales, Hays ensured his contract allowed him to produce his own advertising and promotional programs. Hays also won the right to set up "transportation information desks" in the lobbies of Glacier Park, Many Glacier and the Prince of Wales hotels "where complete and impartial information regarding the said two parks and the transportation companys service in and between the two parks will be furnished the public."
When rail passenger arrivals to Glacier fell dramatically between 1929 (10,182) and 1931 (6,056), Hays responded by cutting the prices charged for his bus companys one-, two-, three- and four-day all-inclusive trips by 10 per cent. They were reduced a further 10 per cent in 1934. The price cuts, along with President Franklin Delano Roosevelts trip to the park that summer, helped boost tourism dramatically. The number of rail arrivals had jumped from 3,800 in 1933 to 6,700.
The problem with Hayss price cuts was he never cut his share of the rate, which covered transportation. Instead, he simply paid less to the railway, meaning it ended up getting less for its hotel rooms. By 1937, the hotel company figured it was subsidizing $4 to $6 hotel rooms to the tune of $2 to $3 per room under Hayss system of accounting. "I do not want to have a little two by four put us in the wringer and take their full rates and make us absorb so much," William Kenney, then president of Great Northern, fumed. Hays, however, would not back down and submitted his rate sheet to the National Park Service for approval without consulting the railway. In retaliation, the hotel company cancelled its freight hauling contract with the bus company and began using its own trucks.
In spite of the tense situation, Hays was able to maintain friendly relations with Great Northerns senior officials. He and they understood the distinction between business and pleasure. Hays sometimes used a practical joke to break the tension. During the ugliest snow storm of the winter in Minnesota, Hays would send a case of ripe California oranges by express to the railway presidents office in St. Paul with a letter describing how sunny and warm the weather was on the coast. Hays kept the practice up for years.
The opening of Going-to-the-Sun Highway during the summer of 1933 did a lot to boost tourism to Glacier during the Depression, but for Glacier Park Transport Company it posed a problem. The company was compelled to begin offering trips over Logan Pass between Lake McDonald and the east side of the park, but its buses were not up to the rigorous job. Newer, more powerful and better equipped buses would ensure passengers rode the 50-mile route in comfort and safety.
Although Walter White had died a few years before, Hays was still contractually obligated to use White Motor Company equipment and turned to the firm to produce 37 new buses. The 15- to 19-passenger buses were designed by Count Alexis de Sakhoffsky, an industrial stylist. Design work also involved F.W. Black, president of White Motor Company, and Herman Bender of the Bender Body Company, which supplied the bodies. The buses cost $5,000 each.
The delivery in 1935 of the first batch of new buses caused headaches for Hays in two unexpected ways. Tourists preferred the new buses to old. Hays instructed Great Northern to keep publicity about the new buses to a minimum because tourists would arrive in the park expecting to ride in the new ones while the old ones were still in active use. He also instructed the new buses be placed at the back of any lineup so tourists would not rush or fight over who would sit in the new buses and fill the old ones first.
Despite being new, the buses also suffered a surprising number of maintenance problems. In 1936, Hays reported he had the biggest maintenance crew in years to keep the buses operational, listing the woes to Kenney in a four-page, single-spaced letter. For instance, all the linings of the doors had to be taken off and replaced and the rear seats had to be refastened with a special device made by the bus companys blacksmith. After being promised the buses would need no shop work for a year, Hays said he was disappointed in Whites product. He said it had lost quality in the past 10 or 20 years due to labor troubles at the new plant, which was "honeycombed with disloyalty, communism and inefficiency."
By 1937, the transport company had taken delivery of 30 new buses. With them, he was able to cut his staffing considerably. Able to carry more passengers than the pioneer models, Hays found he needed fewer drivers. By the Second World War, the bus fleet had been cut from 60 vehicles under Emery to less than 40.
In late 1936, Hays came up with the idea of developing the now famous Drivers Manual, a 200-page book "chock full of practical information." Drivers were renowned for giving tourists less than accurate information about the park rather than admit to being stumped by a tourists question. The idea behind the book was to provide drivers with the information theyd need to answer just about any tourists questions. To get the facts straight, Hays enlisted, with the permission of Glaciers superintendent, the help of the parks renowned ranger and interpretive guide, George Ruhle. Ruhle was given permission to go to California, where Hays lived. Hays described Ruhle as the publications editor in chief.
Articles were gathered from numerous writers, often original sources of information. Canon Samuel Middleton, for instance, wrote several pieces on the development of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, an idea which he co-initiated. The Drivers Manual was an instant hit with officialdom, hailed as "an excellent model to follow," although drivers at first groaned at the thought of working through the tome. "We request all drivers to read these letters (of endorsement)," Hays exhorted gear jammers, "because we feel that no transportation company in the world can show a better record of official approval. Let us strive to maintain this record . . . at the same high level."
The manual remained unchanged until 1939, when Hays son, Howard (Tim) Hays Jr. was put in charge of updating it. It would be updated again after the Second World War, with another son, geologist William Hays, contributing articles.
("Glacier on Wheels" will be concluded in our Spring Issue.)
by John G. Slater (Glacier Park Lodge 1965, Many Glacier Hotel 1966, 68-69)
Someone died at Glacier Park every year, so it seemed. This summer an employee had already met her death, and it was only mid-June in 1968. She had been riding in a car coming back to Many Glacier Hotel from Babb. Just past the Lake Sherburne Dam the road bends sharply to the right; the car didnt make the turn and had plunged off the embankment into the lake where she apparently was knocked unconscious and drowned. I was working at Many Glacier Hotel and had viewed the film "The Mountains Dont Care" that Mr. Tippet had showed us in the employee orientation session. The film pointed out the various dangers that could befall us. However, the attitude that came with my age was that I was bulletproof, and I found it inconceivable that anything would happen to me.
In late June, I heard that former employee Don Witt (a former jammer, I think) was back visiting and was out on the cliffs of Mt. Altyn climbing with technical equipment -- ropes, pitons, carabiners, and such. I was an avid hiker, but I had never attempted anything like this. I was intrigued, so when I saw him I asked about his sport. My interest led to his suggestion that we climb Mt. Clements together. "What the hell, why not?" I said, not having the slightest idea what I was getting into.
The next morning, I worked my bellman shift and shortly after lunch, Don and I headed for Logan Pass in his sports car with his equipment. As we approached Logan Pass, Mt. Clements loomed into view. It rises vertically two thousand feet above the visitor center at Logan Pass. From the east, it appears similar to the back of a left hand. The lower half is solid like the back of a hand, but the top half has vertical fissures as between fingers. Where the cleft between the ring and middle fingers would be is a deep fissure. The route to the top requires ascending this couloir. To reach the bottom of the couloir requires an easy scramble up the right (north) flank of Mt. Clements. Then comes the tricky part -- a horizontal traverse 1000 ft. above the base from the right flank to the lower end of the vertical couloir.
Don and I reached the parking lot of the visitor center by mid-afternoon. The weather was fine. We completed the easy scramble up the right flank of Mt. Clements and then looked for a way to traverse to the base of the great couloir. We found a ledge some three feet wide and started across. The ledge was covered with scree, but we felt safe enough as we proceeded toward the couloir. For safety, Don and I connected ourselves by rope tied around our waists. We drove pitons into the rock. One of us would rope into a piton while the other advanced, then we would reverse the process. Before long we had inch-wormed to the bottom of the couloir. The couloir was in the shadow and full of scree and dripping water from snow melt. Even so we encountered no problems as we free-climbed from there up the cleft to the summit. The view from the top was glorious: Lake McDonald in the distance to the west, Hidden Lake below to the southwest, the Garden Wall and the Lewis Range to the north, the huge U-shaped St. Mary Valley to the east, and the tiny visitor center some two thousand feet directly below.
After taking photographs at the summit, we began our descent into the couloir. By now, the afternoon shadows were even deeper, and we found going down over the abundant ballbearing-like scree and wet slippery rock more treacherous than our way up. Furthermore, as opposed to our ascent when we faced the mountain, we now had our backs to the mountain and could not help but look down to the snow fields at the base of the mountain far below. We inched our way slowly down for awhile before deciding to change tactics, speed things up, and rappel. Don secured the rope, and we walked down the couloir backwards, almost horizontal to the mountain while holding on to the rope.
As we neared the bottom of the couloir, we could not find the ledge we had traversed on our way up. The shadow of Mt. Clements stretched well out upon the valley floor to the east, and the light was beginning to fade. Now not only the couloir, but the face of Mt. Clements was engulfed in shadow as we searched for a route to traverse. We knew we needed to get off the mountain. The route we chose was not a good one. It was nothing like the ledge we had made our way across earlier. It was much narrower than before and more uncertain.
With the rope connecting us, Don led the way and was soon out of sight and out of earshot around a corner of protruding rock. When I felt him reach the end of the rope, it was my turn to proceed. I moved sideways to my right -- facing the vertical mountain wall. The small ledge supporting my feet grew narrower, and I found it necessary to reach above to find handholds to keep myself plastered to the mountain. The ledge narrowed more to about six inches width. This was definitely not the route we wanted. I groped along by extending my right foot and right hand sideways to the right while facing the wall, then bringing my left foot and left hand to the right; then repeating the process. I was frightened and wondering how I had gotten into this predicament. But at least I was no longer gazing at the snow field 1000 feet below.
Then the unthinkable happened. The six inch ledge that my feet were perched on ended. For several minutes, I stood frozen, trying to decide what to do next. I couldnt stay here. The rope around my waist wouldnt let me go back. I could see where the ledge reappeared, but it was four feet to my right. I did not know whether there was a handhold to grab. I had to try for it before I became paralyzed with fear. As I stepped and stretched to the right with my right foot, I let go of the rock with my right hand and grabbed up and to the right. Glory hallelujah, there was a hold! We completed the traverse and scrambled the hell off the mountain. The funny thing is, neither of us acknowledged to the other this close brush with disaster. I had come within a whisker of becoming another statistic for the summer of 1968.
When I reflected on the experience from the safety of Many Glacier Hotel, I realized that Don would have been pulled off the mountain and to his death with me if I had fallen. It was later I learned that the rock at Glacier is considered "rotten rock" by climbers because it is so very, very old with multiple cracks, and a piton wont hold into it. The piton Don was roped to -- our security -- was but a false idea. It would have been jerked right out of the rock by the weight of my fall. He and I both would have plunged 1000 feet in free fall to the base of Mt. Clements.
That afternoon climb with Don was my first and last attempt at technical climbing. It was also my first realization that my bulletproof vest had a hole in it. I still love to hike -- and feel very fortunate that I survived my experience on Mt. Clements to do so.
by Joan Fritz Shipley (Glacier Park Lodge 1948)
Several of the waitresses and bus boys at Entrance had traded days off so that a small group of us had two or three days to hike from Sperry Chalet over the Continental Divide to Gunsight Pass, so we had great anticipation of the adventure.
We decided to break into twos so that we would be more likely to hitch a ride to Lake McDonald. Dick Faricy, a busboy, and I were the last to get a ride. We had waited and waited and worried about not getting a ride. Finally, about four or five in the afternoon, someone stopped to pick us up.
When we arrived at Lake McDonald, we asked the Park Ranger about the feasibility of climbing up to Sperry Chalet. We were told in no uncertain terms that it was too late, we should NOT ATTEMPT IT at that time of the evening. We pleaded that there should be a full moon, and if we got above the timberline, we should have sufficient light to see the trail!!! Again we were warned about how quickly storms can develop in the mountains. Drops in temperature and sudden rain squalls can seem to come out of nowhere.
After talking with the Ranger, we talked about our reservations at Sperry, how wed never get a refund if we didnt go, and wed lose this once in a lifetime opportunity. We looked at each other and said, "Its only six miles. Lets go for it!"
The first ascent was steep, but we were determined to climb as fast as we could while it was still light. I remember gasping for breath, yet not willing to tell Dick I needed to stop for a minute. We were both forcing ourselves to keep a good pace. Finally, I told Dick I just had to stop to get a second wind. He needed it too, I could tell. But that was the only time we stopped that night. Up higher, the trail was about a two to three foot wide path with a wall on one side, and a very long drop-off on the other.
It was still light. Dick was several paces ahead of me. We were keeping a steady pace, when suddenly I saw the white corduroy slacks he was wearing stop dead in their tracks. He extended both arms out at elbow height, with hands stretched in a policeman-like "Stop" position and started stepping slowly backward. I looked up to see what was ahead, and there on this relatively level cut-back about 50 yards away was a bear right in the trail. We quietly and gingerly stepped slowly forward to get a better look. I said, "Maybe if we dont bother him, he wont bother us." There was a long pole-like stick that had fallen down the wall on our left, and had caught in the brush. I remember saying, " Ill take the pole, hold it out in front of us, and just try to keep him at bay, and maybe we can get past him. Theres a rock. You carry that, and if he starts to come toward us, Ill try to keep him off with the pole and you throw the rock at him and then well run for it."
In retrospect, it sounds like a very stupid thing to say, much less attempt. Maybe Dick was just too scared to say anything, but thats what we did. We crept slowly forward. As we got closer, we began to see that there was a huge, deep ravine. At the end of our cutback we saw a bear with two small cubs on the OTHER side, sitting on a level stretch of ground that was the same height as our trail. My heart leaped with hope.
Dick cautioned, "Go slowly, when we get to the end, take the turn slowly and try not to frighten her. Once weve got a good start up the next cutback, well run as fast as we can." Thats what we did. In fact, we didnt stop running till we had charged up three or four more cutbacks!
Whew! I asked Dick, "Where was I?" (He had suggested earlier that we say the rosary, and when we saw the bear it was my turn to lead the prayer.)
He said, "You were on about the fourteenth Hail Mary!" (There are only ten in one group.) As we slowed our pace, we heard a rustle in the leaves, thought of the bear, and terrified, started running up two more cut backs. When we looked back down, we could see that what had startled us was only a squirrel.
Im not exactly sure of the sequence of events, but I think it was about then that the storm came up. The dark clouds dumped cold rain on us, and we were especially worried about the trail getting slippery. We came to a trail marker that pointed to a log that was bridging another deep ravine. I was terrified when I realized we were supposed to walk that slippery 10 foot log in the rain over the drop-off to get to the other side and continue on the trail to Sperry.
I panicked. "Dick I cant walk that log even in dry daylight let alone in this!" I knew I would surely fall. Dick tried to be calm and assured me, Weve only got about two miles left. Its four miles back. Ill go first, and you can take my hand for balance." But I knew there was no way I could walk that barkless, slippery log in the rain and in my fright, without falling to my death. Then I thought of a way. I said, "Im going to straddle it as if Im on horseback. Ill push with my hands and inch my way across. Just pray I dont fall!" With his encouragement I made it.
It stopped raining, but of course we were soaked, although I dont remember being cold. The black clouds remained, and though there was a moon somewhere, we couldnt see it. It was so dark that we started to crawl on our hands and knees, so that we could FEEL the trail ahead of us. At one point we werent sure if it carried on ahead of us or if there was a cutback. I said, "Lets light a match." "Weve only got three left" was his reply. We lit the match. If we had gone another two feet, we would have dropped off the cliff! We started crawling up the next cutback. WHEW! It seemed as if we crawled, and felt our way along the trail for hours.
At last the dark cloud lifted, and there was a beautiful moon. We could see! And we must be near the top, because we were in a large meadow-like area, except that it was covered with huge flat rock, which made walking easy. A trail marker pointed to Sperry Chalet.
When we knocked on the door of the Chalet, we could hear Mrs. Black. As she came to answer the door, she exclaimed, "Who could that be?? In all my years up here, no one has ever climbed this mountain at night!! Heavens! Its 10 oclock!!
When I got to the girls dorm, I sat on the bed and the tears started flowing. I sobbed to the girls, gathered around, "Dont tell Dick, but Ive never been so afraid of dying in my whole life!"
The next morning, the guys told us that Dick sat down on the bed in his dorm, and shook as he gasped, "Dont tell Jo, but Ive never been so afraid of dying in my life!"
For some reason, and I dont recall why, we didnt hike Gunsight Pass Trail the next day. Instead we all trooped down the mountain back to Lake McDonald. All I can remember is the horror I felt and the look on Dicks face as we retraced our steps down that mountain. We saw in broad daylight the tremendous drop-offs and realized the sheer luck (and prayer?) that kept us from falling to our death the night before. When we saw what we had climbed in the dark, we could hardly believe we had actually made it!
This is how I remember it fifty years later. When I talked to Dick Faricy about a month ago - first time since then- his recollections were the same as mine. He also has no trouble remembering our terror time on the mountain.
by Clark Bormann (Many Glacier 1972-1973)
Bats! When I tell others of our days at Many Glacier, sooner or later the stories come to my experience with the Glacier Park bats!
As dorm porter and yardman (literally Ray Kinleys right-hand man), I was occasionally called upon to deal with bats. My first experience involved a bat behind the drain pipe, outside the Interlachen Lounge, near the dining room. I heard a high-pitched squeaking while I watered the flower boxes, which I decided had to be coming from a bat. I hauled off and banged the pipe with my fist, just for fun. The squeaking increased in volume, pitch and tempo, so naturally I hit the pipe again. This was fun! Suddenly, out flew that bat, making a bat-line directly for me! I quickly sprayed it with the hose, backing away all the while, but when it turned and flew in circles, I decided water might be an effective weapon against this fearsome creature and turned on it with a vengeance.
I finally washed the bat into a tiny air-well below one of the flower-boxes. I got down on hands and knees and stuck my head under the flower box, and was met with a sight which remains with me to this day: First one "hook" then the other appeared over the edge, and between them rose the fierce, pigsnouted, brown furry face of my nemesis! You talk about ugly! Stephen King couldnt have dreamed up something more frightful! I made it a point, ever after, to keep my face away from that gruesome sight.
My second encounter involved a call to the front desk, where a note was handed to me by one who surely must have known what it meant. The note said "Send a bellman to this room: I have a hairy frog in my sink". You guessed it: it was a bat. [The lady was quite calm, as one might be if one only thought she were looking at a frog. I didnt feel it was right to tell her what she really had there!]
After that, all my encounters but one were less memorable. I recall using tennis rackets in the hallways of the hotel to strike down bats on the wing. The rackets were particularly effective since apparently the spaces granted the bat no warning that it was flying directly toward an obstacle. I am convinced still that the tennis racket is the best instrument known to man to deal with bats inside a building.
In any event, my most memorable experience with bats at Glacier Park involved none other than venerable Ray Kinley. It was 1972, Rays 50th year in the park, and he had decided that the bats above his room, in the attic of the upper dorm, had to go. Ray wanted to get them out, then seal up the entrances they were using to get in.
Rays plan was this: I was to go up into the attic from the trap door in the ceiling of his room, stand there on the joists, then spray the air with insect spray so thickly that all the bats would leave and we would seal up the openings they used. Fine. I climbed up.
When I got there, I noticed the insulation was several inches deep in bat guano. This delighted Ray: he insisted this was world class fertilizer and would make the flowers grow exceedingly well. Thus the first job became that of harvesting this nasty stuff. This was not a pleasant task. It was made no easier by the fact that Ray didnt really want to climb up there with me, although he was willing to give instructions standing on the ladder with his head through the hole and hold the bag into which I could shovel the product. This became very hot work, so I removed my shirt. This was another mistake.
Eventually, Ray decided we were getting fewer and fewer dividends for the effort involved, and directed me to return to our original objective: bat eviction. I now stood up and began spraying the insect repellent. The repellent did part of what Ray predicted it would do: it made the bats come out flying. Unfortunately, it didnt make them want to leave! Instead, they started coursing madly about in the enclosed space, more and more of them, which made my position less and less secure. I was standing precariously on two joists, bumping my head on the roof, breathing noxious fumes, and beginning to fear attack by multiple bats! Ray carefully evaluated this situation, then, almost reluctantly, told me I should come down.
I hastily made my way to the opening, handed down the repellent, then started to lower myself through and onto the ladder below. Ray was holding the ladder, and I was almost out, when a bat came down after me and landed on my bare back! I suspect my shriek was audible throughout the dorm. Ray quickly brushed the bat off and away, and insisted quickly that I had not been bitten. I hadnt, but I suspect that our foray cured Ray, once and for all, from ever attempting to rid the attic of these creatures. I know it did me!
[Editor's Note: Clark Bormann's vivid memoir of dealing with the Many Glacier bats (above) calls to mind a feature published in The Inside Trail fifteen years ago. Our Fall/Winter 1985 issue commemorated Ray Kinley, who had died at the age of 93 that year.
Ray had worked at Many Glacier from 1919 through 1977. For the last fifteen years or so he was the gardener and men's dormitory supervisor, as described in Clark's tale. Here are pertinent excerpts from our Kinley memorial issue.]
Ray was the ally and boon companion of his charges in the ramshackle Upper Dorm. He was adept at dealing with undesirable natural phenomena. When bats infested the building, he would mix up a sorcerer's brew of bleach and ammonia, and set a bowl of the stuff in the attic. The bats came pouring out, he boasted, "with their babies on their backs!"
One story told about Ray (which may not be true, but which certainly sounds authentic) concerns a hoax which he supposedly perpetrated on Glacier Park Lodge. In this story, Ray was ordered to enter the "bat attic" over the dining room, and fill several sacks with guano to fertilize the gardens at East Glacier. Ray had no desire to tramp around in the filth of that notorious attic. He simply filled the sacks with wet black dirt, and no one was ever the wiser. One can only imagine the gardeners disgustedly wrinkling their noses as they handled this harmless muck.
In addition to full-length articles on life in Glacier Park, The Inside Trail welcomes short anecdotes and memories of Glacier. Here are several sent to us recently by former Park employees.
by Joe Lewis (Gearjammer #98 - 1941)
I was one of six drivers from Culver-Stockton College of Canton, Missouri in 1941. The rest of the contingent from C-S were Stan Getz, #111; Merle "Bing" Crosby, a "special driver;" Wayne L. McLaughlin, #85; Vincent L. Pauly, another "special driver;" and George Harper, #109.
This was, as you can imagine, my first experience in real mountains. I was "initiated" in bus-driving by "Bing" Crosby, QUITE an experience! "Bing" had arranged for two non-driving fellows from his home town of Nebo, Illinois, to drive us out to Glacier Park. This was their first mountain experience, and as soon as we were deposited they headed right back to Illinois! Theyd had enough mountains!
It is fun to recall some of our experiences in Glacier Park. One was the Flying Wedge we formed one early morning at Many Glacier as we went down to load up! Another was a rodeo we were allowed to attend. We were driven there by Bill Smiley in one of the old, old buses [perhaps from 1914]. "Kerry-cleaning" the buses at the end of the season was a real chore fun, though.
I have kept track of many "jammers" since 41, and see many of them often. They include "Cheerful" Charlie Fisher, #108 (now in Scottsdale, AZ); Dave Fleming, #102 (Aurora, CO); Bill Fitzpatrick, #82 (a retired M.D. in Northbrook, IL); and Herman Rusch, #104 (Plymouth, MN). Ruschs colored slides are still super pictures. Colored slides were NEW in 1941!
The summer driving in Glacier Park was truly the BEST summer of my life. I made some real friends out there, and many acquaintances which have carried over for the past 58 years! Thats a LONG time!
I would be glad to hear from any and all "jammers." Stop by if you are in Decatur, Illinois. But do call first! We are finally retired and travel a lot!
by Carol Stokes (Many Glacier Hotel 1948-49)
I have so many fond memories of the Park, its hard to narrow them down to a few.
I worked as "telegram girl" at Many Glacier Hotel. The Telegram Desk was on the balcony overlooking the lobby. Our equipment was really primitive. I used a battery operated phone to send and receive wires from the Entrance [Glacier Park Lodge]. It was a pretty cushy job, except that it was hard to get away for an overnight hike because I had to be at the desk in the evening. Even so I managed the trip to Granite Park Chalet a couple of times. The best thing was that I could see the buses come in so I knew when Bob Stokes ( my future husband ) was there. Bob drove bus #107 Ill never forget that number.
Mr. Omar Ellis, the hotel manager, could be difficult. But I remember receiving a telegram that notified one of the cooks of a death in her family, and Mr. Ellis showed her the utmost warmth and compassion when she had to be informed. My opinion of him changed when I saw how really caring he could be.
Bob and I took lots of great trips in the course of our marriage, but Glacier Park was always our most talked of and loved area. After all, if it hadnt been for Glacier, wed never have met, and I was very fortunate to have him for 48 years.
by Galen Maddy (Many Glacier Hotel 1962, 64, 65)
I enclose a set of notes recording the Glacier Park flood of 1964. I believe that they were written by an elderly lady in housekeeping by the name of Mrs. Daly. She had beautiful white hair and had spent many years, if not decades, at Many Glacier. [Editors Note. Mrs. Dalys "Flood Diary" will appear in the Spring Inside Trail.]
The days that we were isolated during the flood were work and fun. We became close. We became a real team.
Jay Adler, a famous restaurateur from Chicago, is mentioned in the first paragraph of Mrs. Dalys notes. He was a Park character who summered at Many Glacier for years. He would drink every night and argue with old "Blackie" Dillon, the legendary wrangler.
We nicknamed Adler "Ptarmigan Jay." He helped Herb Toelke take tourists on horse rides up to the glacier and Ptarmigan Falls. I rode with Toelke and Adler by horseback to Babb to pick up wrangler supplies. We had a train of 15 pack horses.
Jay would tell stories about Wild Bill Cody and his Wild West Show. He personally knew many members of the show. He owned Nickleberrys Log Cabin Restaurant near Chicago, a hangout for many notables. The staff at Many Glacier loved him dearly.