Rodeo, New Mexico
January 29, 2007
Landscape and geology: White puffy clouds reflected in the calm waters of this elongated glacial lake. A slight haze in the air blurred far mountain peaks and softened their jagged edges. What struck me when I was right at the water’s edge, was the lake’s clean, pebbled, and very colorful bottom. Good-sized pebbles, of bright blue-green, dark red, and rusty-orange, their colors intensified by the wetness. The green rocks are Appekuny mudstone, the red Grinnell mudstone (both also called argillite), the yellowish-orange Shepard limestone. The workings of glaciers have rounded, striated, and polished these rocks as they became entangled in the great rivers of ice. The lake is currently 10 miles long and 450 feet deep, fed by numerous mountain streams.
Early Apgar: I wandered along the lakeshore, but soon was forced back onto the road by private property. The Apgar family was one of the early homesteading families for whom the village was named. Dimon Apgar built the road from Belton (now West Glacier) to Apgar in 1895. Jesse Apgar became postmistress when the post office opened in 1913. Other families settled along the lakeshore. Their descendants still maintain cabins.
I soon found myself at Apgar Campground, and spoke with one of the camp hosts. He was worried about the predicted thunderstorms for later that day. A very dry summer followed by lightning can easily ignite the forest. He recalled frequent evacuations amidst thick smoke during the fire summer of 2003.
Apgar Schoolhouse was a classic one-room schoolhouse from 1915 to 1958. It now is chockfull of gifts and curios, in its reincarnation as Schoolhouse Gifts. A gleaming potbellied stove vintage 1898 stands proudly where the now departed schoolhouse stove stood, to warm children and teacher on cold north country days. Other overnight accommodations available in Apgar are the Village Inn Motel, and Apgar Village Lodge. The Village Inn is right on the lake, with the pebbly beach as its backyard.
Eddie’s Restaurant, Gift and Campstore surely seems to be the hub of this community. The Brewster family arrived in Apgar in 1910. Horace Brewster was newly established Glacier National Park’s first ranger. His son Eddie grew up in the park, and worked as a ranger and road builder before opening his shop along with his wife Dorothy in 1946. It started as a grocery store but expanded into restaurant and gift store, and remains family-owned today.
From journal Summer’s End, Glacier West