Archive for Montana

Glacier National Park, MT – Day 3 and Overall Thoughts

Day 3 was 40′ and rainy sleety.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: There are NO showers at the campsites. There is very cold running water and flush toilets. NO soap. Some campsites in the area do not have the cold running water. Those go for $10.

Lots of pine smell.

Friday didn’t seem to be as busy (number of cars on the road) as I would have thought. Saturday lived up to my expectation. Very crowded on the road and no parking avail in some lots.

I prefer to do several shorter (1.5 mile or less) hikes so that I can see various areas. I was surprised at the number of “long” hikes. There are 10 hikes that are less than 2 miles, over 25 between 2 and 10 miles, and over 20 that are 10+ miles.

BOTTOM LINE: Glacier National Park was beautiful. You should put it on your life’s list of things to do and see. HOWEVER, it did NOT compare to the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise nor Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. Without a doubt, GO to those places first.

We decided to come back home via travelling north thru Alberta over to NE Washington [highway 6 to 3 then down 6 again]. VERY beautiful.

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Glacier National Park, MT – Day 2

Glacier National Park is in the NW part of Montana [and a small part of Alberta].

In trying to figure out what to do, what to see at the Park, it’s easy, since basically there is only one road that goes thru the park. That’s it.

The Going to the Sun Road is approx 50 miles long. There is an east entrance/exit and a west entrance/exit.

We decided to head to the west side and find a place to camp. I was surprised at how few campgrounds there were. Besides back country camping and/or staying at the very “end” or outside the park there are only one campground on the east side and one on the west. We got to Rising Sun Campground around 11 am and had no problem scoring a campsite. That left all afternoon to explore.

At the end of day 2 we once again went down to a lake. This time it was Saint Mary Lake and I read and watched a windsurfer and boats go by. Water temp was freezing! That windsurfer must really like windsurfing! Brrr.

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Glacier National Park, MT – Day 1

Glacier National Park is in the NW part of Montana [and a small part of Alberta].

In trying to figure out what to do, what to see at the Park, it’s easy, since basically there is only one road that goes thru the park. That’s it.

The Going to the Sun Road is approx 50 miles long. There is an east entrance/exit and a west entrance/exit.

I was told that the east side is prettier than the west. That is true.

We meandered from Washington to Idaho and by coincidence got to the park at 4 pm the Friday of Labor Day Weekend. We stopped at the first campground once inside and got the last camp site! $20. The weather was wonderful. Not too hot nor too cold. It did rain on us the first nite of camping but not too much. It sounded nice on the tent.

We checked out the east half of the park for the rest of the day.

We ended the day sitting next to Lake McDonald picnicking, reading and watching the sunset. Very nice.

The water temp of the lake was warmer than I thought it would be. However, NOT warm enough to entice me in, but I could see why some people were in the water. Here are other views while sitting on Lake McDonald’s beach:

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Drive in Montana to Glacier National Park


Here are some photos of the view during the drive from Idaho thru Montana from Superior to Glacier National Park.

Close to the Idaho border the landscape was very green with trees and baby mountains. Very pretty.

Lots of really small towns, with just a few businesses PLUS a casino. Every little town has a casino. I asked our dinner waitress about this and she just shrugged and said “this is Montana this is how we roll”. Later I asked the clerk at our hotel and she said that basically, if you have a bar you can get a license to run a casino. So, why not also have a casino and make some extra money? Fair enough.

Heading north, we were on a 2 line highway with houses here and there. The speed limit? 70.

Plains, MT is where the rolling hills of evergreens turns to rolling hills of open plains. Hey … I bet that’s why Plains is called Plains?!?

We were driving along the rolling plains then suddenly …there’s Flathead Lake at the little town of Poison. Flathead Lake is a beautiful lake and the town is a trailer park town!

And then we have evergreen trees again!

EVERYTHING is huckleberry. Candy. Chocolate. Lager beer. Teriyaki sauce. Ice cream smoothies and shakes. Pies. Sauces. Butter.

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Old Grade School Now is a Diner – Jackie’s Home Cooking

On our way to Glacier National Park, we spent the nite in Superior, MT, which is a very small blip on a map. The next morning we asked where we should eat bfast, and the lady at the desk said; Jackies!

Jackie’s is located in an old schoolhouse’s cafeteria. They don’t serve anything from a bag, can or bottle. All of the sauces and salsas are home made.

Jackie and her husband were laid off from their longtime jobs in Springfield [sh*thole town near Eugene], and when they passed through Superior on their way to a family event they saw that part of an old school was for lease, so they leased it up and started Jackie’s in the old cafeteria. The school was built in 1913 and closed in 1995.

I LOVE hearing stories on how people are forced to deal with Plan B in their lives, and end up happier than before.

Jackie’s Home Cooking is located on River Street in Superior, MT.

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Hiawatha Bike Trail – Montana and Idaho

The Hiawatha Trail is a rails-to-trails bicycle trail, located near the border between Idaho and Montana…12 miles east of Wallace, Idaho.

The route crosses the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana.

Construction of the railroad tracks began in 1906. The last train passed through in 1980. After that the line was abandoned.  With government funding and private donations, the rails were removed, and the construction of the bicycle and hiking trail was started in 1997. The Idaho portion of the trail opened May 1998. The Montana portion opened May 2001.

It’s 15 miles one way.  The fee to use the trail is $9.  You can cycle one way and take a shuttle back… for another $9 fee. It didn’t take me long to figure out why there is a shuttle back. The entire one way is downhill on a slight grade, yet still downhill. Thus the shuttle to bring people back up.

It’s really, really beautiful. We went thru 8 tunnels.

Right at the trailhead is the long, dark Taft Tunnel, which burrows for 1.7 miles under the Idaho/Montana state line.  It is cold and pitch black in there.  A light [or two] is a must.  After mid way, it does get kinda freaky to be in there where it’s cold, and with NO light anywhere.  There is water dripping from the ceiling.  NO graffiti on the tunnel walls.

31 miles is expected to be added on the Montana side.

 

This is me with my headlight on, getting ready to go thru another tunnel.

 
The trail itself is rocky.  I was concerned about blowing one of my little bike tires, but didn’t.  There is NO trash on the trail.  There are a couple water jugs/containers along the path if you need more water.  A few wooden “outhouses”.  A bunch of benches to rest and enjoy the view.

And the view?

Spectacular. Rolling mountains covered with evergreen trees. Pine smell. You can hear the water from waterfalls and streams far below.

 
Deer sightings:

 
The path takes you over old train trestles/bridges.

 
Just too cool!

 
You see other train trestles.

NOTE: There are no bike rentals at any of the trailheads. Helmets and lights are required.

The Hiawatha Bike Trail is owned by all of us. It is on U. S. National Forest land administered by the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

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