Day 53: Glacier National Park
Pretty sure the photos can sum up today better than I can, but I’ll give you a quick overview too. I woke up at 7, and was back to my morning routine of feeding Pepper and making coffee for myself. Then it was off to Many Glacier, an area of Glacier National Park that is just north of St. Mary on the east side of the park. It takes about 45 minutes to get there. The roads however are TERRIBLE. Easily the worst roads I’ve been on, and after the road from Chicken, that’s saying something!! Clearly the park service cutbacks are affecting road maintenance. I get to the park gate, flash my season pass, and head into the park to find parking. Luckily the ranger told me where I would have the best chance of finding parking and as I pulled in I saw that there was indeed some big spaces perfect for the bus. Still without a real plan for the day due to my missing bus passengers, I head to the ranger station for some advice. I told her my predicament and asked for two things. 1. An easy trail that I could bring my old dog on, and 2. Information on paddle boarding in the lakes. She replied “A real dog?” I was confused for a second and then figured out that she thought I might have meant an old guy like a father or grandfather. Nope. A real dog. “You can’t take your dog anywhere in the park” Uh… ok. That sucks. As for Paddleboarding, that was easy, but she wasn’t really helpful on the details. Boy, do I miss the Canadian Parks people. After that I take Pepper for a walk around the nearby campground (apparently that IS allowed) and then tucked her away in the bus. In case you are wondering, the bus has a bunch of fans that move air in and out to cool the bus. As long as it doesn’t get super hot (thanks Kamloops) she’s great in the bus for a few hours. Then its my turn. I head out on the trails to get a feel for the lakes and scout out a place to put in my paddleboard. First I walk along the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake and then traverse the portage trail from that lake to the next, Lake Josephine. Its a beautiful hike with tons of great scenery and I snapped a ton of photos:
After the hike I decided not to paddle board as the park was getting really crowded and I still had a long drive around the park (more on that in a minute) to West Glacier. There was also a long walk from the bus to the lakeshore and another stop at the ranger station for a boat permit that discouraged me from going. I hopped back in the bus, traversed that miserable road, and then headed south. My original plan was to drive Going to the Sun road through the park. Yes, it’s narrow and winding, but come on, I’ve driven tons of narrow winding roads. Well, they don’t allow any vehicles over 21 feet long. Damn. So I have to drive AROUND the park. Ugh. The first part of the drive was back to boring farmland and road construction, but then the road turned into a canyon and got really pretty. I arrived at West Glacier KOA around 2pm. And yes, still have no plan for my next two days in Glacier. After checking in and getting the bus set up (and hooked up to water and electric) I went back tot he office to pick their brain. The woman at the counter was super helpful and gave me my plan for the day tomorrow! Apparently there is a free hop-on-off shuttle that runs on going to the sun road! So I can just take that and still see the road without having to drive! Bonus! Also, this campground is absolutely gorgeous. They have tons of beautiful landscaped areas and lots of trees for shade. They also have the nicest showers / bathrooms I’ve ever seen. And an Adults Only pool area. Awesome. Ok, so I’m going to admit that I’m going to be really lazy the rest of the day. I’ll probably go swim. I’ll probably go shower. I’ll probably lay on the couch and read. But tomorrow, I’m going to attack the park. And I’m definitely getting out on my paddleboard.