28.07.16, Glacier National Park, Montana
After a hearty breakfast of ham, pancakes and maple syrup, we set off for the Glacier National Park this morning.
We were staying about 15 miles from the West Entrance, but had decided to head for the East side, and ride through the park, East to West, to end up where we were staying.
On a very good recommendation, when we visited Badlands National Park we had purchased an Annual Pass to the State Parks for $80. We were able to use this for entrance today, and this was the 4th time we have used it to enter a State National Park so far, so it has saved us quite a lot of money on entrance fees.
We rode all the way around and above the park, before making our first entrance at Two Medicine, a dead end, offering scenic cruises on the most picturesque lake, Lake Two Medicine. This lay right on the Continental Divide again. This is where the waters either side of this line flow in different directions, either West to the Pacific, or East to the Atlantic Oceans.
Whilst at Two Medicine, we met an Australian couple, Lesley and Joel who have been in the USA for three months, and crossed the country in the Ford Yukon XL, which they had bought in Vancouver, Canada and were using as their home, their everything. They had a lot of useful tips, about places we haven’t yet visited, and it was very pleasurable to pass an hour or so discussing the differences and similarities between Aussies and Brits, and how we have been enjoying the USA.
After Two Medicine we rode up Highway 49, then Highway 89, before entering the park at the East Entrance. The Australian couple had been warned ‘it’s a zoo in there’, so we wondered just how busy it would be. However, we turned in at St. Mary’s Lake, and immediately started off on the Going to the Sun Road, which runs through Rising Sun onto Logan Pass, for 18 miles, passing through such places as Sunrift Gorge, Triple Arches and Weeping Wall. The road is surrounded by mountains, and was built especially for viewing these glacial lakes and mountains in the late 1920’s, and opened in 1932. That year they had 7,500 visitors from April to October. Nowadays they are more likely to receive 1,500,000 during the same season.
Our eyes were taken by the blue blue glacial lakes, contrasting with the snow capped peaks, putting us in mind once again of those wonderful endless Fjords in Norway. We didn’t take any of the trails away from the road, which are for hiking, this time, especially as we had been warned that you must take bear spray, but within the park, we did stop to look at Goat Lick, where mountain goats cling to the rocky sides of a mountain, and lick the rock for vital minerals (not today though). In fact, the only animal we saw today was a mountain goat digging himself into a nice dirt pit way up high over the road.
Tomorrow we shall return to do the road in reverse, heading this time towards Sun Point and Rising Sun on the road, before we head onto our next stop.