Sunday, September 13, 2009

Glacier Travels

For the remainder of our stay at the park, we only covered a few short trails. After completing the hike down from Sperry Glacier, we checked into the Apgar Village Lodge, where we had a tiny room not much larger than a modern walk-in closet. It was clean enough, and I had brought earplugs because I knew the walls would be thin. We showered up, then drove to the Trail of the Cedars boardwalk nature trail through old growth forest. It was absolutely lovely, lush, green, moist. It included a view of a stream chasm too. The people there were certainly different from the fit hikers with their hiking poles at the chalet.
In the morning we checked out of the lodge, moved into only my friend's car, and drove over Going to the Sun Road, stopping only briefly to take in a few overlooks and another stream chasm. We grabbed lunch just outside the park, then re-entered the park for the Many Glacier area. My friend wanted to see Many Glacier and wanted to take a boat ride, so we combined the two and took a boat ride from the Many Glacier Hotel. The boat tour covered two small lakes, and it included a guided nature walk to Grinnell Lake. Except for my aching feet and hindquarters, it was quite enjoyable. We learned to identify a few plants, and we heard some of the history of the area.
That night we arrived late in East Glacier, where I had made us a reservation at the Mountain Pines Motel. I liked this motel; the room was spacious and included a queen-sized bed, the bathroom had a skylight, and the price was lower than I paid anywhere else in Montana. We ate at Luna's restaurant, which recently opened where Restaurant Thimbleberry used to be. Although my friend's meal was only passable (lame French fries), my meal was my favorite restaurant meal of the whole trip, and the service was friendly and prompt. I had the Indian taco salad, which is a fairly common offering in the area. It consisted of Indian fry bread, chili, a few pieces of lettuce, sour cream, and salsa. It was flavorful and filling.
The next day we visited the Two Medicine area of the park. The nature trail to Running Eagle Falls is both informative and short, and the falls were one of the great sights of my park visit. They were named for a woman warrior who had the good fortune to be interred there by her respectful tribe. We visited a couple other places in Two Medicine as well, then took the southern route around the park back to the west side and drove back to Kalispell. Kalispell has a convenient La Quinta Inn with reasonable rates and guest laundry facilities, so we were able to clean up our stinky hiking clothes, and in the nick of time too! Cold air came in that night, so in the morning I needed my hiking clothes.

We had planned to go rafting on Labor Day, but temperatures were chilly, and there was a short hike my friend very much wanted to take, so we did that. We took the shuttle up to Logan Pass Visitor Center, where the wind blew fiercely and it was snowing, and we hiked 1.5 miles each way on the most popular trail in the park, the trail to Hidden Lake Overlook. I welcomed the cold, though I was sorry I had forgotten to bring my gloves. I kept my hands in my pockets except when I was taking pictures, but it took a couple hours to regain warmth in them after the short hike.
Hidden Lake Overlook trail had a climb and a brief descent to a wooden viewing platform. Sometimes we were out of the wind, and it was comfortable. The viewing platform was the most exposed spot, and we could not remain there for long! We took a couple pictures and scrammed. The picture shows the wind blowing right up my pant legs and making me look like the Michelin Man.
Once down the mountain, we continued to Polson for a late lunch that doubled as supper too. Nearly everything was closed for the holiday, so we ate at a family diner, the Driftwood. I had a buffalo stew special with fry bread and a traditional native sauce made from wild berries. It was good comfort food. We stayed in Missoula for the night, then parted company, my friend driving west, and me driving east.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home