Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Icing on the Glacier

Out of Kalispell and off to the east entrance of Glacier National Park. While we were going to skip the west entrance, it was just too close not to stop off and get a stamp for the book.

Once we were in the park, we find that Logan Pass is closed due to snow. Some of the most dramatic parts of the roads will not be seen this trip from either direction. I decided it would be dumb not to travel up the west side as far as we could. I think we could get 14 miles in before we had to turn around. There is nothing special about the road from a motorcycle perspective, yet there is something magical about this place, at least to me. The road was completed in 1932 and is closed during the wiinter due to snow. In the spring the plows attack up to 80 feet of snow gathered over the winter. It takes the park about 10 weeks to clear the road.

From the West Side

The turnaround point comes way to fast and we are headed to the east entrance via US 2 and US 89. 89 is where we got hit on the bike, but much further south. One reason we turned off on 89 a week and half ago was for the scenic value of the road. It showed thru with 5 stars here. Many switchbacks, however the road is a bit choppy in places.

The East Entrance

From a riding and visual perspective the East side is more interesting. The park has these red cars you can take a tour in called jammers. They have gone green running on propane.

Some views

The end of the road for us. We confirmed the closing to Logan Pass due to snow. It really didn't look that bad.

St Mary's Waterfall. I can not tell if this is a good picture or what. Small computer screen with not alot of color clarity

More pics on the way back down

Out here the cattle roam freely to graze the land. How the owners get all their cattle back is a wonder, but I can't help think they have RFID tags attached to their ears to take advantage of today's technology. Here's one of our close encounters. They seem to stick to the side of the road, but you never know if one will be in the middle of the road coming around that bend.

Out of the park we head for Great Falls, MT for the night. The stop at Glacier essentially completes our vacation out west. The rest of the journey will be simply getting back to Bozeman, hop a bus for Salt Lake City and wait for our plane to take us back home. I wish we could have completed our journeys on the bike, but by no means do I consider this vacation a washout. We got to see some awesome sites. I plan to do the entire route next year, with experience. MeAsWe has been a real trooper with the broken leg as she hobbles around from place to place.

Some of the experience gathered is DON'T ride at night out here. I also hear that early morning is just as bad, I just don't know how early is early. Weather is unpredictable with temperature changes from 80 to 40 back to 80,. Do not expect to ride a constant set of twisties or sweepers, the roads are pretty darn straight. Caution signs that indicate the road is twisty for the next mile, has you scratching your head wondering where were the curves. Get gas often, it can be along way before the next gas stop. Mountains that seem close take a while to get to. There are alot of pine trees out here. The landscape changes over each set of mountains. Signs indicate deer crossings, falling rocks, windy sections and wild game crossing. Almost like a video game. This place is big. The mountains seem to rise out of now where. I suspect if we stripped all the trees off our New England hills, it might look the same. I think we should keep the vegetation. It is not usual to travel at the elevation of Mt Washington. We saw deer, elk, antelope, and moose. MeAsWe wanted to see a bear. It is really hard to capture thru the lens what you are seeing.

We'll be back.

1 comment:

Runner said...

Nice photos! Despite the set-backs you've both managed to make the most of the trip and see all that you've set out to see. I've not been to Glacier yet. One of these years...