The Good Mountain
Trip Start May 09, 2011
17Trip End Jun 12, 2011
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Where I stayed
It turns out there is a backpackers hostel behind the Mexican restaurant in town where you can get a bunk for $15 / night. It is an easy walk from the train station down to the hostel, and as soon as I heard about it I knew I had been really silly to worry so much about where I would stay.
Right now the hostel is inhabited by people who have come out to work at the park
Apparently, one can make a pretty good buck at a national park if tips and hours are plentiful, and room and board is part of the deal. Many of the people here are trying to stay abreast of student loans by working hard in the parks all summer.
As it turns out, Glacier is the only major park in the US that isn’t monopolized by the same private company that provides the services for all the other major parks. The park itself is monopolized by some private company, but it is a different private company than the one that monopolizes most of the rest of them. When they found out I didn’t have any experience on the park scene, my bunkmates hipped me to some of the old jokes and initial lessons of park work - most of which had to do with the same company controlling everything within a park - from the gift shop to the restaurants, and how sad / funny it was, depending on the people, to see the customers go to the different shops or restaurants to look for alternatives, only to find the same stuff, prices, and often staff working there because the ‘alternative’ was really just a manifestation of the same company.
They also said that some of the park bunkhouses were a pretty depressing scene, with security guards hired by the management company to police the employees in their own rooms, and pretty poor sanitary facilities. But they still seemed to like the work enough to do it, and seemed pretty exited to be there.
Everyone seems pretty hopeful about glacier
The weather is supposed to be rainy, but there isn’t much point in hanging out. It looks like Monday is going to be the worst of it, so I want to ride to East Glacier Park, where the forecast looks much more mild, by then.
So, tomorrow, I start riding. It has been too long, and I can’t wait...