21 US Glacier National Park

Trip Start May 04, 2009
Trip End Oct 15, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Monday, September 21, 2009

Left Waterton heading for the border which happens to open at 09:00 - we were fifth in line. No duty free in the middle of nowhere but I did manage to get our remaining firewood across the border by stating with authority that it had no bark and after a quick private consultation we breezed across the border with a Banff jerry-rigged piece of wood with bark on the roof holding up Erik the kayak.

Our first introduction to US Glacier National Park (NB: US used so as not to be confused with BC’s Glacier NP) was a twelve mile dead-end road directing us to Many Glacier with a lake plus dam and many gorgeous mountains with some small glaciers attached. We did, however, get to view a Grizzly at close range (let me know if it is just a large cinnamon Black Bear).

Our next foray was to visit one of the park’s information centres and get the never ending supplies in St Mary. However, the fun part was beginning when we started up the Going-to-the-Sun-Road which was built in 1932 and was set to close for the season the next day (in fact, due to snow the next day, we were one of the last to complete the run this year). The road offers great views to those that are unafraid of heights and the summit is at Logan Pass the continental divide at 2,025 metres (6,646 feet).

After a picnic on Lake MacDonald at a closed picnic area, we continued on to the Apgar campground where we settled in for two nights (typical cookie cutter lots) since it was the only open west side spot. Although in retrospect, while touring a ten-plus year forest fire area in the park and looping back through the Flathead National Forest, we found a beautiful campground with sites on the banks of the Flathead River. In the US, National Forests allow dogs on (verbal) leashes in the woods -- National Parks do not. It dropped below freezing the first night and snow magically appeared on the higher mountains the next day.

Then horror, while we were packing Bogie cried/yelped while chasing a squirrel up a tree and came back to us on three legs. We were lucky finding a good vet that said he likely had a bad sprain on his right front leg (up to two weeks of being a gimp - if longer x-ray then operate) -- good news, he inspected the possible ACL injury and said it is more likely just a joint rubbing (buy a year supply of people pills at Walmart for $40). Hopefully our trip west will keep Bogie somewhat quiet (although he still herds and spins on three legs at every opportunity).

Visited a Glacier NP Ranger friend of Cindy’s at her end of year party (most seasonal employees released shortly after Labour Day) and used her backyard as our last different official campsite -- number forty-nine (an even fifty if one includes the Wisconsin pop-up camper - I don’t). The next few days will see us drifting west -- more updates and flashbacks will be posted soon.

- US Glacier National Park is very large -- I will do size comparisons of all the visited National Parks once I have time and a good internet connection.
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