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Published: September 1st 2015
Our journey from Yellowstone to Glacier NP was broken into two days by a stop off in the state capital of Montana, Helena. This was a pretty uneventful stop other than getting pizza and the scumminess of the motel that we stayed in. Anyway it served its purpose as a good overnight stopover. The journey to Helena was pretty cool as I got to see lots of farming things and even a chap dusting his crops in a plane.
The next day we set off fairly early to Glacier. However, the good time we had made was soon demolished by American roadworks. Remind me never to complain again about roadworks in the UK! We approached one set on a main road and was told by the woman on the site that we would have to wait for 15 minutes as they were tarmacking. After waiting, we were then greeted with a delightful ripped up road which just left a load of rubble to drive our little hire car (Percy) across. This was followed up by a separate 15 mile stretch where the road had been ripped up and not yet replaced. Car ended up with a thick covering
Anyway we arrived at the “world famous” Johnson’s of St Mary Campsite. This was within walking distance of the entrance of the park and visitor centre. On arrival we noticed that the haziness that had been with us since Yellowstone was even worse here. So when checking into the campsite, I asked if there was any chance it would clear. We were told the haze had been in St Mary since 27th
June due to all the forest fires! So instead of haze it was actually smoke, crazy. This was pretty annoying as it ruined most of the long distance views that were supposed to be stunning.
We decided we would still give our planned big hike a go the following day and caught a shuttle bus to start the Highline Trail. This hike contoured around the side of massive peaks with quite large drops below it. We started walking and instantly saw the views would be amazing if there wasn’t so much smoke. It didn’t destroy the closer up views though which were pretty awesome.
After a fairly easy and flat walk, a separate trail went up the
side of a mountain called Glacier Overlook. A couple of hikers were coming down off the trail and told us it was a tough slog up but the view was “worth it”. So we decided to do the 0.6 miles up the mountain. This section was tougher than the first 7 miles put together, but they were right. The view from the top really did overlook a glacier and it was an awesome one too.
We finally finished the trail (after I got high fived by a man born in Plymouth for wearing my Argyle shirt and a woman told Vicks that she “trusted redheads”) and caught a shuttle back to St Mary. We had descended about 2,000 feet in the final 4 miles and the smoke in the valley was so thick you could hardly see 30m in front of you.
The following day saw more smoke but we decided we could fit another hike in. This was another 10 miler to Iceberg Lake (had some icebergs in). It was a really good steady climb up to the lake which was really impressive. However, the walk will mainly be remembered for ruining my
feet and my moaning about this. Still was definitely worth it, as were the huckleberry pie and milkshake we had after it.
That evening we treated ourselves to a drink at the bar of the only hotel in St Mary. Decided to steal the beer mat that some hipster barman gave with my drink as it was from a brewery called Bitch Creek. Seemed funny at the time. Anyway the sofa by the fire was way more comfortable then the picnic bench next to the tent.
The night was a tough one in the tent with a howling wind and it raining on and off. However, in the morning we were greeted to the odd site of there being no smoke! We drove through the park on the “Going to the Sun Road”, stopping about every 2-3 miles for pictures of the amazing scenery the lifted smoke revealed. We stopped at Whitefish just outside the West side of the park and had the most amazing burgers for lunch in the Buffalo Café and continued to the motel we booked last minute in a little town called St Regis. Turns out the dirt cheap motel
we booked is actually a shed load of portacabins right by an Interstate… oops. Hey ho, at least it has a bed! This is the first leg on our way to our next stop, Seattle.
Tot: 1.699s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 13; qc: 63; dbt: 0.048s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb