North to Glacier!

July 3, 2017 - West Glacier, Montana, United States

We were up bright and early this morning to begin the long journey to West Glacier, Montana.  Bill had the opportunity to practice dumping the black water tank for the first time prior to leaving Canyon campground.  We also did a brief stop at Norris Geyser Basin where we’d found no parking the first time through.  I recalled Echinus Geyser that was pretty spectacular.  We headed for it after a quick stop at Steamboat springs.  Son-of-a-gun!  How things change.  Norris Geyser BasinEchinus Geyser has become dormant; but of course we didn’t learn that until we’d walked all the way to it.  Joke is on us – again!  We were back in the car and on the road within 45 minutes.  Road construction on the loop from Norris to Mammoth Hot Springs prevented a pull-over for a beautiful herd of elk close to the road.  There’s just something about elk that I really feel drawn to.  I had hoped to get at least one great picture but I do hold these images in my memory.  At least for a while.  We did a brief stop at Roaring Mountain that is a steam-spewing hillside.  Nearing the northwest entrance of the park is what’s known as “Golden Gate”.  The plank board trestle for this stretch of road was built back in the mid-1880s.  It was most recently reengineered in 1977.  It’s a lovely area just north of Osprey Falls.

We decided to trust our handy IPhone navigator to choose the fastest route to West Glacier.  To our surprise, it took us off I-90 thirty-five miles past Bozeman and up 287 toward Helena.  A short distance up 287 was a large display of horse sculptures set up along a hillside.  From a distance they looked real.  Bill turned the car around so that I could attempt a picture. I was pretty impressed.  Life sized horse sculpturesFarther up 287 I noticed a doe scurrying up a rocky hillside.  As my mind was pondering, “What is she running from?” I swung my eyes back around toward the road and there were three monster-bucks right by the fence line.  Bill was looking at something on the other side of the road and didn’t even notice them.  There was little traffic on most of the roadway and it was truly a beautiful drive.


From there we took 141 to 200; ending up on Montana 83 for much of the Swan Range of Mountains.  The topography changed immediately from plains to wooden lake and mountain once we headed up 83.  Swan Lake was huge and beautiful as were several other lakes up the road.  We arrived at Glacier campground at 5:15 p.m. only to find the electricity to our site – sadly lacking.  It was so hot that RVs running their air-conditioners had blown the circuits.  It was in the 90s; not at all what I had expected.  We both took advantage of hot showers.


This campground was to be our jumping off point to Avalanche Creek campground in Glacier National Park the next day.  This place was obviously bent on making money during the good weather months.  The folks next to us were so close that even though they weren’t talking loudly, it sure seemed like they were.  No reservations were allowed at Avalanche Creek so we planned to line up early for a spot.  In the meantime, after our showers we headed out to find the Hungry Horse Dam.  Bill recalled visiting the dam when he was not yet 10 years old.  We easily located it and took some time to walk out and marvel.  In fact, we even drove across. Hungry Horse Damn


Groceries were next on the list and we decided to shop at a scary looking grocery store in Hungry Horse.  It wasn’t that the store was scary but the local clientele were.  I would suspect there may be a meth epidemic in Hungry Horse.  We also stopped by a joint hawking huckleberry pie in a nod to my sister Sally and her husband Dave who had partaken there in the fall.  After waiting in line I discovered they were out of pie.  Oh, such luck.  We returned to camp and had tacos for dinner.  Bill even asked the folks next door to quiet down since they’d also decided to turn on music after 10:00 p.m.  They complied.


Norris Geyser Basin
Life sized horse sculptures
Hungry Horse Damn
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