Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rainbows-6, Wildlife-0

LDay 3--Glacier National Park

Today was the day, time for the Going to the Sun Road! We packed up and got on the road. We made the turn toward West Glacier and Going to the Sun Road. What do we see ahead? A sign that says, "Road Closed 33 miles ahead--Logan Pass". WHAT??? We continue past the Glacier Park sign to the Entrance Station.

Sure enough, as of last night, the Going to the Sun Road is closed at Logan Pass. Dang! That means we go up to the Pass, then have to come back down and go around Glacier to the other side. That makes for another 2 1/2 hours of driving. All we can do is roll with it. Besides, we have all day...

We make a brief stop at the Apgar Visitor Center and get a map. The Ranger highlights our route telling us where we will likely see wildlife and whatnot.

Driving on the Going to the Sun Road, we near McDonald Lake Lodge (where we originally planned to stay) just as three of the "Red Bus" Tour busses pull out. We decide to follow them, figuring they know the most scenic places to stop. 

The busses first turn to cross a bridge at the end of McDonald Lake. We followed and got a great photo of the lake.

We continued to follow the busses for awhile, but then ended up pulling off to take photos. It was raining, but the scenery was still spectacular. Here's a photo.

We continued driving up and up, pulling out frequently to take photos. The higher we got, the more the rain turned to sleet. Finally we reached the top of Logan Pass. As an aside, although the climb is long, it is pretty much a steady 6% grade. Doable on the bike. 

It was very foggy and sleeting quite heavily at the top. The red busses were there. Kim and I got out, but it was pretty darn cold (on a bike it would have been miserable). I walked up to the closed Visitor Center, took a photo and slid my way back down.

Pretty darn cold!

We went back the way we had come. Down, down, down. 

We stopped a few times coming down. Back to McDonald Creek, we stopped and Kim and I walked to a lookout.

We returned to Hwy 2 and started our "Detour" to get to Babb. We crossed the Continental Divide again at Marias Pass. There was definately a change in the landscape.

Notice the faint rainbow. This was just one of 6 rainbows we saw today (what that really tells you is that it rained most of the day).

When we reached the turn to go to Montana's Duck Lake Lodge, we decided to go on into Babb and go up to Many Glacier. The Ranger said it was a good place to see some wildlife. Up to now, we had not seen a single wild animal--not even at the top of Logan Pass (where there are supposed to be tons of Big Horn Sheep--maybe they didn't care for the nasty weather???).

Shortly after turning on the road to Many Glacier, we saw a grouse on the side of the road. Unfortunately, we didn't get a photo. We did get some nice mountain photos along the way.

We drove back to Babb. Montana's Duck Lake Lodge is like a hostel. We have three twin beds in our room. The sink room is across the hall, the shower room is next to that, and the toilet room is the next one over. I'm sure this is the first time my dad has stayed in this type of establishment.

We did find some wildlife finally.

Hopefully, tomorrow, the sheep will decide to come to the party.

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