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Day 5 (9.6.07) - Glacier National Park (Photo's Added)

In Montana, taking the "Going To The Sun Road" in Glacier NP

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Starting Mileage: 110581, Middle Thompson Lake, MT
Ending Mileage: 110728, 8 mi. N of Browning, MT
Weather: Sunny & Clear in AM, overcast & light rain in PM, very windy night

We left Logan SP and drove about 45 miles further to Kalispel. Thinking again that we were in a big town (again, about six thousand people), I tried to upload the blog again. I was able to get onto the internet and check email, but uploading photo's just didn't work. Later, when I tried to buy a new cell phone at Wal-mart I learned they don't carry AT&T phones because there is no AT&T service there (nor Sprint), only Verizon. We didn't get cell phone service again until we were almost in Helena (the following day). The city park we stopped at to try the internet was called Woodland Park and was very nice with a lot of geese and ducks in ponds with walking paths, bridges, swimming pools and playfields.

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We drove on to Glacier National Park and mom was able to get her Golden Age Passport again. This allows her (and people she is with) to go to National Parks and such without the entry fee (or sometimes at a reduced rate).

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After we entered Glacier NP, we saw a lot of burned area on the north side of McDonald Lake. The lake itself was still beautiful of course, and there are many lovely and interesting sights to see on the way into the park.

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After stopping for pictures (of course), we proceeded on the "Going to the Sun" road. We also began to see spectacular mountain peaks and vistas. This is the only time I have really regretted having a Class C motorhome - the bed over the cab of the truck really blocked the views a lot. However, the RV is only 21 feet long, so I was able to take it across Glacier NP (the "Going to the Sun" road is limited to vehicles 21' or shorter). Still we had a couple of close calls, so I am quite sure you would not want any larger vehicle for this trip. At one point I heve scraped my side mirrors against a rock cliff wall a bit!

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The U.S. Government allocated a lot of funding to repair this road, so shortly into the trip we had to stop for quite a while and wait for a pilot car (along with a long line of cars). The road was only open in one direction for a couple of miles at least. We found out later that they will be closing the road for the winter on September 16th this year to allow more time for road work. We seemed to have just slipped by!

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As we drove upwards, the sky clouded over quite a bit and the mountains were too dark to really show off their stuff. This can be better for photography sometimes, but I haven't bothered to really learn the manual settings on my camera (the Auto setting works fine in most conditions), so my pictures may not be that spectacular. Again, we took a LOT more photographs than this but have tried to select a few representative shots.

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Near the summit, we finally saw some mountain goats. They were quite far away (up on a cliff of course), but show up clearly enough with the 12x zoom.

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With all the stops to try the internet updating (in Kalispel) and picture taking (everywhere), by the time we got to the summit at Logan Pass, the visitors center was closed. My cousin had suggested we try to get to Jewel Lake, but it was getting too late to even try to get to the overlook (maybe next trip?).

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Just as we went to leave the parking lot at the summit, Mom noticed a flock of people gathered near the edge. She thought they might be looking at something special, so we stopped. Lo and behold there were two big horned sheep only about 30 feet (10 meters) off the road. We stayed for several minutes more taking pictures and video.

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We did get to see Jackson Glacier a bit on the eastern side as we continued on, but the clouds started coming in as well as the darkness, so we don't have as many pictures from this side of the trip.

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Once, we had to stop quickly as everyone in front of us had stopped. A coyote was by the side of the road and ran across about 40 feet in front of us. I whipped up the camera, but only got a blurry shot just as he disappeared off to the side.

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After leaving the park at Saint Marys, we drove south through more burned forests. It was getting dark and we were both very tired, so we decided to stay in an RV park about five miles west of Browning. The café looked rustic and nice, but we didn't go there to eat, just sleep. Can't say I'd recommend the place, but we had a place to sleep anyway.

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ps - we barely made it out of Glacier by dark, I stop a lot for pictures

pps - we saw mountain goats, big horn sheep and a coyote in Glacier!

Posted by jl98584 11:07 Tagged family_travel

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