The Good Mountain

Trip Start May 09, 2011
1
7
17
Trip End Jun 12, 2011


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Where I stayed
Serrano's Guesthouse

Flag of United States  , Montana
Friday, May 20, 2011

Well, I finally made it out of the God forsaken Midwest. Thank Jesus. I am currently in the village of East Glacier Park, Montana; which is right across the railroad tracks from glacier park proper. Glacier is as beautiful as everyone said. The mountains here are almost a little scary they are so breathtaking, and the train ride into town was absolutely energizing. Whoever planned out the locations of the train station, lodge, and town did a very good job. The Station faces the lodge, and when looking from the station the lodge it is backed by Sinopah, Dancing Lady, and Rising Wolf Mountains.
It turns out there is a backpackers hostel behind the Mexican restaurant in town where you can get a bunk for $15 / night. It is an easy walk from the train station down to the hostel, and as soon as I heard about it I knew I had been really silly to worry so much about where I would stay.
Right now the hostel is inhabited by people who have come out to work at the park. It turns out there is this whole scene of people who travel around and work at national parks, waiting tables or bellhoping. They all seem to have stories about the parks where they have worked, and give each other tips on what jobs they have liked best and where to go next...
Apparently, one can make a pretty good buck at a national park if tips and hours are plentiful, and room and board is part of the deal. Many of the people here are trying to stay abreast of student loans by working hard in the parks all summer.
As it turns out, Glacier is the only major park in the US that isn’t monopolized by the same private company that provides the services for all the other major parks. The park itself is monopolized by some private company, but it is a different private company than the one that monopolizes most of the rest of them. When they found out I didn’t have any experience on the park scene, my bunkmates hipped me to some of the old jokes and initial lessons of park work - most of which had to do with the same company controlling everything within a park - from the gift shop to the restaurants, and how sad / funny it was, depending on the people, to see the customers go to the different shops or restaurants to look for alternatives, only to find the same stuff, prices, and often staff working there because the ‘alternative’ was really just a manifestation of the same company.
They also said that some of the park bunkhouses were a pretty depressing scene, with security guards hired by the management company to police the employees in their own rooms, and pretty poor sanitary facilities. But they still seemed to like the work enough to do it, and seemed pretty exited to be there.
Everyone seems pretty hopeful about glacier. The only disparaging fact is that most of the people doing service jobs in town worked at the park for a season, and loved the park too much to leave, but didn’t want to spend any more time working there. When someone flipping burgers at the local diner tells you how much better they have it than when they were at the park - well, that is a little foreboding.
The weather is supposed to be rainy, but there isn’t much point in hanging out. It looks like Monday is going to be the worst of it, so I want to ride to East Glacier Park, where the forecast looks much more mild, by then.
So, tomorrow, I start riding. It has been too long, and I can’t wait...
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