Glacier National Park - The East Side

Trip Start May 25, 2008
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Trip End Aug 03, 2008


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Where I stayed
KOA East Glacier

Flag of United States  , Montana
Tuesday, June 3, 2008

After a windy night, we woke up a little later than usual. We waited for the wind to die down a little before we left on our tour of the park. At first we were to drive the famous "Going-to-the-Sun" road. However, it was open only a quarter of the way on the east side of Glacier and a quarter of the way on the west side of the park. To get to the other side of the park would be a 150 mile round trip. With the price of diesel so high, we decided to do that side on another trip and concentrate on the east side for the next few days. From the entrance gate, which was only about a mile from our campground, we went up the 12 miles of road that was open. For half of this way we have St. Mary lake on the side which was created by glaciers thousands of years ago. At the "Dead End" sign we turned around and head back down the mountains. On the way down we did several turn-offs. The main one was the trail for St. Mary falls and Virginia Falls. This was a short hike of 3.5 miles round trip. This had to be one of the best hikes ever. The trees had this wonderful strong pine smell, new plants and flowers were blooming all over the place, and small creeks swollen with snow melt were all over the place. The first falls on the trip, St. Mary, was worth the $25 entrance fee. There was a bridge across the falls. The falls were swollen with snowmelt. There were several flat rocks around the bridge where you could get a better vantage point of the falls. Just got to make sure you don't fall in. This was a place that you could spend hours meditating about anything you wanted to. After the past school year, I know I needed some meditation on my own to make it through another 18 years of teaching.  After taking many pics and video's of the falls, we pushed on to the next fall's - Virginia. This was unique it its own way. This is a much higher falls but it goes down in a series of falls - not just one long drop - kinda like terraces.  There were plenty of places to rest on the rocks and chill out - the rock formations in this area tend to be flat. I sat on this corner rock that went over the mid-point of the falls - one slip and I was a gonner.  But at times like this in nature, you really don't care - you just want to sit there and take everything in. Pooh, in the mean time, was laying down on one of these rocks and taking a short nap. But all good things must come to an end so we hiked back to the parking area, passing many hikers as the area was starting to get a little crowded as the weather was improving. We drove down a little more ways, pulling over to get some pics of the lake. We parked at one area where you could go under the road to see the pretty stone arch bridge going over a creek. This was built over 75 years ago. We then drove back to the RV to eat some lunch. After an hour we took off again to our afternoon destination - Many Glacier. This was about one hour north of us. The road was very rough to the top. We took one main short trail in this area - Redrock Lake. Another classic trail in the mountains as you hike in this valley with 10,000 foot plus mountains on either side. With the binoculars, you could see mountain goats high in the mountains grazing. Redrock lake was another beautiful  glacier carved lake about two miles long and a half mile wide. At the end of the lake was Redrock falls. You can never get enough of these snowmelt falls. Part of this trail was covered in ice so it did get a little interesting crossing over these ice fields - one was on the side of a hill. At the falls we turned back. We had to get back to the truck to give the dogs - who went with us - some water and a bathroom break. From here we went to Many glacier hotel - which was closed at the time - to do a trail around Many Glacier lake. Due to heavy snow, most things in the park do not open until the mid part of June to the end of the month. And like the rest of the park, this trail was also closed due to the 10 ft. high ice. So we took a horse trail for about 15 min. until we spotted the fresh bear tracks and high tailed it back to the truck to go home. Near the RV Park we decided to eat at our second restaurant of the trip - appropriately named "Johnson's Café."  Since we are Johnson's ourselves and it looked like a cool little local place, we checked it out. The food was local homemade fare and it was a little on the expensive side, but this had to be one of the best places ever for this type of food. I had this awesome patty melt with peppers and onions with Cajun spices. On the side was a bowl of homemade turkey barley soup. Usually I would not order this type of soup, but boy was it good. So if your ever in St. Mary, Montana, check out Johnson's  café. After this we went back to the RV where I checked out the election results from South Dakota and Montana and Barak Obama claimed the Democratic nomination. Kind of cool that I was in the state that clinched it for him.
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