Thursday, June 24, 2021
Since we can’t drive through the park, we are retracing part the route we drove yesterday to get back to the east side. We were told that we should take an alternate route, Looking Glass Hill Road, to get to St. Mary. The road skirted the park and was a bit rough in places, but better than the road to Ryan Dam in Great Falls. The views more than made up for the twists, turns and bumps. We stopped several times to admire the views.
Luckily, we did this trip in the morning, because thunderstorms hit East Glacier shortly after noon. It’s also a lot cooler on this side. Even after the rain subsided, the mountains were mostly clouded over.
Friday, June 25
The sun was shining this morning, although there were some low lying clouds around the mountains. Today’s activity was the Many Glacier Tour. We left our lodge early since we didn’t know how much traffic there would be. The traffic wasn’t bad, but the roadwork was! We were stopped a couple of times to allow oncoming traffic to use the one-way road. Much of the road into the park was dusty gravel, but next year it will be a beautiful paved road with several pullouts for tourists like us. At one point, we were told that the wait would be 15-20 minutes. Turns out that was enough time to get some great shots of the entrance to the park.
While waiting for our tour to begin, we spotted a brown blob in the lake. It was moving! I took my camera, zoomed in, and saw a moose cow crossing Swiftcurrent Lake. Very exciting. A few minutes later, I spied a fox enjoying a snack near the lodge. This was a pretty good way to start the day!
Our boat tour began by crossing Swiftcurrent Lake in one boat, disembarking and hiking to Lake Josephine and boarding another boat to cruise that lake. Fortunately, it was a little warmer than yesterday, but it’s still cool on the water. The views were simply amazing. The glaciers are not as massive as in other parts of the world (Glacier Bay in Alaska for the United States), but the mountains and lakes more than made up for that.
After the tour, we headed back to our lodging in Whitefish. Even though we’ve driven this route three times in as many days, it doesn’t get boring. We get back on the train early tomorrow morning to return to Minnesota.
One of the things we are bringing back home is a newfound love of huckleberries, very popular in Montana at this time of year. They are closely related to both blueberries and bilberries. We have sampled huckleberry pancakes, huckleberry pie, huckleberry soda, huckleberry with dark chocolate, huckleberry syrup, but haven’t found any huckleberry liqueur yet. If we do, it will come home with us along with syrup, jam and candy.