Sept 16, 2021
We up early and quickly broke camp so we could get on the road to avoid the crowds. We drove back to the “Trail of the Cedars. This was the hike we tried to go on the night before but were unable to find a parking spot. There were still a lot of people there at 8 am, but we were able to find a spot to park the van. The hike was short, but it was like being in a rain forest with all the water and different trees. By the time we got back to the van, all the parking spots were filled.
Our next goal was to drive the “Going to the Sun Road”. This route is said to be one of the most scenic drives in the US. It takes you from the west entrance of Glacier National Park to the east entrance at St Mary’s. It climbs over the mountains and has many scenic sites and views.
The drive itself was great. There was a bit of traffic, but not bad. However, when we arrived at the visitor’s center that is on the top of the continental divide the place was over-crowded. There were no parking spots and cars were parked up and down the road. I wanted to go through the visitor’s center and there were several trails that we wanted to hike, but there was no where to park. We circled through the lot before just continuing down the road. The east side of the park was also very nice to view and there were several lakes and viewpoints.
The scenic drive ended on the east border of the park at St. Marys. From there we headed north to the Many Glaciers section of the park. This was about a 20 mile drive north, close to the Canadian Border. This was also a traffice problem as they were rebuilding the road and we were stopped several times by flagmen. This added about 40 minutes to our drive.
At Many Glaciers, it was another parking nightmare. Also, most things were closed for the season. We had planned to do a few hikes, but the trailheads parking lots were packed. We ate our lunch and then left the park for the final section of the park. The Two Medicine section of the park is in the south-east corner and about 50 miles from Many Glaciers. We arrived around 4 pm and were able to find a camping spot. This section is less visited than the other areas, and we were happy with that. It was a little cold and windy, so we spent the evening in the van, practicing Spanish, except for a short walk down to the lake.
Sept 17, 2021
It was a cool morning but after breakfast we broke camp and drove to the trails for two different waterfalls, Appistoki Falls and Running Eagle Falls. The hikes were short, but both were nice hikes that were not too crowded. After we finished hiking we were done with Glacier National Park. It is a very pretty park, but the crowds made it difficult to enjoy. But we are glad we came.
We were now on the east side of the mountains and on the plains of Montana. The terrain was either flat or rolling hills covered with farms and ranches. We wanted to stop early for camp, so we found a spot in a Wildlife Management area about 50 miles north of Helena. We were camped on the edge of the lakes and saw many birds flying around. We spend the afternoon and evening studying Spanish.