After Yellowstone, we headed towards Glacier National Park! I was super excited for this park; I had heard so many wonderful things from everyone and I had never been here. First though, we stopped in the town of Bozeman and got our life together again i.e. we showered. We continued along the way and slept outside of the park. Okay, it was in a Montana saloon, Trixi’s, parking lot, don’t judge us. When we asked the bartender if it would be okay, and the cops wouldn’t care, she said that she sees them once a year so we were good to go.
We arrived at Glacier late morning and grabbed the last campsite at Avalanche Creek Campground and chilled a couple hours. It was, again, madness at this park. It’s the 10th most visited park, and it was the beginning of July 4th weekend, so we were at least a bit prepared for it.
We drove through the whole park up to the north east section, Many Glacier. To get to this, you actually exit the park and enter back in on another small road. The weather was getting a little chilly, but clearly the animals liked it because we saw a moose and a grizzly with a couple cubs!
We started to head back on the scenic drive. I dropped Mike off at Rising Sun overlook area and he was going to bike back to the campsite while I did overlooks and a couple hikes. At this point, it was starting to drizzle, but that’s no big deal for hiking or biking…
I stopped at Sun Point, Wild Goose, Siyeh Bend, and a couple other unnamed overlooks and did the little hikes at those. Stunning, even with the rain. However…. fog set in next. It got so bad that I could barely see 10ft in front of me at times. The average speed limit, on this winding, narrow, cliff hugging road was 35mph. I could barely go over 15 because of the fog and rain.
I got a little nervous and stopped at Logan Pass, the top of the scenic drive area. At this point, no one was here, so I just parked in the exit lane from the visitor center and waited to see Mike. I was a little worried that he would get hit since we had experienced so many reckless speed demons on these scenic drives. While I was waiting, I saw about 30 bighorn sheep cross right in front of me! They just popped up unexpectedly from this hill and started meandering across. It was wild and so exciting.
Mike rode by with the biggest smile on his face and said he was good to go and was going to continue biking to the campground. He is cray cray. I continued on my way…. I was going to go to a Ranger program but because I was being a cautious/nervous nellie driver, I missed it. Mike met me back at our campsite like 15 minutes after me (I might have been driving too slowly) and we had one of those perfect sleeps, listening to the storm.
We had planned on waking up early and doing a few hikes. Sadly, when we woke up it was still foggy and raining. We went to the Visitor Center to get some wifi and it turned out it was an 80-100% chance of rain/fog for the whole weekend. Super bummer for the people that were planning on spending the whole holiday weekend there. While we were at the Visitor Center, busses and busses of people kept showing up. I felt bad when I saw their faces look at the forecast tv screen.
I’m pretty sad that we didn’t get to experience the famous Glacier that I’ve seen photos of. However, we still had a good time and we’ll definitely be back to do some backcountry hiking! For now, off to Oregon to surprise our friend, Ry, and watch him finish the American Trail Race. It’s a 5000+ mile bikepacking race from North Carolina to Oregon that both Ry and Mike did in 2017.
As I didn’t get to experience the traditional sunshiney Glacier, these tips are geared towards rainy day advice!
- Utilize ranger programs! They are fun and educational for all ages.
- As long as it’s safe and not storming, you can still have fun in the rain! Put on that jacket and go jump in the puddles.
- Have that camera always. You’ll never know when a bighorn sheep will surprise you.
- Try not to get mad at Mother Nature. She’s not raining because you’re on vacation, it’s just raining while you happen to be on vacation.