Well I feel fortunate to be able to type today after the travesty that was last night in the Bean. After taking spiffy pictures around the KOA and setting up my camp for the night, I checked the weather and didn't feel too worried.... I snuggled down in my fartsack (sleepingbag for the uninitiated) for the night gioving no thought to my dinner... I let RTD sleep at the end of the airmatress in a little cleared off spot where I don't have to wake up to hot doggy breath, or worse.... This was a lesson hard learned the first night in the Bean. I promptly fell right asleep, despite the nearly full moon shining in my window like the mag-lite of a celestial cop. Sometime around three A.M. or so I woke up a little bit chilled. I checked my bag etc, nudged RTD just to make sure that if I was up, so was he, and went back to bed. Don't send any hate mail, he does a very similar thing to me. Whenever RTD awakens, and randomly throughout the day, he likes to give his ears a good shaking. Violently. This started about 7-8 months ago when I suspect he contracted a minor ear infection. After numerous trips to the vet, the infections were cleared, but Sir Shakes-a-lot continued on... more violently. It got to the point that his ear tips were bleeding, and my walls looked as though your friendly neighborhood serial killer had moved in. I trtied everything to heal them, including duct tape on the edges of his ears. That didn't help but hey he looked funny! Finally I started putting "Nu-Skin" on his ears, and that helped a lot. I myself have extensive experience with this stuff, and the story is VERY entertaining... Maybe if there's enough demand I'll write it up... Well his ears have since scarred up, but he continues to shake like an epileptic on a sugar high. At 3 A.M. Well now in the Bean he's added to this. he's discovered that if he shakes next to the plastic bin where I store supplies, he can pop his ears on it. So now he does this.... Picture a three year old child with a plastic tub and a wooden spoon. At 3 A.M. Yeah he deserves the nudges... FLOPPITY-FLOPPITY-FLOPPITY.
Well I settled back in and went back to sleep, only to awaken practically frozen at about 4:30 A.M. Three friggin layers of sleeping bag and I was still hating life. RTD was sleeping soundly... NUDGE! Anyhow, I debated letting him up near me to steal his warmth, but decided against it as I know he would take that to be a new nightly ritual, and that just wasn't worth it. Well so much for global warming, AND the stupid forecasts. It was near freezing in the Bean! So unfortunately I had to spend the rest of the night locked in cold storage with a cellmate with a fur coat... I spent the next few hours tossing and turning interspersed with shivering while praying the sun would hurry up and come up. It was at this point I was starting to lose my appreciation for towering mountains. Finally it poked over the ridge and began baking the Bean, thus allowing me to sleep a bit more. Finally it got too hot to sleep and I set out to start my day.
I spent a good portion of the day exploring what I could of Glacier National Park, and was not disappointed at all. The towering sheer rock cliff rise thousands of feet above the valley floor, carved at rough angles by years of glacial action. At their base they soften a bit and dark pines begin to thicken, usually working the way down to a glacier lake at the valley floor. The lakes are narrow but long and quite deep, and the only boats I saw on them were the occasional kayak, and two park service boats. I started the day at Many Glacier, and followed the long winding road up the river that it bordered, occassionally passing a smaller lake that was birthed by a river higher up the valley. Ultimately the road ends just past a sprawling hotel built in the early 1900's and moideled after the Swiss Alpine style you see so often in movies. At the end of the road I was surrounded by towering white giants, snow covered mountains and glacial snowfields as far as the eye could see. All of this was balanced out with balmy 65 degree weather, and the austere simplicity of nature in its' purest.
I made my way back out and then went back into the park via the St. Mary's entrance. The road was closed after 13 miles due to avalanches though, so I wasn't able to get to the west park. This road differed from Many Glacier in that it followed the large lake I spoke of earlier. All along the road were pull-offs where one could stop and gaze at the wonder of nature, and even snap a few pictures of it. Eventually the lake gave way to it's forming river, that was fed by majestic waterfalls spouting srom seemingly nowhere on the tree covered cliffsides. I could hear the roar of some of them from clear across the valley, and could hear several more that I couldn't see at all. Sadly this was where the road closed, so I was forced to turn back at this point. While I never saw any large animals, I did see countless ground squirrels and even a few goats and deer, roaming the hillsides oblivious to the human presence below them.
Once out of St. Mary, I went along the southern edge of the park and was rewarded with still a different view. Here the mountains are smaller, but the valleys are larger and greener, and the road was more winding as it encircled the park. Occassionally, as in the rest of the park, I could see the bright green scars on the mountainside that evidenced past avalanches which had wreaked their havoc on the hillsides oh so many winters ago. As I drove the winding roads breathing the rich aroma of the pine, it reminded me of the pictures I've seen of the Alps, so I wonder how close they may be in simliarity. Maybe in miniature? I also thought about making a calendar to sell on here with some of the pictures I've taken, but who knows... We'll see...
Finally I made my way up the west side of the park and over to Kallispell, Montana. This road was a bit lower in elevation so the snow was minimal but the dark green pines and cascading waterfalls made this mountain pass road a worthy trip indeed. From here I'm heading into Spokane tonight, and then down to Portland, Oregon tomorrow! From there it's the Pacific Coast Hiway into middle California and finall back our East!! Stay tuned!!