Adventure - Page 4
24 DAYS ON THE ROAD
Morning dawned cold and bright. I hiked down to the Flathead River, and then checked out the Montana Fur Trader next door to the campground. I'd never seen so many animal furs before. Was this legal? I guessed wolf, black bear, silver, red and arctic foxes, and bobcats are not necessarily endangered species. It was just a little disarming to see them all hanging in a row, like so many coats and parkas hung up on pegs after a snowball fight. Other strange things you could buy included a real raccoon-tail hat ($60), and a bobcat's face (!) for $4.85. Couldn't find anything I really needed to buy.
Drove to Glacier's west entrance where the ranger casually said, "You know you can't take your trailer over Going-to-the-Sun Road." Ooops, there went my strategy for the day. The park had a 20 foot overall length limit, due to severe hairpin turns and drop-offs. I would only be allowed to explore as far as Avalanche Lake, after which I would have to backtrack and drive around the park to where tonight's camping reservation was waiting.
Stopped in Apgar Village, bought postcards and made a picnic lunch. Was also able to pick up a can of grizzly bear repellent called, "Counter Attack." I've read enough guidebooks to know I didn't want to tangle with one of those powerful creatures, so I parted with $46.95 for a 12-oz. can of very serious pepper spray on a belt holster. I would be hiking alone, and although I hoped to never use the spray, I needed to feel safe. Had a hard time getting out of the village due to so many people being curious about the teardrop camper. Gave half a dozen tours, if not more.
Drove to Avalanche, via getting lost, and parked near the campground. Hiked the Cedar Trees and the Avalanche Falls trails. Eyeballed the Avalanche Lake trail and decided to go for it. Went back to the camper to get ready for bears. I probably looked like a techno-hiking geek, but who cares; I was having fun! Hiking boots, poles, daypack with full safety kit including snakebite kit and anaphylactic shock kit, water, sunglasses, camera, and on my pack belt, the Christmas jingle bells off my front door (in metallic red, of course), and the can of Counter Attack. Had a wonderful 4-mile round-trip hike. Passed a few people, and silenced my jingle bells for them as we passed each other. Then it was time to hit the road hard, and high tail it to my reserved campsite in St. Mary, Montana.
The eastern end of Glacier felt less woodsy, and the mountains went sheer up, almost like the Tetons. As the sun set behind them, the view was divine so I took a few snapshots though the front window while driving 70 mph.
Pulled into Johnson's of St. Mary about 8:30 pm where I checked in. Mr. Johnson was very nice but extremely deaf. Their sign had said the Café was open until 9:00 pm, and everyone had told me the homemade food was wonderful, so I had planned to catch a late dinner there. Mr. Johnson said the Café was closed, but I wanted to run up the hill to check. He called ahead and Mrs. Johnson said they could take me so I ran all the way there. All they could give me was soup and homemade white bread, but it was hearty and hot and I was happy. Listened to the coyotes howling as my camper rapidly cooled to a shivery 25°F. So much for Sandpoint (at 28°F) being the coldest night of my trip!
Click here to go to 1999 Teardrop Adventure Page 5.
The story is 16 short pages total. You can jump to other sections of the story here:
1 - Departure
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