Thursday, June 16, 2016

54: Going to the Sun

The day dawned cold and clear. Our planned excursion to Glacier National Park looked promising. Even so, as we rode we saw the clouds begin to build. Would we get in safely or not?
We fully expected rain today, and the sky looked like it would deliver

Well, we were lucky today. We made it to the park, stopped briefly at the visitor center to get a stamp in my passport book, and made our way along an absolutely gorgeous road beside the lake to the lodge. We saw a sign that bikes were not allowed on the road between the hours of 11 and 4, but since we had had no prior knowledge of that restriction (which we later learned just kicked in on the very day we were there) we didn't really have any option but to keep riding. 

Peeking through the trees
(I do understand the restriction, by the way. The road is so narrow and in the height of summer, it will be so busy that the cars who are nervous about passing a cyclist would create log jams all up and down the road. Still, it's too bad. Since a bike is the best way to see that part of the park.)

There's a boat ride you can take on the lake, and I convinced Roger that that's what we should do after lunch. So we got a chance to see the mountains from the lake. Absolutely breathtaking! The aquamarine color of the lake with the sun on it is just stunning. 

Mountains over Lake McGregor

Enjoying the boat ride

All this was going on while we waited for our room to be ready for check in. When we were finally able to get into the room about 3:30, we looked at each other and the sky, and said why don't we put our bike clothes back on and ride up the road a little bit? We might not have a clear shot tomorrow. 

And so we went up to the point where the road is closed to cars and continued on up about 5 or 6 miles. Absolutely stunning! It was hard to know where to focus. The beautiful ferns and the brilliant green tips of the new growth on the trees were so beautiful and fresh. Then the river would pop up beyond the trees, or a waterfall, and that was gorgeous and mesmerizing to watch. Or the mountains would appear over the treetops around a bend, and that would take your breath away. It was such a feast for the senses.
Waterfalls on McGregor Creek

Hard to know where to look, it's all so spectacular
The mountains are losing the glaciers quickly

You will want to know - did we climb the pass all the way? The answer is no. Just as we got started again after our lunch and boat trip, I looked down at the back wheel, and told Roger to stop and take a look at it because it was riding funny. Well, we'd broken a spoke, and given that, we agreed that we would only go as far up the road as we could before the climb started to dig in.  We did not want to be coming down fast with a compromised wheel. 

As it was, we were not back to our room until 6:30 or so in the evening. We cleaned up and went over to the dining room in the historic lodge, and had a great meal. I have no regrets. It's good to leave something for your next trip!

By the way, if you go - here is the hot tip. Stay in the rooms in the old dormitory. They have shared baths on the hall, but the community room and the sweet setting make up for that deficit. 
Snyder Hall, next to the creek
Huckleberry Smash!
We both had the braised pork shank for dinner, and I had this delicious concoction called a Huckleberry Smash.  Fresh berries, lemon juice, bourbon, simple syrup and mint.  Oh my!

The day's report:  Kalispell to Glacier National Park, 68.3 miles/2563 to date

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