Going to the Sun
Kindred Spirits

Further Into Montana

September 9th, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: It certainly was a lot warmer last night than the last few nights have been…wetter too though. The Avalanche Campground is surrounded by cedar trees, and full of “Old Man’s Beard”, a type of moss, and the air just felt damp. Really, it kind of felt like home to us, or the Pacific Northwest at least; which is a comfort. My sleep was a little troubled mostly because I stayed up so late reading my book, Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation’s Edge”. I’m working my way through the complete works of Asimov right now, and finding even the books of his that I had read before, refreshing, and well-written.

So first off, Amanda’s coffee maker purchase from the other day was a great success! I dolloped in some coffee grinds, added boiling hot water, and voila, coffee! I think tomorrow I’ll try even more water, to, gasp, make even more coffee! Despite being up at 0800hrs, we of course didn’t leave until after 1000hrs. The pace of the day was really kind of lazy. I’m not entirely sure why though. Maybe because we hadn’t picked a place to sleep on the map, and we were just winging it. We talked about riding back up the GttS Road in the other direction, but I think we have more interest in trying a more sedate continental divide crossing. There is a highway just south of the park that will take us back towards Great Falls, Montana, where our friends Gary and Mimi Wolf live. So, off we went!

The ride from Avalanche to the Apgar Village/Visitor’s Centre was about 25km, and mostly downhill. One aspect of the ride today that I really enjoyed was just shooting the breeze with Amanda while we rode. Even at this time of day, the GttS Road wasn’t very busy, which made it easy to just talk about random subjects. It is days and times like this morning, where talking with Amanda is so easy, that I just feel really comfortable and secure in our relationship. It sure as heck beats the times where we aren’t talking, or arguing.

We pulled into the Visitor Centre and immediately plugging into WiFi and just hung out for over an hour before finally making and eating some lunch. I think it was 1400hrs by the time we left. On our way out, we stopped in at the Park HQ to upgrade our 7-day Glacier pass, to a full-year pass for the two of us, which is $80. We had already paid $24 just to get into Glacier, so the extra $56 is a no-brainer for us. We’re on our way to Yellowstone, and there are a number of other historical sites between here and the Mexican border that we’re going to run into. I’m hoping we can camp out in the Grand Canyon for a few days! That place was amazing!!

Someone we’ve bumped into a few times since yesterday has been Doan, and members of his extended family. Doan is from some tiny island near Vancouver Island, I forget the name. His son and daughter-in-law hail from Vancouver Island. The three of them (with baby in tow) are taking turns over the next few days on bikes. Well, Doan is always riding, but Mama and Papa are taking turns. Today is was Jessica and Doan riding from Avalanche Campground, to Whitefish, Montana. Sadly the opposite direction from us. We have stopped to talk with them several times, and Doan is excited about continuing his ride solo, north all the way to Jasper. I gave him my Parks Canada Pass for him to use, as part of my ongoing “Pay it Forward” initiative. Doan also mentioned wanting to go to Cuba next year, and I hope it’s something he does, because Cuba is so special.

Waving goodbye to Doan and crew in West Glacier, we almost didn’t make it out of town. We spotted the Amtrak station, and I think both Amanda and I would have hopped on a train to the Pacific Coast, if the guy inside had been able to give me ticket prices and schedule. ”It’s not really an Amtrak station, even though the train comes twice a day.” Jesse, the attendant on duty told me. Oh well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

It’s now almost 1600hrs and we’ve gone a whopping 30km. We want to be somewhere to watch the inaugural kickoff of the NFL season tomorrow night, so I figured we should ride another 30km or so down the road and call it a day. The highway we are on now follows the railway up and over the continental divide, at what is the lowest pass in the Rockies in the USA, at 1505m. The shoulders are narrow, and the cars are all going a lot faster than they were within the park. Fortunately, the forest all around us belongs to the “National Forestry Service”, not US Parks. As a result, we think we can camp pretty much anywhere. When we saw a sign for the Paolo Creek trailhead, we turned, and pitched our tent under some power lines.

Like the rest of the day, camp life tonight was pretty chill. We listened to a podcast about house-sitting, Amanda practiced her guitar, and I took my time making dinner. It is so nice to be able to sit out under the stars and type this, instead of being huddled inside a tent like we have been for the last week. As it is though, I’m going to call it a night and go cuddle with the missus. G’night!

Amanda writes: The ride today was pretty chill. We started casually and took our time. I enjoyed that part. At the visitor centre I was trying to upload something and it wasn’t working and was pissing me off. It reminded me how much sometimes I do not enjoy the internet and how much it can annoy me.

We continued the ride and for the first time since our travels began I felt a little homesick. The forest around us reminded me so much of North Vancouver and the trails that we were so lucky to live in. For all our friends who still live there, be grateful for your home; it’s incredible!

After riding for a few hours we pulled the plug and made a nice wild camp spot. While I like being social I also like the nights in which we can do our own thing and not worry about any spectators. We snuggled into our tent and enjoyed the evening.

Today’s Photographs

Going to the Sun
Kindred Spirits