Thursday, September 9, 2010 Steady rain all morning, 43 degrees; intermittent rain all afternoon, 55-65-55
Pacific Time Zone
The road from East Glacier to West Glacier is in a deep, narrow valley with more evergreens towering overhead. Rain followed us into the park. The western side Glacier is very different from the eastern side. The park is lower in altitude and very lush. McDonald Lake reigns supreme. It is very large and has a lodge, falls, creek, rapids, and drive named after it. The setting is very like the Adirondack Mountains with fir and cedar trees being dominate. In fact, further up the road we hiked the Trail of Cedars which has some of the largest trees we've seen to this point, and some of which are 500 years old. The trail led to Avalanche Falls. Its course was very fast as it twisted and fell over the huge rocks that lay in its way. Across the road the McDonald Rapids also were running full because of the recent rains.
Leaving the park we headed west again on what has become our favorite route, US 2. We've enjoyed all of the amazing scenery that we would have missed driving the interstates. As we continued through Montana and into Idaho, we passed numerous alpine-like lakes, laying at the foot of mountains and, of course, surrounded by trees. Today fog filled the valleys between the mountains, wrapping them in what looked like cotton candy. Both states are remarkably beautiful, but the long, cold winters would test the hardiest of souls. And there must be many of them because, unlike lodging in many areas of the country, rates are higher here in winter than in summer.
LAST MINUTE OBSERVATIONS: Services are already being curtailed in Glacier NP. Visitor Center hours have been shortened, the shuttle service has ended, and tour boats are being removed from the lakes.
Montana has no sales tax! I can't remember the last time I paid exactly what the list price was.
North Dakota receives $2 in Federal aid for every tax dollar collected. What's with that?
In Montana and Idaho we've seen pull-out areas for chaining up and chain removal, and even one for cell phone service. Some of the people who have a cell phone permanently attached to their head would probably have withdrawal out here with now-you-have-it-now-you-don't cell service.
In Glacier NP this morning we had a lengthy conversation with a couple from Oregon. They confirmed the observations our friends Bill and Lin have made on their recent visit there. We also learned the Oregon is pronounced Ore-gin. Now we know.
With the change in time zones, we arrived early enough in Coeur d'Alene to make a laundry run. It should have been short and sweet, but we went through at least two dryer cycles before we realized it wasn't heating. To reward ourselves for the aggravation we endured, we rewarded ourselves with a visit to Dairy Queen.
Tomorrow we plan to repack and reorganize our luggage for the next leg of our trip. Then we plan to make stops in Spokane and at Grand Coulee Dam prior to our visit to the Northern Cascades NP on Saturday.
TODAY'S ROUTE: From Browning, MT, US 2W to Glacier NP, US 2W to US 95S in Coeur d'Alene, ID.