Glacier National Park – So Beautiful
Whitefish to Essex – 51 miles (total miles 846)
Weather – cold and rainy at the beginning of the day, stayed cloudy and cool – 50 – 60 degrees
We left later this morning because we were not going to bicycling as far and it was another rainy day. We also wanted to hit the bike shop to buy a couple of replacement water bottles and put a little more air in our bicycle tires. Little did we know that nothing is open Sunday mornings in Whitefish- oh well off we go.
The first part of our ride was a bit rainy and cool but on a nice quiet road with little or no traffic. Nice views from the road of the river and mountains. Made it to Columbia Falls about an hour later and met a nice local couple who were out for a Father’s Day ride – we talked with them and biked with them a bit then continued on our way to West Glacier. The ride to West Glacier was nice great views – we also crossed the Flathead River where we saw where all the rafting companies where picking up their customers – we watched a boat come around the bend sideways – I am not sure that is the direction they wanted to be going.
After the bridge the road became gravel – but it was not too bad to ride on – it was in pretty good shape. We came around a bend in the road and there were two touring cyclists taking a break – we stopped and chatted for quite a while. They were from Anchorage, Alaska – Pete and Deb- they are also biking to the east coast. It is funny because we heard about them the day before and were glad to finally get to meet them. They were teasing us that we are the tandem couple who just fly on the bike and they figured we would catch up with them soon.
We continued on to West Glacier and got there about a half hour later. West Glacier is cool – we stopped for lunch at a local café and had our first and hopefully not last – Huckleberry Float. One of our blog followers told us to make sure we got one and boy was it delicious. I am hoping we can find them at other places near Glacier. Unfortunately the Going to the Sun Road is still closed – they have to clear all the snow away and figure it will not be cleared and open until June 21st. So we will take the alternate route which should be just as beautiful just not as high of a climb. So we headed out of West Glacier on Hwy 2 – it is a very narrow road and lots of cars especially near West Glacier. We were glad to get further out where there at least were not so many vehicles.
Made the final not too big of a climb to Essex and are staying at the Glacier Haven RV and Campground. The weather cleared up and we are able to camp. The campground is very well kept and has the cleanest restroom and showers I have ever seen. The owners are great and their brother in law visiting from Seattle bought us a couple of beers when he heard me ask the owner if I could buy any from him. They do not sell beer at the campground. The couple from Alaska are staying here tonight also and we had a chance to talk and get to know them. It should be a cold night I think it is dropping to 40 tonight – Peter and I will have to snuggle to keep warm!!
Day 16 – June 16, 2014
Essex to East Glacier – 36 miles (total miles 882)
Weather was cold and wet when we started but then it got a bit warmer and the rain stopped 40 – 60 degrees
Today we left the campground a little later since we were only bicycling 36 miles to East Glacier. The shorter ride had to do with the location of places to stop and the mountain ranges – it was either go 80 miles with a mountain pass or shorter with a mountain pass. We decided on the shorter with the pass.
We went over Marias Pass today – (5,236 ft elevation) the climb was not bad –it was a very gradual steady climb to the top. We climbed the mountain pretty well today a 26 mile climb completed in 2 hours not bad. The downhill was nice – very steady gradual downhill into East Glacier. Saw some beautiful waterfalls and mountain views. All around good ride. Tonight we are staying in the Brownies Hostel in East Glacier – great place to stay and have met lots of nice people. We also walked down to the Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park – it is a beautiful lodge originally built in 1913. We wondered around the Lodge and then ran into the couple from Alaska – who are staying at the Lodge, we joined them for a drink in the bar.
We may take our day off the bike tomorrow and stay one more day in East Glacier – the weather is supposed to be terrible tomorrow – 40 degrees and hard rain!! Yuck.