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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Paint It Black........:-(

You know how I have said often "I wonder when our turn is?".......so many of our friends have had issues with their motorhomes in the past 60 days....some, more than one issue..... I can hear the words of another song from the past......"She's Got Issues" by Offspring.   Well, we haven't had too many issues over the past 18 months.....and by the way, July 30th marked the end of 18 months on the road for us, and how fitting that our turn happened Tuesday.

What was "our turn" you ask?  Well, put on your hip boots and bio hazard gloves, because it gets deep fast......

First thing this morning TLE and I were discussing plans for the day......we wanted to take another hike and were trying to determine where the trailhead was for the trail we wanted to hike.  Just in passing she mentioned she thought we were getting close to needing to dump the black tank (you can tell by the sound it makes when you flush the toilet), and I agreed, so while she began to clean up the kitchen I went out to dump and flush the black tank.  I have done this chore every 10-12 days since February of 2011, and have never had a mishap......never.   I have done it a 100+ times with nary an "issue".  As I was feeding the hose I use to flush the black tank through the gap in between the fresh water tank and the black tank the tip of the hose, apparently, caught the middle of three plugs located near the bottom of the black tank.  Each of these three plugs is wired into the Odor Control box, which helps keep the black tank odor in abeyance.  The plug POPPED OUT!  Wait, what!?  At first I thought I heard residual water draining out of the flush hose, but then I realized water was gushing out of either the fresh water tank, or black tank......as my eyes focused on the narrow area between the two tanks, which is about 4" wide and 6' long, I saw sewage coming out of a hole in the side the black tank down low.  I stood there stunned, and heard the words coming out of my mouth......"damn, this is not good"....TLE heard my loud utterance through the kitchen window and asked what was going on.......I replied....."I just popped a plug out of the side of the black tank and the black water is going everywhere".  Within seconds she was at my side watching the water bay fill with effluent and then begin spilling on to the grass.

Click on this picture and you can see the three plugs with wires....the middle one is out in this picture, but it is hard to tell....this is after the mop up, but before we took out the tank on the right.

After a few seconds of hesitation I quickly pulled the black water tank dump valve to dump the tank into the sewer.  It took about 60 seconds, which seemed a lifetime.......I took the hose that I was trying to feed between the tanks, put on a nozzle, and began to spray out the water bay and get rid of the sewage......all the while my mind is racing......"how am I going to put that plug back in that hole and properly seal it?"  The space is too narrow for either of our arms, even if they were long enough.  I'm looking at all the 4-5" diameter pipes and dump valves I would have to disconnect to remove the black/gray tank to fix the problem.  About this time TLE says "why not take out the fresh water tank?  There are fewer things to remove"......and of course, she is/was correct.  Now that we had a plan of action we needed to dump all the fresh water out of the tank (150 gallons at the time) and then remove the tank.  I turned off the city water, turned on the water pump, and then turned on the kitchen and bathroom cold water valves to pump the water into the gray tank and then into the sewer.  We could have just opened up the gate valves (there are three gate valves which can be opened to drain all the water out of the coach for winterizing), and drained all the water on to the grass, but we were going to have to work around that area to remove the tank, and neither of us wanted do it standing in 150 gallons of water while it soaked into the grass.  It took about 45 minutes to empty the tank, and while that was happening I began to remove everything that held the fresh water tank in place.  Within 30 minutes of the tank being emptied we had it out.  From there we began to clean out the residue of the black water, and once that was done I crawled in the bay and re-installed the plug using outdoor clear silicone caulk.  While I was at it I re-sealed the other two plugs, too.

 The fresh water tank being moved out.....TLE setting up blocks to support it.  As you can see the tank sits on top of a marine grade 3/4" piece of grooved plywood...that will have to be dried out.


After doing that it was just a matter of drying everything out (including the plywood the tank sits on), and curing the caulk....the caulk starts out white when it is applied, and as it cures turns clear.  We have an electric heater in the water bay to keep the water from freezing in the winter, so I just turned it on to help dry it out, and cure the caulk faster.  By Wednesday, or Thursday we should be able to put the fresh water tank back in place.  In the mean time we can use the shower, and sinks, and once the caulk cures, the toilet again (the caulk was cured before we went to bed....yay!!).

 The fresh water tank out....I was going to use a portable electric heater, but then remembered we already have a built in one....black object in lower right corner.

Thank goodness the water bay is lined (as you can see above) with linoleum....this acts as a moisture barrier and keeps the wood underneath from becoming saturated when spills occur.....and they do occur!

 The offending plug re-installed and caulked...I re-caulked the other two just to be on the safe side.

It looks much larger when it is out....this is what a 160 gallon tank looks like


And yes.......that was our entire Tuesday......and what a Tuesday it was!  There is no doubt that things will break, or malfunction in a motorhome.....especially when you live in it full time......what "it" really comes down to is what you do when it happens.  Do you panic, throw up your hands, or do you use your knowledge/experience, put your heads together and see if you can't fix it yourselves?  It is largely the unfamiliarity of it all that can be overwhelming, but like any project you might take on at home, once you start to "dig" into it you find, in lot of cases, you can "do it yourself".  My first reaction was that I was going to have to call Good Sam and get a referral for a motorhome tech to come out an fix my mistake.  In the end, once I calmed down....with TLE's help.....we figured out what to do.  Sometimes you have to call your ERS, but not this time!

I am really proud of how well Elaine and I worked as a team Tuesday.  She kept me focused, and had great observations and suggestions.  An added benefit to pulling the fresh water tank completely out was we were finally able to get the rest of the reddish sediment out of our fresh water tank that had been deposited there while we were in Indianapolis.....as you will recall the water line at the campground broke, and when we refilled the tank from the just repaired water line we got a lot of reddish sediment in the tank......with the tank out we were able to put water in it, slosh it around, and then turn it on end and get all the rest of the sediment out!

You just never know what the Jello is going to throw at you from day to day, and today the Jello threw a left hook, but "we" stepped inside the punch and scored a knockout!  What started out as a major disaster (for us) turned out to be a minor inconvenience, and a great learning experience.  Each time we come up against a problem like this we gain a little more confidence in our ability to deal with "it".

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weather and Jello......

You'll remember that picture at the end of yesterday's entry showing the threatening sky, right?  Well, this is what we woke up to Monday morning.  Based on the 10 day weather guessers forecast we had expected rain Monday, or Tuesday, and for a change they were spot on.  The great thing about living on the road is weather doesn't really interfere with many plans, especially when they are written in Jello.  When bad weather happens we just take a day off.  We are under no pressure to "go, go, go" because we have a deadline to be somewhere, and can't afford to take a day off, or we'll spoil the "vacation".  There is always tomorrow, or in this case, Tuesday.


We knew the rain would lift eventually so we decided to drive into Browning to do some shopping......there area two smalls stores in town which carry the basics, but at very high prices.  There are no liquor stores in East Glacier as this is the Blackfeet Nation Reservation, and they have the exclusive on hard liquor sales.....seems kind of ironic, doesn't it?  Local restaurants and stores can only sell beer and wine.   In Browning there are two large grocery stores with decent prices, and ONE liquor store called ICK'S, and it is kind of "icky"......... so around 11 am we drove back to Browning.  I've been out of Scotch since we crossed the border back into the USA.  

This is the first liquor store we have come across....of course we haven't traveled that far since we left Cardston.....so we made that our first stop.  It is not a formal liquor where you go in and choose what you want, take it to the cashier and pay for it....you enter a little scuzzy room, knock on a sliding glass window for service, and an older woman comes to ask what you want......I ask her what her Scotch selection is like, and she replies....."well, as you can imagine, there aren't a lot of Scotch drinkers in this neighborhood" as she points to the 3 options available.....I chose Johnny Walker Red Label, as that was the only brand I recognize, and fork over $32 for a small bottle......in cash.....no credit cards taken there....and I'm not sure I would have wanted to hand my card over.  Of course, when ever someone enters the front of the liquor store the local natives, looking for a handout, swarm to the entrance waiting for your exit to ask you for any change you may have had from the transaction......they are a motley crew.  Every time we have bought something in Browning we get panhandled after we pay.  This is not the case in East Glacier.

From there we drove over to the supermarket to pick up some fresh items....broccoli, mushrooms, etc.  Once again, as I was putting the shopping cart in the cart return area after unloading I was panhandled again.  Just so I'm clear here.....I don't hand over any change, or folding money as they will head for the liquor store immediately.  I don't want to give the impression that all members of the Blackfeet Nation are like this.....we see them working in all the local businesses, so many live responsible lives.....there are just so many who apparently don't.....it's a little disheartening.

We had thought about visiting the Plains Indian Museum in Browning after shopping, but as is often the case with Museums, they are closed on Sundays and Mondays, so we headed back to East Glacier.

Around 4 we decided to walk over to the Glacier Park Lodge which was built back around 1912 I think.  It is one of those classic National Park Lodges, and it was doing a land office business....the place was packed.


Tried to take this interior shot, but the light from the skylights made it difficult to get a good shot, nevertheless, I think this one gives you an idea of the interior grandeur.


 The view from the back deck looking toward the park


Directly across the street from the Lodge is the AMTRAK station where passengers disembark twice daily to visit Glacier National Park.  This station is as old as the Lodge, and is in remarkable condition.


While we were inside the Lodge it began to rain again, but thankfully the hard rain was short lived, however, it continued to sprinkle as we walked back toward town, so we deviated from our path to the train station to seek momentary shelter from the intermittent rain.  Eventually even the sprinkling abated and we continued our walk back into town stopping first at the trading post, which we discovered had a very nice selection of wine and beer, as well as the basics I alluded to previously.  

As we exited the trading post TLE suggested we head for Serrano's Mexican Restaurant to make it in time for the first seating at 5 pm, so we scooted right around the corner arriving just 2 minutes before they opened and got a table.  The food was actually some of the best Mexican food we have had in months, and we can now see why this placed is packed until closing every night they are open.

I had the 3 Chile Relleno plate with black beans and rice, chased with a 22 oz Rogue Brewery Nut Brown Ale....these are some of the best Chile Relleno's I have every had.  TLE had a Cadillac Margarita and an a la carte burrito, which she loved.

Photos of Serrano's Mexican Restaurant, East Glacier Park
This photo of Serrano's Mexican Restaurant is courtesy of TripAdvisor


We had a lovely meal and then continued our walk "home" stuffed to the gills, with big smiles on our faces.  I think we'll have to return there at least one more time before we leave.

TLE read while I watched a couple of American Pickers episodes, and then Longmire.  We were in bed by 11.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 29, 2013

2 Medicine, Aster and Twin

We're kind of getting used to a lot of blue sky here in northern Montana.....until Sunday morning when we awoke to a moderate cloud cover.  We had planned to head into the Two Medicine section of Glacier National Park and were not about to let clouds stifle our plans....actually we prefer a little cloud cover when we bike, or hike.  For a little perspective I've added this interactive map of the area.  You might have to zoom out a little to see where East Glacier is in relation to St. Mary.


To give a little perspective....point A is St. Mary and point B is East Glacier

By the time we left for our hike around 9:30 the cloud cover was lifting and we could see some blue sky overhead.  Our first glimpse of Lower Two Medicine Lake, and the valley leading into the park.



The park entrance is only 8 miles or so from where we are staying, and the road in is pretty good, but a little rough in places.  No doubt in another season, or so they will be working on this road just as they are this year on the "Going to the Sun Highway".  As usual we were able to use our Golden Age Passport card to enter the park gratis. 



We found a parking spot in the campground trailhead area, parked, and got ready to start our hike.  Our original intent was to just hike 3.4 miles to Twin Falls and back for a 6.8 mile total, but as you know our plans are written in Jello.  

 In the parking lot

 The trailhead


We had glimpses of Middle 2 Medicine Lake (there are three 2 Medicine lakes....Lower, Middle and Upper) at the beginning of our hike, but eventually we were into the trees and a kind of tree tunnel.


In about 90 minutes we reached Twin Falls.....yup, there are actually two working water falls...just as advertised.  Below TLE checks the map as we discuss the possibility of circumnavigating the lake instead of just doing an "out and back" covering the same ground twice.  It appears on the map to be just maybe a mile, or farther to complete the hike around the lake and see another water fall along the way, so we stir up the Jello, change our plan and continue on around the lake.

 This is the map they gave us at the park entrance and it was very accurate.

 Part of the time we hiked in what I call a "tree tunnel"....not too many views, but pleasant nevertheless.


As we gained altitude we began to come out of the trees and were greeted with some amazing views.



At the half way point

As we neared the half way point of our hike around the lake the views really opened up for a while.  By this time it was nearing 1 pm and the cloud cover began to come back in, and with it cooler temperatures.  For much of the hike we were seemingly the only ones on the trail, and rarely came into contact with other hikers, which is more my kind of hike.  We finally came to a sign indicating Aster Falls was .1 mile off the trail, and that we only had 1.2 miles left to the trailhead.  It was an easy decision to deviate .1 miles out of our way, and we are both glad we did.

Aster Falls

The Lovely Elaine

We arrived at the trailhead on the south side of the lake knowing we had another mile of walking on the pavement back to the northern side of the lake and our car.  In total we believe we hiked around 9 miles give, or take a tenth, and we felt great.  At one point I think we had gained almost 1,000 feet in elevation from our starting point, but spread over 5 miles it was not too bad.  This is probably one of the nicest hikes we have taken since we were in Kentucky hiking with the Entrikens at Carter Caves back in early April.

As we drove back into East Glacier Village we spied a restaurant with al fresco dining called the Whistle Stop.....Yelp gives them a 3.5 star rating while Trip Advisor gives a 4, and Urban Spoon a 4.5......the average of 4 is just about right.  They have a nice selection of Montana Micro Brews, and their BLT (for me) is perfect, while TLE had the Polish Dog, which she also loved.  I had the Pigs Ass Porter, and TLE had another Moose Drool Amber Ale.


We arrived "home" around 3 pm with smiles on our faces.....another day lived well.  Sometimes we feel a little guilty about all the good days we seem to have.......and to be sure, most of them are very good......but then we remember all the years of work, raising a family, weekends spent on the soccer pitch, and are so grateful we now have this time to ourselves, and are able to pursue our years long dream of exploring America.  We have only just barely scratched the surface, which really excites us as there are yet so many untold adventures and experiences awaiting us and our Newell coach.  No doubt there will be some disappointing days in our future, but we are just going to continue living in the present.....living each day the best we can.

Around 9 pm I noticed this front coming in from the north, and had to take a picture....wonder what this will mean for Monday?  Stay tuned and find out!


Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

East of Glacier.....

Since we arrived in Cochrane, AB June 22nd we have traveled only about 650 miles, but we have seen so much.  The memories of the new places, scenery and people will be with us forever.  It seems much longer than 5 weeks since we arrived at Cochrane......just the 2 nights and 3 days we spent in St. Mary seemed like a week......we did soooo much.

When we got up Saturday we had one main thought......let's get moved over to East Glacier and just take the day off.....do nothing, see nothing......just relax, read, nap.  It was time for a day off.

When we were in East Glacier two days before for dinner we scouted out Y Lazy R RV Park....just a block off US-2.  It looked like it would work for us....there was one pull through site (#5) at the time, and this was Thursday.....TLE thought we should maybe call and reserve a spot since we would be arriving on a Saturday, but I have to say I have really enjoyed not making reservations again.  We made no reservations in St. Mary, or Browning, so why should East Glacier be any different?

Saturday broke clear and cool.  We departed Sleeping Wolf RV Park around 9:20 am, and drove the 12 miles westward on US-2 to East Glacier where we parked the coach on the main drag (still US-2) and drove the 'Bird into the Y Lazy R RV Park to be sure there was still a spot that would fit us.  I forgot to mention, we did not put the car in the trailer for this short 12 mile trip...what is the point, right?


Site # 5

When we entered the park the same spot (#5) that was open Thursday, was still available, so we rushed back to the coach, and I drove it into the park and snagged the spot on a first come first served basis.....it was only 9:45 am by that time.  I quickly hooked up the electrical (30 amp + a 15 amp = 45 amps!), the water and the sewer, and then walked money for two days over to the office.  The odds are we will stay here a week, but we didn't want to commit to anymore than 2 days to start with.  If you stay a week you only pay for 6 days, or $150......great rate!  



 This is the view just about 30 feet in front of our coach (TLE's panos)

The views here are great, and it is so, so quiet....I can definitely see us being here a week.  I spent the day reading a Louis L'Amour western, as well as taking a nap, or two.  Around 6 pmTLE took some Salmon out of the freezer, and I BBQ'd it to go along with some delicious stir fry she prepared.  Another home run dinner!



The weather the next week will see temps in the 60's and one day in the 50's......I love Montana!!!  Sunday we will drive into the park to 2 Medicine Lake and do some site seeing and hiking.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Great Falls Redux

We picked Sleeping Wolf RV Park as it is at the junction of US-2 and US-89......we needed to drive over to Great Falls in the 'Bird to take care of some personal business, but didn't want to have to back track by heading further down US-89 in the coach to Choteau, our original choice.  From Browning we plan to head west of US-2 up to Whitefish and Flathead Lake, so this is the perfect place to leave the coach while we make our drive.

We carry a firearm with us in our coach for personal protection while inside our coach.  Since it is difficult to take firearms, if not impossible in some cases, into Canada we opted to leave ours in the care of a local gun shop in Great Falls while we were in Alberta.  Since we have now re-entered the USA it was time to retrieve the firearm, hence our drive into Great Falls Friday.


Once you get over the mountains between St. Mary and Browning this is what US-89 looks like for miles and miles......straight as an arrow!  The distance into Great Falls from Browning is 126 miles each way.  Since we were talking about a minimum of 4 hours driving we decided to just make a day of it and hit Walmart after the gun shop, then find a place to have lunch.  We got away from Sleeping Wolf around 10:30 am and with me in the co-pilot seat and TLE as the pilot we cruised listening to XM Radio's Classic Vinyl station (26).....me singing along, and TLE wincing from time to time.  We had a big chuckle when Elton John's classic Bennie and the Jets came on......there is one line that I have always, apparently, gotten wrong....it goes: "She's got electric boots a mohair suit.....you know I read it in a magazine...."  I have always sung the words as "She's got electric boots a mohasoon....you know I read in a magazine"......TLE, for the first time in our 42 years of marriage realized what I was singing and started laughing.....we both laughed so hard our cheeks hurt.

There is not much else to say about the drive......it was mostly long straight views for miles on end.....a lot of mostly flat, rolling farm and grazing land.  We arrived in Great Falls around 12:30, headed directly to the  gun shop, retrieved our firearm, then headed to the local Walmart.  I had dropped my clip on sun glasses while in the visitors center in Lake Louise and before I retrieved them they had been stepped on by another visitor breaking one of the small tabs off that hold the clip ons to the glasses, and Walmart is the only place I can find the ones I like.  We also needed a few other things.

Then it was time to find a local brew pub for lunch, and there happened to be one not too far from Walmart called Front Public House on 3rd Street NW.  We took two seats at the bar, and ordered up two pints of their Coffee Stout (6.0 ABV).....as my friend David Rothwell says...."Combining nature's two most perfect foods -- beer and coffee... pure genius!".....and, yes, it is!



To go along with the great brews we split some sort of Salmon sandwich with home made chips......very, very tasty and just the right amount of food.  They don't yet have their website up and running, otherwise I would link that instead of Yelp......however, Yelp does give Front 4 stars.....I gave it a 5.

By that time it was 2:30 pm so we began our 2 hour trek back to Browning and our "home".  The drive was uneventful, and we arrived "home" by 4:30 as expected.  Surprisingly the cell service over the 126 miles was pretty consistent.  

We had a couple of filet mignon steaks left over from Alberta so I BBQ'd them while TLE cooked up some great fried potatoes.   It was a nice Friday with a delicious ending.  Saturday we are off 12 miles over to East Glacier Park......the original entrance to Glacier National Park before the "Going to the Sun Highway" was built.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Many Glacier, etcetera

Is it Thursday already?  I remember back in my workaday life when I would wake up on Thursdays thinking it should be Saturday already.....now time seems to fly by.  The days of the week have become just a reference points for me, but no longer have the same meaning, because, as you know, every day feels like Saturday to me now.

Thursday was the beginning of our third day in St. Mary on the east side of Glacier National Park.  We had been all the way up to Logan Summit twice, and even done a hike.  Our blog friends, Howard and Linda (RV Dreams Journal) had suggested we do a short hike off the Many Glacier road to Red Rock Falls before we left the area, so that was our plan first thing Thursday morning, and we actually got in the car round 9 am to drive the 8 miles back up to Babb, and then 12 mile into Many Glacier.  Of course, another beautiful, stunning drive.

We arrived at the trailhead around 9:30 and began the 1.3 mile hike up to the falls within 10 minutes.  Somehow I forgot to bring my phone/camera so TLE did all the photography honors for this adventure.  

The trail has a little uphill right at the beginning, but levels off to the point you don't really notice the slight grade.  We crossed a stream a few times.....not doubt the overflow from Red Rock Lake.  We use Leki hiking poles which we love for uphill and downhill stretches......they allow you to use your upper body to take some strain off your legs on the uphill, and off your knees on the downhill.  I find when I hike for distances, whether, or not I am wearing a pack, that my hands start to swell a little.  Using poles, even while on the flat, keeps my hands somewhat elevated and no swelling!

We reached the falls in about 30 minutes....we were hoping to see some Moose, but unless we just stumbled upon them feeding at the right time it would mean we would need to find a place to sit for about an hour, or more, and we didn't have that much time as we needed to checkout of Johnson's before Noon.  We spent about 20 minutes taking pictures, and a little more time taking pictures for some hikers of their family with the falls in the background, then started our hike back.


TLE's pano of Red Rock Lake....great reflection in the mirror like water, huh?

We arrived back at Johnson's just as Howard and Linda were leaving, so we got to say "until next time's" again.  They are headed east toward North Dakota, and we southwest.  Within 30 minutes we were ready to roll...we decided to drive back into town to the store where we had originally unloaded the 'Bird to put it back in, and allow TLE to pick up some milk and 1/2 and 1/2.....a bonus was she found some more Snappy Tom's Tomato Cocktail juice for me.....yay!



  

Red Rock Falls



Highway 89 out of St. Mary starts with a climb and does not let up until you top out at 6,100' after 10 miles, but our total driving distance to Browning, MT was only 32 miles for the day....another grueling driving day, huh?  The coach performed well, and the temps stayed well under 200 degrees.  I had found a small park in RVParkReviews.com called Sleeping Wolf RV Park just on the outskirts of Browning, which is in the middle of the Blackfeet Indian Nation land.  It is not a glamorous type park, and the $25/night price reflects that......water and 50 amp electric only, and only 10 long pull through sites.......when we arrived we were the only ones in the "park", which is really more like high desert scrub.  Browning is a good place for us to leave the coach Friday while we drive into Great Falls, MT and back to take care of some personal business.

It was around 1 pm, so I took care of a few insurance e-mails, then took a nap (I woke up at 5:30 Thursday), then around 6 we drove into Browning to see if we could find a place to eat dinner, but the "picking" were pretty slim, so we decided to drive over to East Glacier Park about 12 miles distant to eat at a Mexican restaurant called Serranos which Yelp gives 4 stars.....unfortunately when we arrived around 6:30 there was a 45+ minute wait for a table.....they are, obviously, very popular!  So, instead we walked down the street about a block to East Glacier Village Cafe, and were seated in about 5 minutes.  We discovered they had a marvelous selection of micro brews for $3.75 per bottle.....nothing on tap, but they had one of my recent favorites, Summer Shandy by Leinenkugel of Chippewa Falls, WI fame.  Yelp gives them 4 stars and I would agree......the food and service were excellent!


The Shandy is on the left...TLE had Moose Drool Amber Ale, which I will try next time......very, very good.

East Glacier Park is where we are headed next to spend a few days site seeing, and doing some more hiking.  I know, another long driving day at 12 miles......lol!

We arrived back "home" around 8:30 and settled in to watch the 2 hour finale of "Hell's Kitchen"......in case you are a fan, and haven't seen who won, I will just whisper it quietly.....stop reading if you don't want to know........."Janelle".

We found out today that our friends, Chris and Cherie (Technomadia), should have their rebuilt Detroit Diesel 8V71 back in their '61 GM bus conversion in a few days, and be back on the road....they have been in Billings for over 6 weeks now I believe.....so we are very, very happy for them.  We may yet cross paths again before you know it! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Highline......and a nice visit from Miss Serendipity

Wild Goose Island in Lake St. Mary

We had planned to get a relatively early start Wednesday to drive back up to Logan Pass and hike part of the Highline Trail.  The entire length of this beautiful trail is about 12 miles end to end, but our modest goal for the day was to go as far as 1 hour would take us and then turn around making it an out and back hike.  Relatively early turned into leaving the coach around 9:30 to make the drive up.......it you get to the Logan Pass parking area by 10 you can usually get a parking spot, but we arrived at 10:15 and were shut out.  We continued on down the west side of the pass as we had the day before and snagged a spot in a small parking lot at a scenic overlook about 1/2 a mile from the trailhead.



The drive up to the trailhead was pleasant, but there were 3 small construction zones we drove through along the way.  There is a lot of road construction going on in the park this year.



We parked the car and started walking back up to the pass where the Highline Trailhead was.....there is no shoulder to walk on so you have to walk in the road with the cars part of the time......not fun as there is a lot of traffic up there, even on a Wednesday.




We were only an 1/8th of a mile into our hike when we came upon several mountain goats feeding at the side of the trail......we've been disappointed in the lack of wild life in the past 10 days, but Wednesday was different.


In this picture you can see the hand cable attached to the rock if you feel the need to hold on.

Shortly after we saw the goats we hit this 3/4 mile section of trail that is cut out of the side of the mountain.....to TLE's right the drop is about 800 feet to the highway below.  There are hand cables attached the rock wall along this entire section, but the trail is pretty wide so you don't feel in danger......just keep your eyes on the trail.....stop to look around.



Here you can see the highway below and the trail higher up to the left.....the views were just stunning, but you had to keep your eyes on the trail most of the time as one bad stumble and you fall 1,000'.



Eventually we came upon another family of mountain goats using the human trail.



TLE got  this picture of the momma goat trying to get by me......it looks like she is charging me, but she was really just trying to get by with her baby......I was trying to give her room, but this is a narrow trail.



The baby following close behind the momma.  These goats were amazingly unafraid of humans.....it's obvious they see a lot of them in this area.

In all we hiked around 3.4 miles out the trail in an hour.  At the one hour mark we found a small rock ledge to sit on where there was just enough room for other hikers to pass by.  This trail is not for the faint of heart.  There are very few places where a fall from the trail will not mean certain death.  

It was good to do some hiking again, and we loved the Highline Trail....I think it would be more enjoyable at a less busy time of the year as you are constantly having to stand aside to let hikers going the opposite direction pass by, or visa versa.  This is a very, very popular trail that takes you to Granite Park Chalet where, if you have made reservations in advance, you can stay overnight and then complete the rest of the trail the next day.  People typically leave their cars at the Logan Pass Visitors Center and take the shuttle bus to the "Loop" parking lot where they pick up the Highline trail and then hike to the Chalet to overnight, then hike back to the Logan Pass parking lot the next day and pick up their car.

Highline Trail

We arrived back at the St. Mary Visitors Center parking lot around 2 pm after checking out a couple of other dry camping sites north and south of town we opted for Johnson's of St. Mary Campground just north of town a 1/4 mile up on the side of the hill with views of Lower Lake St. Mary.

Before we had left for our day of hiking I was reading a blog I have followed for 6, or 7 years now called RV Dreams Journal and saw that Howard and Linda were also at Glacier National Park doing some site seeing and hiking.  We have come close to crossing paths with them for 18 months now, and here we were in the same exact location.  I sent them a message just before we left to drive up to Logan Pass, but I'm sure they were already out on their daily hike.  After we set up at Johnson's I was sitting at my computer around 5 pm and looked out my window at the 5th wheel parked two sites down and realized it was THEIR 5th wheel....a Cambridge.  Well, they had just returned from their hike so I walked over and introduced myself.....they were just getting ready to take their showers, so I said just come on over when you are ready.  They came over around 7 and we sat and chatted for about 2 hours.  Howard and Linda quit the "workaday" life at age 42, and are now in their 8th year of fulltiming.  We have benefited immensely from their journal, and their experiences in making our transition to fulltimers.  It was so nice to hook up with them after all this time.  They will be leaving St. Mary Thursday heading east, and we will be heading south.....until we meet again Howard and Linda!

Howard and Linda

Here is a picture of our view this morning......Lower Lake St. Mary in the background as the sun is rising.


Thanks for stopping by!