Yesterday I wrote my blog post first thing. This is my usual habit. Donna went for a walk while I wrote. It was overcast and windy, the temperature was around 50 degrees.
Our plan was to take the scooter up highway 89 to Babb. There’s another entrance to Glacier National Park at Babb. We were told that we were more likely to see wildlife there than on the Going – to – the – Sun – Road.
Donna packed a picnic lunch for us. While she was doing that, it began to rain. After her walk, she talked to one of the attendants at the campground and was told it was likely to rain in the afternoon. It seemed like this morning we only had passing showers with intermittent raindrops.
We decided to stay the course and go to Babb. As we rode up the highway, it started to rain a little harder. The raindrops were stinging my hands as we rode along at 60mph.
The entrance to the park is unmarked at Babb. The village of Babb isn’t much. A small store, cafe and gas station. I wasn’t sure where we were supposed to turn off of the highway. We saw a tour bus enter the highway from a road on the left. We made the turn onto that road.
Donna was certain we were on the right road. Me, well, not so much. The only sign I saw said “Road Ends in 12 Miles.” The road was rough and uneven. It had ruts in places that made riding the scooter difficult. The uneven surface and ruts pulled at the front end. I had to be alert and make corrections to our course.
About four miles in, there was a sign on the side of the road that said we were entering Glacier National Park. It still seemed a little weird. The road quality was still poor and I didn’t see any viewpoints or other park signs. After two more miles, we came to the park toll gate.
Scooter with picnic bag at Lower Lake St Mary
From here the road quality improved and it looked like a national park. There were trailhead signs, turnouts for viewing and a picnic area. It stopped raining as we rode to the end of the road. At the end, there was a large parking lot with a gift shop and restaurant.
We turned back and rode to a picnic area we saw on the way in. Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we sat down for lunch, it started to rain. It didn’t rain too hard though, so we sat at a table under a tree and enjoyed our egg salad wraps.
On the way back, we stopped at a few scenic areas and pulled in to the Many Glacier Hotel. It’s on the east side of Swiftcurrent Lake. It looks very stately. We were wet and cold at this point, otherwise we might have stopped in to take a look around.
(photo taken from internet)
The only encounter with wildlife in the park happened on the way out. A wasp flew inside my helmet. I made a panic stop on the side of the road and flicked it away from the mouth guard of my helmet. A few minutes later, as we were riding along, I realized I hadn’t ejected the wasp when he crawled across my eyeglasses. I opened my face shield and he flew away. I was relieved to say the least.
Donna, on the other hand had her encounter with wildlife while on her morning walk. I’ll let her tell the tale.
Yesterday morning , I decided to go for a hike. I told Mike I would probably be back in about 45 minutes.
I headed down through the campground toward the lake. I came to a sign that said “Lake Trail” and followed it a short distance to a small beach dotted with kayaks. I recalled reading that the campground rented kayaks and I wanted to run up to the office and get a paddle because the lake was like glass. I could just picture myself out there paddling through the morning mist.
We already had plans though to scooter up to Babb and then to Glacier National Park through the Many Glacier entrance. It might be nicer to go kayaking in the afternoon anyway when it warmed up. So I continued on my walk.
I hiked the long way around the park to the road that leads to the highway. I decided to walk to Route 89 and back, which is about one mile in each direction. The road crosses the St. Mary River – a shallow, rocky creek. I wondered if there might be a path along the river, so I crossed to the other side of the road for a look. No path. But it was a pretty river.
As I turned around, I saw a black bear come out of the woods about 50 feet in front of me. I stood still. He never even glanced in my direction. I watched him cross the road that I had just crossed and head into the bushes. I bet he had watched me walk down the road. Figuring I was safe, I continued on.
Just then, a pickup truck was coming down the road behind me and I pointed in the direction of the bear. The truck slowed and then stopped as the driver and passenger looked in the direction in which I had pointed. After a few minutes, they continued on and slowed again as they approached me.
“Did you see the bear?” I asked. They did.
Laughing, the driver asked, “Do you want a ride?”
“Nah,” I said. “I’ll be fine.”
Prior to crossing to the river, I did notice what I thought was fairly fresh bear scat on the side of the road. And I had heard a rustling in the trees across the road, but just figured it was some birds. As Mike would say, “Doh!”
Anyway, I walked to the highway and back with no further incident, though you can be sure I was keeping eyes and ears directed on the woods on either side of the road. This IS bear country after all.
When I told the desk clerk at the KOA Campground that I saw a bear, she said, “Yeah, you should carry bear spray if you’re going to go for a walk.” Hello? Now you tell me!
“So how does that work?” I asked. “Is it like mace?”
“Yes,” she replied. “But you have to spray it in the bear’s face. You can’t be running and spray it behind you.”
Hopefully, I’ll never need to do that.
After we returned to the coach Donna took a hot shower to warm up. It stopped raining during the ride back and began to clear up. Within half an hour of our return, the skies were clear and sunny!
I’ve needed to wash the coach for a while. I haven’t cleaned the exterior, except for removing bugs from the front cap and windshield, since we were in Minnesota. I got the ladder and cleaning supplies and hooked up a hose. Many campgrounds forbid washing RVs. The rules and regulations for this KOA made no mention of it. I took that mean it was okay and spent the afternoon washing the coach and trailer.
I put everything away about two and half hours later. At 5pm, Donna and I rented two kayaks. We paddled across lower St. Mary Lake near the river feeding it from the upper lake. It was windy. The wind made it hard to hold a steady course. After half an hour, we’d had all the fun we could stand and paddled back in.
Donna fixed an outstanding meal for dinner. We had Beef Ragu over spaghetti squash with Stuffed Zucchini. It was very tasty. She picked up the zucchini for free from a basket in a liquor store. The store clerk had a garden that supplied more than she could use.
Today we’ll pack up and head west. Our route will take us back down highway 89. We’ll cut over to Highway 2, then make our way to Route 200. This route will avoid most of the high passes into Idaho. I have no idea where we’ll stop for the night. I hope we can find a nice boondocking spot in the forest.
Beef Ragu with Stuffed Zucchini