Day 8: Back to Billings

After studying the map and discussing options, we are headed back to Billings. Up until now, while we had no defined plans, we at least had a goal. Glacier was that goal. Now the world is our oyster. Or at least the West is for another week.

So we headed off… the first part of the day was on two-lane road. No interstate until this afternoon. Some of the best drives are on these two-lane roads.

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The Swan Lake to Seeley Lake area reminds me of the movie “On Golden Pond”. Looks like the kind of place you’d like to spend every summer.

It’s amazing what people will put outside their business to attract customers. Could this be the bull that disappeared from Jake’s in Orange Beach, Alabama during a recent hurricane? Hmmm…

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This entire area we are driving through is The Bob Marshall Wilderness Country, the second largest wilderness in the lower 48 states. This area, which is made up of several areas and ends with Glacier National Park, creates a continuous area of unspoiled mountains and valleys that are home to grizzly bears, mountain goats, wolverines, elk, moose, deer, and wolves. Someone once asked Bob Marshall how much wilderness America really needs. He responded, “How many Brahms symphonies do we need?” Pretty cool…

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We were passing through Helena and wanted to stop and take a picture of the state capital.

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It’s kind of a “thing” for me to see all the state capitals. Those of you who think I missed Denver and Cheyenne, have no fear. I saw those on previous adventures. 😉

While in Helena this beautiful church caught our eye and we stopped to take a photo.

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Cathedral of Saint Helena

Construction of this cathedral began in 1908. The stained glass windows were made in Munich, Bavaria. I think we should take a minute and think about their journey… they must have been packed very carefully to survive the trip. (I have a hard time getting bread home from the store not squished.)

On the road again… thought I would share these pics with you as this is how we spent most of the day.

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Paul driving (He has let me drive once. Granted it was around a full parking lot looking for a parking space while he stood in line for the restroom but I did drive. 😜)

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Deborah updating the blog

And note that we are both wearing LSU colors today…

We are snug in our hotel room with pizza enjoying the LSU football game on ESPN. And much drier than those in Tiger Stadium. We are looking forward to another wonderful day tomorrow. Geaux Tigers!

Day 7: Glacier & Waterton Lakes National Park

BEST DAY YET! (and longest)

We left our hotel in Kalispell and headed toward West Glacier.

After stopping in at the Alberta Welcome Center located there, we drove into the park.
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I’m going to go ahead and warn you about the number of photos included in this post, but it was just such a “photo-worthy” day!

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Avalanche Creek

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Headed into the West Tunnel

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Love a man in a uniform! Yes, even a park ranger. 😉

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For those of you who have asked (and you know who you are) I have not thrown Paul off a cliff yet. This is my photographic evidence.
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Can you see the Triple Arches? It’s amazing when you think about the engineering work involved in putting this road through Glacier National Park in the 1920-30s.
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Lunchtime view. 😊
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This is how we survive on the road… snack box. Enough said.

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From inside the East Tunnel

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Jackson Glacier

We exited Glacier at St. Mary and headed north, toward Canada! Here’s a note for future travel… when passing through Native American land beware of cattle on the road. Please mooooooove out of the road!

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Chief Mountain-near the Canadian border

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A few words about crossing the border into Canada… it was really no big deal. A few questions but more “have a nice day, eh” than when we returned. More on that later. Here are a few pics from the Port of Chief Mountain.

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Oh Canada!… (that’s all I know). But I DO know the names of all the Canadian provinces and territories. ☺ Do you?

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Waterton Lakes National Park

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Prince of Wales Hotel

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We got gas (or would that be petrol?) at Pat’s

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Waterton is precious! I would love to take one of these bike contraptions to Cade’s Cove in the Smoky’s.

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Prince of Wales hotel from Waterton

Just outside of Waterton (still in the park) we rode down Red Rock Parkway and guess what we finally saw! Two black bears! (I know, one is black and the other is brown but they are both technically “Black” bears)

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Time was moving along and we had to beat it back to the border crossing before it closed at 6pm!!

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The U.S. Customs official did a great job, we were proud. Nice guy but did a thorough job. Checked our passports, ran our license tag, even double checked what Paul did for a living. (Big Brother knows everything! Lol)

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It was getting late but we couldn’t pass up the chance to check out Many Glacier Hotel. And I’m so glad we did. Hiker’s paradise. THIS is where I want to stay next time on a hiking trip!!

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And check out the back porch!!

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We headed back to base camp (Kalispell) but got caught for a moment in cow country.

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It was very late by the time we got to our room but we wouldn’t have missed a thing! Best day yet!! Looking forward to more adventures. (And getting to the next hotel by game time! Geaux Tigers!!)