Friday, October 21, 2011

Montana, Part 2.

Day 4

It was so refreshing to be able to take a shower and sleep in a soft, cushy bed. Brian and I slept in until 7:30 or so, enjoyed some coffee, and waited for my friend's husband to get home from his work shift. Around ten, when they told us that they wouldn't be able to go to Glacier with us, Brian and I embarked on the 50-60 minute drive to the national park. The weather was perfect and the park website stated that the road extending through the entire park was completely open and unblocked.

Below is the map of the park, with red arrows drawn at the entrances.

I thought that Glacier could only really be enjoyed by hiking through it, but it turns out I was wrong. A road approximately 50 miles long goes through the park, and by driving through it you can see AMAZING things. So my poor feet were able to relax. In fact, the days that we were at our friends' house, I wore socks and flip-flops everywhere we went. I looked like a hillbilly, but my feet felt good.

Glacier Park was more amazing than I could have imagined! Of course, pictures can't possibly do it justice, but we took way too many anyway. I'll probably post way too many too, but you can scroll through quickly.

A huge section of the road through the park is halfway up a mountain, carved into the side with an enormous drop-off immediately over the safety wall (which is low, for the view). Even though I was sitting in the passenger seat on the right side of the road (hugging the wall of the mountain), I was shaking in my boots! Of course, there was no way we'd fall off the mountain, but humongous valleys hundreds of feet down have a way of making me feel that anything was possible!

About ten miles into the park, Brian mentioned that... uh... we were pretty low on gas. "No problem," I reassured him. "This road is only fifteen miles long."

"Fifteen?" he asked. "I don't think that's right. I think it's fifty."

Fifty miles it was. And suddenly, who was worried? Yup, the Maeg. Oh no! We're going to run out of gas and block this narrow road and have to walk thirty miles to where the next gas station is... or hitch hike with someone who's not going to want to rush us to the gas station, they're going to want to stop and sightsee along the way! And the whole day will be ruined and ohhhhhh noooo!

Helpfully, Brian called out the play-by-play: "Uh-oh, we're down to an eighth of a tank! Uh-oh, we're definitely on E! Haha!" I was... quite uptight. Eventually he told me to relax... nothing that bad could possibly happen and even if we did run out of gas, it would be an adventure!

And it was an adventure, because for almost the entire way down the mountain, we drove in neutral, or Brian turned the car completely off as we coasted down the road!

Now tell me, why, why, why, do I ruin perfectly nice moments by worrying about things that might not (and most often DON'T) happen?

So, we didn't run out of gas. It turns out that by driving UP the mountain on an incline, the level of gas was tilting up and down, and the gas gauge wasn't giving us an accurate reading. We had much more than an eighth of a tank. When we reached the end of the park, exited through the gates, and rolled into the gas station parking lot, we still had plenty of gas.

So we agreed to drive through a second time. Feeling much more relaxed, I volunteered to drive so that Brian could enjoy the view of the dropoff just beside our lane. Honestly, I felt more in control driving... so that was fine. I sound like a big pill, huh? I tell you what... this park was breathtaking, but I am a big scaredy cat. It's true. I admit it.

We had a wonderful time together. Brian and I were in awe of the mountain views. We took far too many pictures, but none of them captured the amazingness of this place. If you're ever near Browning, Montana, I highly recommend it.

Lake St. Mary... incredibly blue.

Below you can see orange cones marking part of the road, and the smaller part of the ravine immediately off the shoulder.

Below you can see the road carved into the side of the mountain. This picture does not accurately portray the magnitude of this mountain- it was HUGE. Not to mention, the ravine drops off even further beyond what you can see.

I wanted to pull off to the side of the road, so I could take off my socks and flip-flops, and wade in the water. Let me tell you, this stuff was basically freshly-melted snow... COLD! (Yes, even in September, at the end of the summer. You can still see snow on these mountains.)

Further down the road, the stream deepened to a creek that was AMAZINGLY clear and blue, flowing over brilliant red rocks. Deep in the water we could see large fish swimming. Brian took about two dozen photos of this water!

Below are three shots of a guy jumping off a huge rock into this water. I don't know HOW in the world he didn't freeze to death, but it did look really refreshing!

In mid-air! See the grandpa with his hands to his head in amazement/shock/horror? Ha ha!

Brian walking by Lake McDonald.

There's not much to be said to explain most of these. Gorgeous views, incredible mountains, and the best company I could have asked for! 

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh gorgeous!!!! And I'm glad you didn't run out of gas :-)