Riding4Research Days 32-34 Rest days, Glacier National Park, MT

The only other time I visited Glacier National Park Montana was in 1993.
I remember remarking to myself that it was the most stunning place I had
ever seen.  While I still have not visited Yosemite or Zion a quarter
century later, I still hold that same view as in 1993.  The views here are just amazing.  Me and my wonderful girlfriend Jill Witofsky have had the opportunity to see waterfalls, wildfires, and wildlife.  It’s as if they are scenes out of an Albert Bierstadt painting…

There is an amazing array of outdoor activities to do in this northwest Montana area and our time has gone fast.  Today (Sunday) we hiked up beautiful Huckleberry Mountain, very aptly named and free of other tourists.  We also picked some perfectly ripe huckleberries on Whitefish Mountain and made huckleberry dumplings…amazing with vanilla ice cream.

My friend Jim Locascio kindly gave me a gift certificate for Cabela’s and I visited the store in Kalispell.  The fly box is now stocked.  I made a few casts in lovely Hidden Lake off of Logan Pass in Glacier Park, no luck!  I blame the wind.  My revised route has me pedaling by 4 of the 20 best wild trout rivers in the world (Bitterroot, Big Hole, Beaverhead, Madison); it would be crazy for me to not bring my flyfishing supplies with me.  So much for my promise to myself to cut weight!

Jill and I had the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife in our visits to the park…
marmots, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.  One billy goat was radio collared and seemed very much accustomed to the throngs of tourists hiking to Hidden Lake…so  much so that it seemed with that radio collar and being within feet of the trail that it is semi-domesticated!

I spent a lot of time this weekend trying to cut out gear for the second half of my trip. Even seemingly minor changes were made; for example, I replaced a favorite 6 ounce coffee mug with a one ounce cheapie.  I guess it all adds up…Jill is taking about 15 pounds of gear back with her.  This includes warm weather gear that I will regret not having if it snows at 6000 feet in Yellowstone National Park.

Starting a thousand biking miles ago (it feels like a lifetime…) I had heard about
the epic ride along the park’s Going to the Sun Road.  With perfect conditions…cool temps, light traffic, no paniers, new rear cassette on the bike…I had Jill drop me at St. Mary’s Lake and I pedaled back up to the top of the pass on Saturday eve.  The lack of weight on the bike gave me the sensation as if I was floating up the hill.  The views were just amazing.  The mountains, sunlight peeking through the clouds, forest fire haze, it was as if I was biking right into a scene that Bierstadt had painted himself.  Another visitor to the park snapped our photo at the top of road.

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