Thursday, August 29, 2013

A triad of stories from Glacier Park

1) Last night Jim went outside the rig to look at the stars.  He heard a snuffling noise.  He also heard our tent-camping neighbor tell his wife that there was a bear near their tent.  The neighbors got in the car and this morning they and the car were gone.  Turns out they went to a hotel, and will be there again tonight.  Also turns out that this is their honeymoon.

2) A ranger told us Bowman Lake  -- 7 miles long, about a half mile wide, and  in a remote northwest portion of Glacier National Park -- is a great place to kayak. Late this morning we started the supposed 33-mile drive on a part paved, part gravel road. Forty-three miles later we were thinking "Where in the heck is Bowman Lake?"  When we saw a sign that read “Canada -- 10 mile" we knew enough to stop.

Jim turned around on a lane that just happened to have a two people standing near a car -- the first people we’d seen out of cars/trucks the entire drive.  The woman knew exactly how to get to Bowman Lake.  It was beautiful. (And Jim blames bad signage.)

3) After kayaking, we wanted to get our National Parks Passports stamped at Glacier Park’s visitors center and pick up a loaf of bread at the park market.  But first we made a quick stop at the rig for Jim's wallet and my purse.  About one mile into the two-mile drive from the rig to the visitors center, a huge windstorm suddenly hit.  Pine trees swayed and branches fell on the road.  When we got to the visitors center, their electricity was out, as was the electric for all nearby shops, including the market.  People huddled in front of stores, watching the storm.

We decided to get back to the rig as fast as we could, and saw even more downed branches on the return trip.  Just before the turn into the campground -- on the very same road we’d been on just minutes before -- a big tree was across the road.  

Jim and I got out of the car, as did the folks approaching from the other side and people who stopped behind us.  In the pouring rain, Jim and the guys dragged the main part of the tree as far as they could while I picked up limbs and threw them off the road.  We were able to get our car around the mess; some folks with large trucks were about to use a bow saw on the tree trunk when we left.

Now it’s calm and clear and it doesn’t look like any branches fell on our rig.  That was one fast, dramatic storm. 
Click on the photo for a better view of Jim on Bowman Lake.

The water at Bowman Lake was so clear you could see the rocks under the surface many feet out from the shore.
These female "merganser" ducks  let me get close. A "Ducks Unlimited" website said they like to nest near clear water in forested regions and on mountainous terrain, which is a great description of Bowman Lake.
Another photo of Jim in his kayak.
The last six miles to Bowman Lake was via a very small dirt road. When we met an oncoming vehicle, one of us had to pull way over to the side of the road and stop.  I'm glad we were off this road when the storm hit.  The road is probably still full of downed trees.


  1. Judging from the picture, the effort to find the lake was worth it. I don't know how you were able to make yourself get off the lake at the end of the day.

    For the record, "poor signage" has been the well established primary cause of men not being able to find a location. (You should never say "Are we lost?" That would be very bad form.) Of course had you been driving, you would have been lost, and the well established primary cause of women being lost is that "You weren't paying attention." I know it doesn't seem fair, but that's just how it works.

  2. Are you driving Going to the Sun or taking the shuttle bus?

  3. Carl, is Sandy neglecting her editing/censorship duties?

  4. Hello, Boonedocks. I know it’s almost criminal, but we did not drive or take the bus on Going to the Sun. We had just two days in the park and decided to kayak on both of them. But -- we definitely want to return to Glacier. Absolutely loved it. Also, another thought on Capitol Reef: You might want to go to the Sunglow Cafe in Bicknell and try one of their pies: pickle, oatmeal, pinto bean or buttermilk. We like the oatmeal.