Started the day with a hot breakfast of soup cooked on my self-powered blower driven camp stove. This was gifted to me last year by Laura and has served me well. In addition it provided hot water for cleaning and washing up. Soon Wingnut and I were back on the road for the remainder of the drive to Glacier National Park.
We arrived sometime around 11:00 am. As I figured all of the interior campgrounds were full. However, many of the other campgrounds still had room. Since I had never been to the northwest side of Glacier before I decided to try Bowman Lake. While this was only 34 miles from the west entrance, it took almost an hour and a half to reach. Much of the road is gravel, and the last 5 miles were in poor condition. The speed limit along this section was 20 MPH, but that was almost impossible to obtain. Numerous potholes, sharp turns and steep paths kept my speeds between 5 and 15 MPH for most of this drive. Nonetheless, Eve Liberty (my car) is part off-road vehicle as I discovered back in June of 2013 when I unintentionally took Eve through two muddy ruts in a field in Wyoming that GPS though was a road. So despite having two people, lots of supplies, and two bicycles strapped on the back Eve had no problem navigating this rough patch.
At Bowman Lake campground we had many empty sites to choose from, pick one, setup our tent and headed back to Going-To-The-Sun road. Wingnut had never been to any of the places we had so visited and now it was time to properly introduce her to Glacier National Park.
We started our drive along the heavily wooded shores of Lake McDonald. We stopped along some rapids along McDonald Creek and I almost had to pull Wingnut back to the car. But I understand, Glacier will do that to you. The sites at this park have to be experienced.
As we assented out of the forest the tall trees began to give away and the giant mountain sides became visible. This is the part of Glacier that won my heart back in 2016 when I visited with the mountain tops disappearing into the clouds. The mountain sides were lush green gardens of enormous proportions. Soon we were high enough to see the U-shaped valley carved by tens of thousands of years of glacier activity. Around every corner was a new vista fit for a postcard. Truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit.
Logan Pass is at the continental divide and the highest point on the Going-To-The-Sun road. While I had been to Glacier National 3 times prior to this I had never stopped at Logan Pass. Since October I had been watching the web cameras at this location, observing snow accumulating to over 10 feet high and then slowly melting through the spring. I watched as the lower bathrooms completely disappeared under drifts, and then slowly started to come back. Then the plows clear the parking lot, dig out the bathrooms and remove the chimney cover. So now I wanted to visit the place I had come to know over many months of observation.
Despite having a parking lot over 400x260 feet in side finding a parking spot I knew would be difficult. The webcam showed me the parking lot fills up around 10:00 am which is probably why I skipping stopping the only other time the I visited when the road was fully open. Luckily, a lady signaled us to follow her and let us have her spot as the left and we didn’t have to search long.
Soon I was standing at a location where I could observe first hand the views I had been taking in remote all winter and spring in addition to views the web cameras did not show. The nerd in me located each of the cameras and gave them a mental solute of thanks.
The Logan Pass Visitor Center is an interesting place. There are two bathroom facilities. One has flushing toilets, and the other is a pit toilet. There is a water fountain and a place to fill water bottles, but no sinks for washing. To my knowledge there is no electricity run to the visitor center. Instead a bank of solar panels on the lower bathroom facility provides all the power for the facility. I’m not sure if a water pump is required or if they are tapped into a natural spring. Regardless, all power comes from the sun.
The visitor center has a small nature trail around it and is the start of both the Hidden Lake trail and the Highline Trail. I had initially wanted to hike the Highline Trail but the trail was still marked as closed before I left for the trip. Sadly for me it had just opened up when we arrived and I met several people who had hiked it. I will have to save this trail for another time. All around the visitor center were ground squirrels, dozens of them. Most didn’t seem too shy about all the human activity around them and went about dong squirrel things. I was able to get several good pictures.
Since Eve was unable to drive at night we had to make sure we had returned to camp before daylight was gone. Twilight lasts past 10:00 pm so I figured if we were back by 9:00 pm we should have enough light not to worry. We made a quick stop in Apgar Village to pick up bread. There I found another webcam I had watched many times, but the general store had everything to make sandwiches except bread. So we drove a couple more miles to the grocery store in West Glacier. They did have bread and we were soon on our way. However, I had forgotten about gasoline. While we probably could have made it without fueling up, I didn’t want to push my luck. In the tiny town of Polebridge was a store that did sell gas at $6.00/gallon. It was the price I had to pay for being an idiot, but worth the piece of mind.
With plenty of twilight left Wingnut and I decided to hike a little around the campsite and have a look at Bowman Lake. It is a beautiful site. Wingnut was filled with the urge to swim in it. The water was probably around 65°F/18°C but she wanted the experience. As she swam the clouds started to turn red as the sun set. The place was quite remarkable.