Friday, September 17, 2010

Glacier National Park

I would just like to thank both Gwen and Teresa for their mechanical advice. I took the HT connection off and threatened them followed by a good kicking and Nancy has been going better ever since. But then that is the American way. Every since the Indians wanted to keep their land and their way of life, the Americans first threatened them and then gave them a good kicking (more later). They don't seemed to have learnt form their behaviour over the years but I have never seen the long term advantages of this policy, so when we were at the KOA where we are writing this up, I was able to get a replacement for one of the leads that was, on closer inspection, rather suspect,! The replacement policy has also been tried over the years to unfriendly political regimes, but I am confident that in this case it is the way forward. I will keep you all posted. Now over to Jill who is going to do this entry:

Hello everyone. It has been a while since I contributed to the Blog. David has left me to it whilst he has a hot tub (some folk have all the fun!!). I just can't remember where we have been from one day to the next. After a while all the trees and mountains, roads and passes look the same. Even the routine is the same: wake up, (07.30h or there is hell to pay-well it used to be until David was born again!!), shower if there is one, stink if there isn't, or wash in a stream/river/lake; put on motorbike gear (it is nearly always too cold to wear anything lighter in the morning); breakfast of porridge with cranberries, (again it is usually too cold to have a cold breakfast), a bit of fruit, a cup of tea,/coffee, plus if we are lucky some fresh orange juice; we break the camp (David deflates and packs the Exped mattresses, sleeping bags, and little inflatable pillows, whilst I clear away and wash up (usually a lick and a promise). As we finish these tasks, the tent is usually ready for folding and packing; various other bits get sorted for example cleaning, drying and folding the ground sheets, which because tent pitches are mostly dirt rather than the green stuff we call grass at home, they are filthy; cleaning the helmet visors of all the insects and small birds! packing tap water if there is any or getting it from a stream/river/lake; packing provisions so that lunch is accessible in the top box, without having to unpack it all, or make a shopping list to see us through the day and supper.
I think I have mentioned previously, that we can only buy food on a daily basis, so I have to think early in the day about it. Sometimes we go for 50 or more miles without seeing a shop. And fuel stations can be a bit like buses. Anyway I have amassed small quantities (enough for a couple of meals) of a few staples such as rice, spaghetti, or couscous, stock cubes, soya mince, herbs, salt and pepper, soy sauce, jalapeno sauce (delicious!!) and even Vegemite, and peanut butter courtesy of a fast food outlet, to flavour my concoctions. But I buy whatever I can as we travel each day. Now this might sound a bit like we are travelling in a third world country, unsure of where our next morsel is going to come from, but being veggie has it's challenges. Of course large towns and cities may have Safeway (and it is just like walking into one at home-very predictable and comforting in some ways) or some other local supermarket, but because we mostly travel on smaller roads off the interstate, often we stop in small places and just buy whatever is available, from wherever we can. And in some small towns the only thing alive seems to be the tumble weed blowing down the road. In more than one Indian Reservation, all I could find to eat was Campbell's Mushroom Soup. So that was what we had for supper heated, undiluted and poured over spaghetti!! I felt like Delia Smith going back to basics!!
Also the markets in some small towns have nothing outward to suggest they sell anything at all, and can easily be missed, but you get a clue from looking out for shopping trolleys lined up. Of course there is always cake and more cake on the shelves; walls of coolers displaying a hundred varieties of soda or beer; meat usually beef, (beef jerky), some veg and tinned everything. I can usually find cheese if I am partial to Kraft cheese slices or similar. So what I am trying to say is that the morning has a number of predictable features much the same as when we are at home. Things get done in a particular order at a particular time. Then we get dressed. The number of layers depends on the weather. But typically on the top, a tee shirt, Rab jacket, Biking jacket, and waterproof against the chill of the early morning. On the bottom, often thermal pants, biking pants, waterproof and medium thick socks and boots. On the head a buff turned up over the face to the nose and helmet. On the hands, inner gloves (an extra layer for cold mornings) and summer or winter biking gloves. But not before the earplugs are in situ, loo roll, a clean handkerchief and some cash are safely stowed in various pockets. Then dressed like Michelin Woman, (David somehow looks a bit more fetching), we are off in search of a new road, leading to new adventures, more dirt on which to pitch our tent, (usually within earshot of an airport, rail track, and interstate-even in the middle of a forest) and yet more challenging camp food.
But today we have decided to stay in a Motel for 3 nights. We have arrived just outside Glacier National Park, and have decided to spend a day updating the Blog and emails. The first big decision though is to eat out weeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! We enjoyed two glasses of beer brewed in a local micro-brewery, tempura veg and veg burger which were delicious. We returned to the Motel under the influence and had a heart-to-heart about the trip, expectations, and our relationship. Had a rubbish nights sleep dreaming of tornado's and woke under a dark and gloomy cloud. After breakfast David worked on the Blog and I set off to wander the town in search of a launderette and to buy lunch. I returned with a pile of clean and fresh smelling clothes, a bit of food and best of all a bottle of local pink champagne to wash away the blues.
More talking about the trip, what we each want from it, (I am struggling to answer this one-I think it is peace and joy but I am not sure!) expectations of other, an acknowledgement of both our sadness right now, the need for enjoyment, fun, laughter, harmony, a mix of hard core travel and holiday, and we began to break through our lingering depression.
The following morning dressed like a moonwalker bright and early (well about 9am) we set off for West Glacier and the Going-to-the-Sun road. We stopped at Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail where the thermometer was hovering at 0°C and David dragged me half frozen off the bike to wander through yet more bloody trees. My toes and fingers were numb, and the ice was gradually working it's way up my legs and arms. To say I was tree'd out is an understatement. It is hard to explain this reaction. I love trees and we have walked through some very majestic forests, and hugged some quite magnificent specimens on our trip so far. But they block out the sunlight and we have had very little of it thus far on our faces. Most of our camping has been in Provincial, State or National Parks/Forests, under a deep sleepy canopy of Redwoods, Douglas Fir and Hemlock. It is a truly wonderful experience camping deep in the forest, but it can be cold too and I long for the sun on my face in the morning, for more than a fleeting moment. I am not sure about global warming, since we arrived in Canada at the beginning of May, it feels more like global cooling (do you think the scientists have got it wrong??). And of course we were back in bear country but the trees did put on a wonderful display and I soon forgot how cold I was and began to thaw out, and so was the waterfall. To top it all we came across a group of three deer grazing serenely amongst the trees. Jill has gone off to cook as it is now 1830 so I'm taking over.

Then we set off again towards Logan Pass along the road that is cut into the side of the mountain and is part of a 10 year repair project to restore the road to it's former glory, which meant that parts of the road were gravel and single lane with traffic lights. When we reached the pass the temperature had risen in the sun, but the wind was cutting so we headed off for a warming stroll under the garden wall, which like the road had been cut into the rock. They had provided a hose pipe to hang onto as the sign 'slippery when wet' must have made the path very interesting but luckily it was dry for us. Saw a posing Marmot just off the trail which gave us some magnificent views. The park have a fleet of 1930 refurbished buses that take people along the road. Thoroughly warmed by our walk we had lunch and then carried on down to St.Mary where we had a cup of coffee. It had taken us 6 hours to to go one way so we only stopped at Sunrift gorge on the way back and a photo opportunity that broken horn gave us. Arriving back around 1900 Jill set too creating another 'one ring wonder' outside our room. Here is just one more picture.

2 comments:

  1. there are some lovely pictures here, you are getting quite good now at this!

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  2. I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
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