Day 0 trip/ Montana/ Travel/ United States

Day 285 – Glacier National Park


[Mile 630 to 980]   

When I was young I took a road trip around the country with a friend, living in his Honda Prelude, we’d open our paper atlas each day, look for a place that sounded cool, then we’d drive there, all summer. We drove from New Orleans to Canada, all the way to Calgary, then headed down towards Seattle. In between we casually drove through the Canadian side of Glacier National Park on a whim. I remember these insane thin roads climbing up into the heavens, up and up, thinking to myself, is this a good idea? Living glaciers topping high passes and waterfalls and glacial lakes that were the color of the bluest windex you can imagine. It was magical.

This was my first time back and to the American side. Katy is absolutely infatuated by National Parks so she has been wanting to come here for forever. The scenic mountain road, Going-To-The-Sun road, was supposed to be closed this year for construction and for COVID closures, but they announced the day before that they would be opening the road our last morning in the park! So as we left our campsite we got to drive over Logan’s Pass and down to Rising Sun before heading back down the same road. It was completely different than how I remembered but it was breathtaking. The kind of Big Nature that puts your ego in perspective.

Lake McDonald Area

Originally the only area open was the road around Lake McDonald. And we would have been happy with just that.








Going-To-The-Sun Road

We felt so lucky they did a partial opening of the road on our last morning. The road itself is an engineering marvel, winding impossibly up into the mountain peeks. The road is carved out of the cliff face and only smaller cars can navigate it. The cutoff is 21′ but the Rialta was 21.6′ long so we thought we’d chance it. Although I clipped a bit of rock on the way down and gave her our first blemish. All-in-all well worth it.

















The Huckleberry Bearclaw at Polebridge Mercantile

At least four people recommended we drive to Polebridge and get the huckleberry bearclaw. Its an hour drive towards Canada. And we’re thinking, can a bearclaw be that good? We’re on a low carb diet, but hey I’m all about destination food, so what the hell. We embark but immediately the road turns to shit. It’s a white knuckle rumble down potholed and washboarded dirt roads. Every series of ridges shakes and rattles the poor Rialta, threatening to take her apart. But we persist and arrive in Polebridge and to the mercantile, which btw is really the only thing in Polebridge. There was a line to get in. Everyone was there for the bearclaw. The guy watching the door answers the phone repeatedly. Every person is asking about the bearclaw and if they still have bearclaws. What the fuck is up with this bearclaw?

When it’s our turn we order one to split and take a seat outside on a picnic table. I mean, it’s a decent bearclaw, as far a bearclaws go, but it didn’t make my head explode or anything. But the scenery around Polebridge is beautiful and there’s also a bar and lots of terrific baked goods. I say it’s worth the trip IF you’re in a truck or something with decent suspension. I’m not sure I would have gone had I known how rough it would be on the Rialta.




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