(13.06.2011 - monday)
After we have breakfast at the hotel we stayed last night, we go to Gardiner to take some photos. We were interested in especially the gate that we passed through last night. This gate had been built by Roosvelt in 1870s. One of the faces I told about Mt. Rushmore was President’s Roosevelt, because he was the one to start the national parks. So, we can understand how national parks are valuable for Americans. By the way, I must say that this area was a property of Rockefeller once, and then he donated this area to the country.
This gate seems to be very meaningful. It is like a gate between different worlds or planets. It is like you change a planet from nature planet and modern life planet with some magic.
We will travel more national parks in the future, so we’d better give some information about the national parks before we continue to ride. Although all of them have their own stories, generally they are not totally discovered by Americans. Most of them were Indian residents at the beginning. But during the gold rush Americans came here and get into touch with Indians. They learned the area, and the gold sources from them. Then they harmed some of the forests for gold mining. After sometime people start to be more conscious about the nature and stop destroying the natural beauties. That’s how national park idea emerged.
End of the note…
With this short information and some photos in Gardiner, we are back on the road.
We follow the US 89 route and the target is the Glacier National Park’s east side… Again the charming sceneries along the road with snowy mountains, green plains, wild rivers, forests, deer, horses and lots of cows etc. continues.
After passing lot of Indian villages on the road and before coming to the East Glacier National Park, we stop to get gas at a town named Browning. This town is an Indian town as well. They don’t wear traditional clothing, but from the faces you can understand. The USA have some Indian Reservations, as it writes on the map, that have their own law, schools, police etc. These reservations are mostly have casinos in it that you can gamble. So, Americans mostly come here to gamble.
Anyway, we come to the entrance of the East Glacier National Park after 30 miles from Browning. As soon as we enter to the park there is rain again over us.
Actually the East Glacier National Park and the West one are connected to each other with a road named “Going to the Sun Road” which is a very famous road… then name of the road comes from the Indians’, named Black Feet, religious belief. But the sad thing about this road is it is open for only one month during a year. And this month is usually the july. So, this explains a little bit how north we are in currently. As the name suggests Glacier means a big piece of ice, it only leaves in cold weather.
The ranger at the entrance says the road is only open for 13 miles forward. But the scenery is beautiful, the road, the color of the lake, waterfalls, clouds and everything is perfect. It is worth to come here although it is very far. The rainbows surround the valley during the rain with the sun.
while riding on the road we see a bear from this close for the first time…
We arrive at the viewpoint of the glacier after a short ride on the going to the sun road. It is hard to see the glacier because of the weather condition but there is a glacier over there in the photo.
Then we are back on the same road again because the rest of it to the west side is closed. And we have a chance to take some photos since the rain stops.
This is the photo of the Indians that lived here once.
Afterwards we leave the park and we follow the road on the south side of the Glacier National Park heading to the West Glacier. It is hard to ignore that most of the forest had burned at the exit of the east side. There was similar scenery at the Yellow Stone as well. It hurts to see this kind of forest fires. We ask to a ranger about the causes of these fires, he says the lightening cause these fires, and because the area is very wide they cannot control them and wait for it to extinguish.
Of course it is hard to arrive at West Glacier National Park today. And there is a hotel that Merrill suggested us to stay on this road, so we’re heading there. Then we change our route a little bit and the scenery is beautiful as always. We follow the valleys, rivers and reach to the hotel after a good ride.
This hotel is located in a town, named Essex, which is about a 100-year hotel, which had been an old train station. It is right next to the railroad, and peaceful. The name of the railroad is Northern Great Railway, which is a very important transportation tool for people, because the transportation is a very hard thing here.
The hotel has a garage for our motorcycle, which I like it most… then we take a walk around and inside the hotel. Almost every corner of the hotel is full of photos of Indians and trains. Its garden, food, and the decorations is very nice and delicious. There is a warning for people at the lobby of the hotel says “don’t use technological tools in public”, of course we obey the rules not to harm the ambiance of the hotel.
Everything at the hotel is very original. We can spend the whole vacation here I guess. There are different choices of the rooms. If you want you may stay at the old train station building, and if you want you may stay at the wagons in the photo. It is up to you. But if you have a cost constraint for one night, you may choose to stay at the main building, which costs about $160, instead of the wagons, which cost about $300. So, I can spend the whole vacation if only if I win the lottery.
After a 480-mile ride we are on the bed again… we have a short ride for tomorrow, so we can wake up late.
End of Day 6