(14.06.2011 - tuesday)
We wake up without the alarm this morning. We get used to get up early; the air is so clean that we don’t get tired. Today’s target is West Glacier National Park. But before that we have a good breakfast at the hotel.
We heard at the hotel that the white goats live around here, so before heading to the national park we go back for 20 miles to see white goats. And we have a chance to see a few goats when we reach to the viewpoint. After some photos, we are on our way again. It is rainy but we get used to this situation a lot.
Finally, we arrive at the West Glacier Park. There is Lake Mc. Donald, which is an old glacier lake, 10 miles after the entrance. It is scenic again, but not as charming as the east side.
Right after the lake there is national park lodge, Mc. Donald Lodging, where Merrill had stayed before and suggested us to stay as well. Normally, the lodgings work with the reservation system, so it is hard to find empty rooms. But, if you can arrive early in the morning, you may find one after some cancellations.
So, we find a room after a cancellation. But, our room will be ready after 14:00. The price of the room is pretty good for this kind of a place, starting from $120. Until 14:00, we decide to hang around to discover the park.
We can go only for 16 miles from this side of the going to the sun road. If you’ve read our southernmost trip to Florida, you’d remember that we had a hard winter this year. So, this hard winter affected here as well. Hence the rest of the road is still closed.
It may be understood that the road also got damaged when we see the trucks going and coming on the road. We go in to the road a little bit more although it is closed. You can go in by a bicycle or walking until a certain point.
Later seeing the end of the road, we are on the motorcycle to see a little town that Merrill suggested us. We are interested in this motorcycle before we move on. It gives good ideas about the future when we have children. The owner of the motorcycle also bought this sidecar for his daughter. There is a trunk, leather seat, and air conditioning inside the sidecar. Of course you are not a motorcycle anymore if you buy it, but there is nothing to do.
The name of the town, which is hard to find even on the map, is Polebridge that Merrill wanted us to visit. It is about 20 miles to the national park, but after 5 miles there is no pavement. Don’t worry; there is a sign about this. We can see the footprints of the forest fire along the road.
Polebridge, which we expect it to be a town, is not even a village population vise. There is only 1 motel, 1 market, and a bar in the town. Ohhh, and a gas station… the houses all made of wood, nice place…
The town was build by a couple at the beginning of 1900s, and it is at the Canada border as can be seen from the photo. There was a border gate once, but it got closed. Therefore the number of the tourists or people who visit here decreased after the gate was closed. Nowadays, it is just a town that people, who only know like us, visit. It is a very peaceful place to relax.
We visit the old bar, and we eat a hamburger made of deer meat. Later, we purchase some magnets from the market…
After we buy some gas from the gas station, we are back on the road. We follow the same road back to our hotel. Our room, which is a bungalow house, is ready. It is a little bit old, but still ok. We leave our stuff to the room, then we are about to go to the lakeside but…
a tiny guest waits for us next to our motorcycle. At first, we think it is a squirrel. It turns and turns around us. Then we share our cookies with our tiny guest. It bites a little bit from our cookies in our hands and it runs back and forth on the ground. Then it comes back and do the same thing many times. Later they become two… but the first one chases it like saying “I came first!”. When Emel tries to take it into her hands, he runs away and goes into the ground. After this trip we learn from Diane, Merrill’s wife, these animals are Chipmunks. They even have a movie, and they are trying to tell people that they are not squirrels for the whole movie.
I know we use the sentence a lot, but the scenery of the hotel is just beautiful. It is like the only word for me if we have to describe it with one word. We go to the lakeside as well for some photos…
and we met a Japanese couple at the lake. They talk Japanese and we talk Turkish, because they don’t know English. They came to USA 7 times, but they don’t know even an English word. Sometimes we have difficulty to communicate in the USA although we know English. We wonder how they handle the situation without English. They also came to Turkey twice to Istanbul and Cappadocia.
We finally ask again about the forest fires when we see another one on the road to Polebridge. She mentions about the ranger meeting this evening instead of answering. The rangers give some lectures about the park in the evenings she says. Of course, we attend the meeting. The subject was “Going to the Sun Road” construction. Let’s share what we learn with you… they started to build the road in 1925 and finished it in 1937. Russian engineers worked in the construction. It was a big project for its time. The old photos of the construction are also pretty interesting. The engineers decide the path by skiing. We regret again to miss the scenery of the whole road. If you search for it, you can see it is one of the most eminent places of photographers and outdoor people.
After the lecture, we ask to a Ranger about the fires. We learn there were more during the last decade. The final one was also the biggest, which was in 2006, caused by some campers. Almost 500.000 hectares of forest was gone during this fire.
Later, we go to the restaurant of the lodge and eat dinner there.
Afterwards, we come by the fire and we enjoy the authentic atmosphere of the hotel. Emel take a look at the route that will take about 600 miles for tomorrow from the map in our hands, and say “is it ok if we don’t go?” But it is too late to go back from here.
Of course, she is aware of the fact that we will see as beautiful places as today. But she talks anyway..
End of day 7