Boomer and I had reached the last day of our trip to Montana. Although I was sad that the trip was coming to an end, I was also about to embark on something I had never been able to do before, driving across The Going to the Sun Road! I had been to Glacier twice before over the years, once in May and once in July. The Going to the Sun Road had alluded me each time as it was closed due to snow.
I had heard nasty rumors about this road: scary, narrow and crowed. These rumors however were not about to scare me off. I thought I would go early in the morning as it would be the best for animal sightings and limited traffic. Who wants to get up early on their vacation? Certainly not me, but on this day I was willing!
Since the road was open and I was there, both rarities, I decided to drive across both east and west directions, to take it all in. I started my trip across the road from the west side of the park. As I traveled east I had plenty of photography opportunities. I never felt pushed down the road by some crazed tourist driving like a manic or squeezed by an overly huge motor-home. I assume both of those events could easily be a reality later in the day.
I stopped at Logan Pass and after checking out the visitor center I for some reason attempted to hike along the nature trail leading to the hidden lakes viewpoint. It was soon that I had realized my mistake. It was warm, I did not bring water with me and I do not really care for hiking anyways. I turned around like a sissy and returned to the air-conditioned visitor center.
After I finished up cooling off at the visitor center I completed the rest of my journey across the road. As soon as I turned around to head back west I found that the other park guests had awaken and where EVERYWHERE! The road had now become really narrow, really scary and REALLY crowed. I made no stops on my east to west drive until I reached the Apgar parking lot. If you are staying in the park and do not want to tent it, I recommend their cute and reasonably priced cabins.
I took Boomer out for a quick walk, near the campground. The trail we found seems to be the only place dogs are allowed in Glacier National Park. As we were walking a woman saw us and said to me “that is a good-looking dog”. I do not want to sound vein on behalf of Boomer but he often gets compliments on his good looks. But then something strange happened. The same woman said “really good-looking”, with a tone that sounded shocked. Like she had not noticed how cute Boomer was the first time she saw him, moments earlier. I was not sure what she was getting at but I looked at her puzzled. Was she implying I was not cute enough to be with my dog? I continued on with my suitcase of insecurities in tow and apparently an overly handsome dog.
If you would like to visit Glacier National Park the park is located on Hwy 2 east of Kalispell. There are several signs for the park leading you to the entrance. If you want to drive across the Going to the Sun Road you will want to check the road status before. The opening of the road varies year to year as it is dependent on the snow fall and plowing progress. The link shows you the current location of the plows as well as photos logging their progress. The photos are pretty amazing, capturing the massive amounts of snow that is often around until late June. The elevation of Logan Pass is 6647 feet (2026 m), so it takes some time for the snow to melt there.
Park fees to get in will be $25 USD for a non-commercial car or $12 USD for foot/bike/motorcycle traffic in the summer. Winter fees are $15 USD and $10 USD respectively. The America the Beautiful and Federal Lands pass is valid for this park. There are also fee free days that you can find on the nps.gov website if you are looking to save a few dollars.