Well, this was a sad and happy day. It was our last day in Glacier, so that was sad, but we had a great time. We are still getting a late start with the time change, the late sunlight, etc. so we didn’t get started until ~10 o’clock.

The day started with a trip on Going to the Sun. We passed Logan Pass this time, but stopped off there on our way to Saint Mary Lake. We saw a bunch of Mountain Goats (which we found out are not goats but related to New World antelope). I also got a picture of a badger there hiding under the walkway.

the mountain goat,

the badger,

a classic glacier valley vista,

and a classic piece of posterior coverage (click on the picture and read)

The classic vista above is the “bowl” shape carved out of the mountain face by the heavy scouring of ice as it moved down the mountain while subliming.

The classic butt cover is provided by a sign at a scenic overlook in the Logan Pass area. It refers to how glaciers have been shrinking/retreating/disappearing since the park opened. It assures us that this is part of the ebb and flow of geology and next time we visit, the glaciers may be smaller, or may be larger! Hmm, well you can’t rule out nuclear winter.

Okay, now we were on the east side going to Saint Mary Lake, which is large (not as big as Lake McDonald) and picturesque. The east side of the park is on the east side of the continental divide and is dryer and not as green as the west side. We took a nice short hike to Saint Mary Falls, which becomes the Saint Mary River, which flows into…Saint Mary Lake!

Leroy was nervous because he could read the bear postings (warnings that bears had been spotted in the area). We bought him a “bear bell” more as an anti-neurotic, but I was told by another camper, they were considered ineffective and were jokingly called, “dinner bells” because they let the bears know where to find food. On the whole I found the bear control (or human control to protect the bears) lower key than we’d experienced in Yosemite. At Glacier you are told to store food in your car, but that is not even allowed at Yosemite (you have to use bear lockers if you are staying overnight). They show you these scary films of mangled door frames that bears have pried to get into cars. Okay, here are the pics from Saint Mary land…

the road down to Saint Mary Falls

the Falls themselves

The pool below the falls. Does it look inviting? It’s only about 50 degrees!

I’m smiling, but really my feet are frozen.

Okay, after that, we were driving down to Helena, capital of Montana. The drive was long (4 hours) and I was suffering a stomach problems. Terry was nagging me about my “delicate” stomach (I’ll remember that next time he vomits – and I know he will sooner or later). I felt like crud, so I don’t have much to write about the trip. There were thunderstorms on and off during the trip. Oh, Browning really looked awful. Even Terry commented on how horrible it was. Like some documentary on rural Indian poverty, etc. There, that’s my travelogue for the trip to Helena.

We got into Helena and stayed at a hotel that is based in a new themed mall dedicated to the Great Northern Railroad. The town seems very imposing and conscious of its Victorian architectural heritage (although most of it looks like it’s been erected in the last 10 years). Hey, at least they have a look? We also noticed that all the convenience casinos (attached to minimart/gas stations) had been banished to East Helena (the more blue-collar neighbor next door. The hotel was very nice.

Needless to say, I have no pictures of the trip down, or of Helena. More with Saturday’s report which will be from…Yellowstone!

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