We leave Kalispell, MT after an evening at the Moose Saloon – eating delicious pizza and drinking many (too many!) Moose Drool Draft beers! If you ever find yourself in Kalispell, be sure to check out this place downtown. I loved it so much, I had to buy a hat! So, the next morning, we head into Bozeman, MT…a very hip little town! The downtown was thriving with a lot of young people and tourists. We chose to stay here because it was only 1 1/2 hours from the northern gates of Yellowstone.
Now, to really see Yellowstone National Park, you need at least a week. We were trying to do it in one day. That meant we had to sacrifice a lot of scenery. But, to me, Yellowstone’s real point of interest is the geothermal activity. So, that is what we concentrated on. And it was a full, full day of seeing the sights. From the Porcelain Pools to Old Faithful, we checked it all out.
Leaving Jasper & Banff National Park was wrenching. It was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen. The mountains, the lakes, the wildlife, the people…all are a reason to plan a return trip. We headed down a two-lane highway south of Calgary and drove through gorgeous ranch and farmland. We arrived in Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada) and Glacier National Park (USA). We ended up staying in Waterton overnight and got to do a little exploration of the area. The town is charmingly nestled in a ring of mountains and a beautiful, glacier-fed lake.
The next morning, we had a fortifying cup of coffee at a tiny coffee-house in Waterton. We had a chance to meet and talk with a guy from Detroit that was preparing to hike the Continental Divide all the way to Mexico! I was so impressed! We wished him luck and we headed off to the American border and crossed back into the USA. We are entering Glacier National Park in St. Mary, Montana and driving on the wonderfully named “Going to the Sun Highway.” This drive takes you across Glacier from east to west and we exit near Kalispell, MT where we spent the night. Our luck held on this portion of the trip, too. The day we are driving this road, was the first day that it was 100% open to the public! Previously, the snow had been so deep, that visitors were turned back about the halfway point. Another lucky break!
While driving the road, we noticed these really cool red buses. When we made a pit stop at the summit, I had a chance to talk with a couple of drivers of these buses. The drivers are called “Jammers” because of the way they have to jam the bus into gear! And the buses, themselves, are from 1936-1939. The fleet of 33 buses in Glacier are widely considered to be the oldest touring fleet of vehicles anywhere in the world. According to their website, each red bus is estimated to be worth $250,000. Wow!
Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos I took along the Going to the Sun road: