Friday, August 17, 2012

Back from Montana

The Montana excursion was a glorious experience. Weasel and I rode some amazing countryside. We Amtrak'ed to Whitefish, MT, spent the night in a motel, and embarked up the Great Divide Route at the crack of noon the next day. There was little or no descending that first day, and no pavement for most of the first three days.

P1000110

In our search for a campground marked on a cartoon-like map, we made a wrong turn up this two-track road with a relentless grade. The view was nice.
Near Upper Whitefish Lake

But we eventually found the place, Upper Whitefish Lake. It was a pretty primitive campground. There was no way to pay, and we'd neglected to purchase the necessary state camping permit back in town. So for this first night, we were campsite pirates. The view was nice.
Upper Whitefish Lake

Upper Whitefish Lake

More climbing toward Red Meadow Pass (about 5600 feet amsl, 2500 feet above Whitefish). The view was nice.
heading to Red Meadow Pass

heading to Red Meadow Pass

Over the pass, past the gorgeous Red Meadow Lake (which I didn't photograph for some reason), and down a sketchy descent, we eventually made our way to the "town" of Polebridge. The view was nice.
Polebridge, MT

From Polebridge, we were able to enter into Glacier National Park. It was getting late in the afternoon, and campsites were apparently in short supply at Bowman Lake, but we decided to chance it. After all, it was only 6 miles. Those 6 miles were arduous, to say the least. Bowman Lake Road is very steep in places and rough everywhere. The view was nice.
Bowman Lake

Bowman Lake

filth and neglect

From Bowman Lake, we headed down the Inside North Fork Road, a portion of which is closed to cars. It was rugged terrain, a rustic road (my favorite), and there were thimbleberries and huckleberries to snack on. Also, lots of grizzly poop in the road. The view was nice.
Thimble berry, Inside North Fork Road

The Weasel, Inside North Fork Road

Inside North Fork Road

Inside North Fork Road

Inside North Fork Road

This brought us to the large campground at Apgar. Apgar also had a restaurant and ice cream and a paved road, which we detoured with a short chunk of singletrack. The next morning, we started on the first piece of the Going to the Sun Road, which is closed to bikes 11am-4pm. We took a break during these 5 hours at Lake McDonald Lodge. I caught a fish. The view was nice.


After camping at Avalanche Creek, we were back on Going to the Sun Road, now going uphill in earnest. The view was nice.

Going to the Sun Road


Going to the Sun Road

Going to the Sun Road

Going to the Sun Road


Going to the Sun Road



Finally, after 32 miles of going uphill, much of which on the side of a mountain ravine, we made Logan Pass, a beautiful place if ever there was one. The view was very nice.
Logan Pass, Going to the Sun Road

After Logan Pass, we bombed down the other side to Rising Sun for our 5th night of camping. This is on St Mary's Lake. The water was cold, but the view was nice.
Going to the Sun Road
Our final day of riding brought us to East Glacier and Brownie's hostel, which was neat place. I'd consider living there, I think. Of course, the view was nice.

7 comments:

Lanny said...

Great photo set, Jim! I'm glad to see that you exercised your eye for composition and color along with your manly and muscled loins.

the coelacanth said...

Woah! Amazing and inspiring pics. Makes me ache to get out there.

phaedrus said...

Beautiful!

Did you get a chance to try some of the pastries at the Polebridge Mercantile? I remember them being really good, but it may have just been that I was really hungry at the time. Neat little settlement.

Snakebite said...

I hope there's a write up as well. A narrative to go along with the pictures would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

on average, how many miles a day did you ride? Also, it appears that you eschewed fenders...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! +1 on the Polebridge Mercantile pastries. Brings back many great memories.

adventure! said...

Love that area. Looks like a great tour. Jealous that you got to cross Logan Pass, as it was still snowed in last year when we tried to cross. (Last year was the latest the pass opened!)