Day 15 – June 15th – Biking in Glacier National Park – Avalanche parking area to Logan Pass to West Glacier – 52 miles

I will let the pictures do most of the talking as words, no matter how exquisite, cannot portray the vastness or beauty.

When in this place, the majesty of the mountains and grandeur of the glaciers shock the visual sense of any human. Here, one obtains more wisdom than any other and the only knowledge one ever needs to know, the way of the land. I know no stress here, for nature provides all outlets for my thoughts and awe. Unmatched beauty, pristine land, and awesome wilderness. I hope this land remains for all generations to come. It needs to be preserved and protected, so all can know the value of untouched wilderness that once covered the entire globe.

Here are some photos of the day.

On the way up:

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First bear sighting!

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This one snuck up on me! I stopped for a short rest and he popped up over the side onto the road! Thankfully I didn’t startle him, I was easily within 40 feet of this guy.

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A couple miles ahead (and up), I saw these bighorn sheep. There were 4 total.

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One mile later, this guy got trapped on the road between two hikers on their way down, and me on my way up.  It ran toward me very quickly, within 30 feet, I steadied my camera as best I could and got this shot.  Also have a video of it scaling the rock face right next to the road as I stood and watched in awe.

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Snow!

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Conquered the pass :)

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Saw this on the way down!

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Overall great day here at Glacier National Park.  More photos to come after my tour.

Day 14 – June 14th – Kootenai National Forest Campground at McGregor Lake, MT to Bigfork, MT – 56 miles

After a gorgeous sunset to end the previous day, a rather interesting, restless night ensued.  The chilly night air dropped in temperature to the low 40’s.  Bears were also on my mind, as this area had an extremely high number of bears.

The night passed however, and I was on my way before the clouds thickened.

A deer carcass 2 miles from camp along the roadside was a meal for a Bald Eagle.  I interrupted the feeding spree only 20 feet from the eagle, giving me a quick glimpse of this magnificent bird.

The Bald Eagle was not the only bird eyeing up the deer:

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After hugging the side of Hwy. 2, with no shoulder, for 2 hours, the Dashboard Diner in Marion attracted me.  Some sausage, eggs, and pancakes provided some uplift on the rather dreary morning.  The waitress said I was the 3rd cyclist that stopped for the year, but what she said after that, the fact that it was all downhill to Kalispell, really sparked a new enthusiasm for me.

By the time I was 8 miles from Kalispell another pleasant surprise struck! A rails-to-trails bike trail! I bypassed Kalispell, through Sommers, and headed to my place for the night in Bigfork, another great host.

Bike trail:

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The mountains amidst the clouds on the outskirts of Kalispell:

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Bigfork, also a town in northern MN, sits at the northeast corner of the capricious Flathead lake.  (Click here for more info on this lake -> http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flathead_Lake )

Flathead lake, at over 165 square miles, is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi.

While I ate dinner with the hosts, in their house with a marvelous view of the lake, the wife mentioned she was driving to West Glacier Park and biking up the west side to Logan Pass, she offered that I come along to bike and take pictures.

This offer was too hard to pass up!

Tomorrow I’ll be spending a day in Glacier National Park.

Train Ride – Day 2

Today has consisted of gazing out into the wide open expanses of North Dakota and the big sky country of Montana.  Rain fell on the later half of the day, as the scenery outside began to transition from a flat plain to a hilly start of the mountains.

It really is hard to fathom how much open space there is, especially in the vast state of Montana (ask my brother Nathan or my sister Alicia about that reference).  Riding a train or passing through by car is a good way to appreciate the expanse  but I suspect riding through on my bike will help me truly appreciate the environment that I pass through.

Passed through Glacier National Park in the late evening.

Here is an image from Cut Bank, MT.  This town truly had a reason for it’s name.

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