Friday, 30 September 2011

Glacier National Park Day 2

We had planned to do the walk to Grinell Lake. Unfortunately, the ferries that we planned to take have stopped for the season. No matter, we had a chance to sleep in as a result. We also had the opportunity to watch the trial  of Michael Jackson's physician. Riveting stuff. We didn't leave our rooms until 11am! I should mention here that we managed to find espresso here in the cafe at the lobby! Never mind the fact that Malcolm had to teach the staff member how to make the froth for the coffee...

Our balcony and our view

We drove back to Logan Pass to attempt one of the shorter walks that we could find, a 4.8 round trip trek to the Hidden Lake lookout. We climbed 500 feet in altitude in the process, walking right next to snow. The view at the end of the walk was worth the effort. We continued north in the car toward Many Glacier. By this time, we were all too pooped to get out and walk. Plenty of ogling was done from the car in substitute.

The magnificent view on the way to Logan's Pass

Let's go!

The beginning of the long path ahead...

Pretty scenes along the way


Taking a break. I blame the altitude for my breathlessness

Jonah soldiering on

A lizards sunbaking? Oh...just Lara

Our first glimpse of Hidden Lake

On our way down. Note the lack of rails again


Swiftcurrent Lake at the Many Glacier region

More photos from the comfort of the car

A rather unusual circumstance of us being back in the room before dinner!

Lara wanted her photo taken in front of our fireplace
Malcolm took the opportunity of our early return to go fishing again. Alas, the result remains the same. We had to buy our dinner at the restaurant. I am now drunk on Huckleberry margarita and so will have to retire.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Glacier National Park

We have arrived at Glacier National Park right on the Canadian border after another day of marathon driving. I will need to add more words to my vocabulary other than amazing, stunning and spectacular. Scenic just really doesn't do the scenery justice. We made it to West Glacier Park with the plan to drive along the Going To The Sun Road right to East Glacier where our resort is. Alas, the road was closed 16 miles down! We were determined to be undeterred. We forged ahead, did a u-turn, and then drove AROUND the National Park to reach the east entrance where we drove long the other end of the road! Unfortunately, the road works meant that we were unable to get off and take photos of the beauty around us. We had to follow the pilot car. This was probably a good thing as the temperature was significant lower compared to previous days! We were allowed to go as far as Logan Pass where we did manage to get off and walk around. On our way back, we were fortunate enough to spot another grizzly bear!

The west entrance to the park

A fantastic spot to stop for lunch

Our view

Made to drive around the park, but what a scenic drive it was

One the stops we made. Oma off like a rocket to look at the stones and rocks. Oma and Opa are convince that they are able to find previous stones somewhere in there...

Cascadilla Creek

Another picturesque stop. Bear Creek

Finishing off Going To The Sun Rd, this time from the east entrance

Roadworks! What?!?!? Apparently the harsh winter damaged a lot of the road

Not allowed to stop so here's the best we can do from within the car

Yay! Made it to Logan Pass

Our car

Bear! This spot earnt Lara an ice-cream
 Tired and cold, we ate at the restaurant attached to the resort. We are once again suffering from meat overload although this wasn't entirely unpredictable seeing as I ordered bison meatloaf and Malcolm ordered a 10 ounce prime rib.

I use the term resort loosely. The marketing team has to be applauded as the resort looks a lot more glamourous online than it does in real life. Our rooms are nice but I expected more of a spa-like resort rather than a haphazard collection of odd buildings spread across the highway. Internet is only available at the main lobby gasped one internet addict in disbelief. Sigh...Malcolm and I are about to brave the cold and dash back to our rooms. Wish us luck for our guided hike tomorrow!

Bison meatloaf

Our room

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

'M' for Malcolm?

We couldn't see the other letters, so M must be for Malcolm  (according to the children)

Today was a designated travel day. We had to bid farewell to Yellowstone National Park and make our way up to Glacier National Park, Montana. We decided to break the journey up by stopping at Missoula. Lunch was at a small roadside diner at Butte. We promptly learnt that it was pronounce 'beaut' (as in you beauty!) and not 'butt' (as in kiss my butt). We have been in the country for 5 days and we are still over-ordering at every meal! Malcolm ordered a salad for lunch and was unable to finish it.

After lunch, we were unable to make our air-conditioner work in the car. The children (bless their little souls) sat in the car for a further 2 hours whilst we made our way to Missoula. Fortunately, the a/c fixed itself as soon we we arrived at our hotel. As a treat, we took the children to the carousel downtown. The ponies were all hand-carved. Next to the carousel was the most amazing playground ever, situated right next to the Clark Fork River. Oma and Opa spoiled them a bit further with a BIG lollipop each to chomp on whilst we walked along the river.

One awesome playground!

The view of the River from the playground

Everyone enjoying the carousel

Jonah on his second ride on his own horse. Surprisingly, he was not scared by the very fast carousel

We made our way back to the hotel for our free chicken caesar salad. Malcolm, aka "Super Dad", took the children swimming, bathed them and put them to sleep, did the laundry, as well as buying hot buffalo wings for us to munch on! Meanwhile, I had serious business to attend to. Montana has no sales tax and so the children scored plenty. Who can resist T-shirts at $2.37?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Last Day At Yellowstone

Today was a rare opportunity to sleep in before we start our move again tomorrow. Unfortunately no-one remembered to tell the children! Elliot screamed in the middle of the night from nightmares, Lara moved to our bed also because of nightmares and Jonah woke up as a result. Malcolm cut his losses and went off to order our freshly made sandwiches from the local deli. He came back with a Montana fishing license, a fishing rod and associated fishing gear. Guess what we're doing today!

First we had more of Yellowstone National Park to visit. After a lazy start, we finally drove towards Mammoth Hot Springs. Whilst the Terrace Springs were fascinating, it was quite warm. We abandoned the rest of the trail, even though it was short, and sought a shady spot for lunch. We managed to find one near the charming Post Office building. Our biggest challenge of the day turned out to be avoiding elk poo. They were everywhere! Our hearty sandwiches which only cost $5.99 each ended up being enough for lunch AND dinner. They were huge and the fillings were very generous.

The very different landscape at Mammoth Hot Springs

Rock formations in action

Big contrast to the blues and greens of the trees and rivers

Another quaint and charming place. This is the post office at Mammoth Springs

Even the visitor center is cute

Elk poo everywhere

Ice-cream stop

We headed back towards the West Entrance following the Gibbon and Madison Rivers once more. We took the opportunity to stop and walk along the River. The children had a blast trying to catch grasshoppers. We loved how there was no one else around us. We continued along our way to find our fishing spot. Unfortunately, the Montana fishing license did not allow us to fish in Yellowstone but will allow us to fish anywhere else in Montana including Glacier National Park. At the suggestion of the man at the fishing shop, we looked for Lake Hebgen just outside Yellowstone. Malcolm and the children fished, I took photos, Opa napped and listened to Elvis, and Oma ordered everyone else around. Everyone had a good time. We finished off our leftover sandwiches and went back to our lodge.

Wandering down the Madison River
Daddy and Oma looking for fish in the river

The children busy trying to catch grasshoppers

This went on for a while...

One last look before leaving the Yellowstone
Our fishing spot

Malcolm showing Jonah the ropes

The children learnt very quickly

As soon as one went in...

...more were sure to follow

As I type, Opa and Oma have gone off to buy some chow mein, Malcolm has just returned after hanging out with the locals and the children have just fallen asleep. It is time to pack up and start the next leg of our journey.