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Thread: Glacier and Banff, Part 1: Heading to GlacierNP

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    Fly fishing fan eagle_rutherford's Avatar
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    Glacier and Banff, Part 1: Heading to GlacierNP

    I thought I would re-post a report that I put on the BMWST.com forum in September. Apologies to those who may have seen it already.

    This was the longest and best trip that my wife Eileen and I have taken so far (we have only been touring for about 5 years). Due to my propensity for taking lots of photos, and that fact that there is a limit of 20 photos per post, I have broken the report up into 4 parts. I hope this doesn't break any posting etiquette, but I couldn't decide what pictures to remove! Here is part 1 - Heading to Glacier NP:

    ----------------


    It was our 30th anniversary this summer, so we decided to take a nice trip north. It seems that Glacier National Park is the place to go this year. There are several people posting about trips to that area. Here's our story...

    Since we have seen lots of Wyoming before, we didn't make many stops while we made our way toward Montana. Besides, it was REALLY hot, and there isn't a lot to see in central Wyoming besides sage brush and antelope.



    But we did find this historical point of interest rather interesting. According to the sign, wagon trains could stop here to get ice, which was about a foot under the dirt and marshy grasses. The ice stayed around into late June or early July.




    We have also been to Grand Teton NP, and Yellowstone NP before, so we didn't need to spend much time at either of these parks on this trip. Besides, the smoke from all of the fires in the west this year made for lousy views. Here is what we saw of the Tetons from a distance. They are really striking up closer when the air is clear. Just not today.



    But the road up to Yellowstone has some nice scenery.




    In Yellowstone, we did stop for a short while at the Old Faithful Inn to look around, and took the obligatory picture of Old Faithful erupting.








    As we were leaving West Yellowstone in the morning, I decided that I had to do some fly fishing in a Montana river, so Eileen patiently sat under a tree and read a book while I splashed around in the Gallatin River. I did manage to catch a couple of trout, so mission accomplished.




    There is some beautiful Montana scenery between there and Glacier NP, but we were on a mission to get to Glacier and didn't stop much for photos. We were really happy to get there.

    Looking around Lake McDonald...



    The glacier-fed stream that empties into Lake McDonald was beautiful.





    It was getting late, but we took a quick run part of the way up the Going To The Sun Road just because we couldn't wait to get a taste of it.




    We stayed 4 nights in some cabins in Hungry Horse, a few miles outside of the west entrance to the park. My nephew Alan, who lives in the Seattle area, rode his motorcycle to Glacier and spent a couple of days exploring the park with us.

    We decided to have a relaxed day, since we were all a bit tired from traveling. So we did the short "Trail of the Cedars" hike.





    The park facilities were very well kept, and they had flowers beds everywhere.



    I liked the old park tour vehicles that have been refurbished, and are being used today.



    In the afternoon, we took a boat ride on Lake McDonald.






    Coming next: Part 2 - Exploring Glacier
    Kevin
    2004 R1150RT

  2. #2
    Fly fishing fan eagle_rutherford's Avatar
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    Glacier and Banff, Part 2: Exploring Glacier

    Part 2 - Exploring Glacier


    The next day, we headed up the GTTS road to Logan Pass. There was a little smoke in the air, but it seemed to be clearing up.





    These were all over the place, and I believe they are Western Anemone seeds. I liked to call them the "Dr. Seuss plants" because they remind me of something that would be in a Dr. Seuss book.



    We took a short hike along the Highline Trail, which cuts across the cliffs above the road. The views were amazing.





    One section is carved out of the cliff, and is only a few feet wide. There is a cable to hold on to, for safety. Eileen did go on it, but she did NOT like it!




    Then we rode down to the east side of the park and looked around a bit in the Many Glacier area. But there was so much smoke that the views were not as good as they usually are.

    The next day we went back up to Logan Pass, and hiked the other main trail at the top, the Hidden Lake Trail. The first 1.5 miles of the trail go to an overlook spot above Hidden Lake, and is extremely popular. There were LOTS of people on that part. The last 1.5 miles of the trail go down the other side to the lake itself, and Eileen and I opted not to do that part. But while I was busy taking photos, Alan headed down to the lake. He said it was worth it.

    One of the reasons that I was taking so long on the first half of the trail was that the scenery was so fantastic, and I was taking lots of photos. There were lots of flowers. Did I mention that I took lots of photos?











    While we were standing there, these mountain goats came wandering through the fields.













    Views of Hidden Lake from the overlook were fantastic. And there were even more goat visitors.





    It was a spectacular day.

    The last night in the area, we met Mike Cassidy (MikeRC) and his wife Linda for dinner one night. They happened to be in the area for the weekend. It was great to get together with them, and we had a good time. Thanks again, Mike! And thanks for all of the good advice on routes, lodging, and everything else.


    Coming next: Part 3 - Heading to Banff National Park
    Last edited by eagle_rutherford; 01-19-2014 at 06:18 PM.
    Kevin
    2004 R1150RT

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    Fly fishing fan eagle_rutherford's Avatar
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    Glacier and Banff, Part 3: Heading to Banff National Park

    Part 3 - Heading to Banff National Park

    After Glacier, Alan headed home and Eileen and I headed north. We took Rt 93 across the border into British Columbia, and through Kootenay NP and a little of Route 1 up to Lake Louise. I'm glad we had plenty of fuel as we entered Kootenay NP, as there didn't appear to be any place to get more between Radium Hot Springs and Route 1.

    The weather was a bit rainy and cool, especially in the more northern stretches.



    The next morning, it was still cloudy and spitting a little rain, so we decided to stick around the Lake Louise area, and explore the Icefields Parkway the next day, which was supposed to have a bit nicer weather. So we took a quick look at Lake Louise, which was a bit socked in, but still nice.




    But my favorite is actually Moraine Lake. We took the short hike up to the overlook, and stalked a pika. And yes, the water really does look like that when the sun is shining on it which it did only for a short time while we were there.





    We had lunch at the Lake Louise Historic Railway Station and Restaurant. It has been converted into a restaurant, and is decorated with antique railway items. It was quite nice.







    The next day was a little sunnier, so we headed up the Icefields Parkway. The scenery is just fantastic.





    We stopped at the famous Peyto Lake overlook, and had to deal with huge busloads of foreign tourists, waiting our turn to get to the edge of the overlook. But this is another of my favorite views. The milky blue water is due to all of the glacial silt that is in the water.



    The scale of things along the Parkway is what amazes me. And there are lots of views of snow fields and glaciers.



    At one of the scenic viewpoint stops, there was a short trail down to a lake, and we saw these guys (or should I say gals).



    And the lake itself was beautiful, in a great setting.



    We had to stop at Nigel Creek, in honor of Kathy R and her dog Nigel...



    We only went as far north as the Icefield Centre, which is at across the road from the large Athabasca icefield. You can sign up for a "glacier tour", where they take you out on a glacier bus, and you can get out and walk around a bit on the glacier. In the photo below, you may be able to spot several glacier buses out on the ice. In the interest of time, and the fact that I have done this once before, we didn't take the ice tour.







    Before we left the next morning, I had to take another quick look at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.






    Coming next: Part 4 - The trip home
    Last edited by eagle_rutherford; 01-19-2014 at 06:18 PM.
    Kevin
    2004 R1150RT

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    Fly fishing fan eagle_rutherford's Avatar
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    Glacier and Banff, Part 4: The trip home

    Part 3 - Heading to Banff National Park

    After we crossed the border back into Montana, I saw this sign and just had to get a photo of the exit for "my" town.




    We took a slightly more easterly route home, and one of the interesting places that we stayed was the historic Grand Hotel in Big Timber, MT. Our room wasn't particularly historic looking, but the common areas were nicely decorated. We opted for a room with its own bath. There is a shared bathroom area for the rooms that don't have their own.



    I did a little more fly fishing in the morning, and while we were by the river, a pair of these guys came flying over in formation, and landed on the other side of the river. I believe they are Sandhill Cranes.



    Between Big Timber and Cody, we took the Beartooth Highway and the Chief Joseph Highway. It was rather cool and rainy there, so not many photos. But this one is from the Chief Joseph Highway.



    On the way home, we started using bed and breakfast spots, instead of hotels. One of the interesting ones was the Ferris Mansion, in Rawlins, WY. It was built from plans that were advertised in a catalog, and the owners have a copy of the original catalog. It was used for apartments for a while, but the current owner has turned it into a B&B.



    We had the "Gold Room"...



    The last scenic area we had left in this trip was the Snowy Range Scenic Byway that is between Saratoga WY and Laramie WY. I had seen signs for it many times when traveling on I-80, but never took the time to see it. It turned out to be quite pretty.





    On the way down from the pass, I had a "near moose". A very large bull moose came charging out of the woods on the left side of the road, galloped across about 40 feet in front of me, and disappeared into the woods on the right side. It wasn't so close that I was concerned for my safety, but I can tell you that the brakes work well. And man, those things are huge!

    This was the first 2-week trip that we had taken together since our honeymoon. We had a great trip, but were also glad to be back home.
    Last edited by eagle_rutherford; 01-19-2014 at 06:18 PM.
    Kevin
    2004 R1150RT

  5. #5
    Marine By Choice #188306
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    Nice report and great pictures. Thank you.

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    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Great pictures Thanks for posting.
    Lee 2011 K1300S
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    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    great report!
    We've been up in Glacier twice and ready to go again...always stunning.

    The near moose encounter line made me flinch...they are a fair size for sure
    anyways , thanks for the ride-a-long.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
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    Kindly curmudgeon W7lej1's Avatar
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    Thank you!

    Thanks for the report and the photos. Wonderful country, I live a lot closer and do not get to go there nearly as often as I would like.

    Regards,

    Marty
    Marty in Spokane Valley, WA

    '79 R65 - the rolling running project bike
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  9. #9
    Fly fishing fan eagle_rutherford's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments. It was definitely a fun trip.
    Kevin
    2004 R1150RT

  10. #10
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Really enjoyed your report and photos. Thanks for posting.
    Terence
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    Thanks!

    Enjoyed your write up and pics. Your report whetted my appetite for a ride to Glacier I'm planning to do this summer.

    R/Jim

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    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting. That is some very nice photography. And I especially like the fact that you didn't feel compelled to have a motorcycle in every picture!
    Dan

  13. #13
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eagle_rutherford View Post
    ...I have broken the report up into 4 parts. I hope this doesn't break any posting etiquette, but I couldn't decide what pictures to remove!
    Kevin:

    This is the best way to do it, IMO, with a few days or a week between segments; you want to keep bumping the thread, and getting that view count up. Plus, doing road reports takes a lot of effort, and it's nice to spread the work out.

    Great report, and thanks for posting.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  14. #14
    lagator
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    Really enjoyed your ride report and great photos. My wife and I toured Glacier NP this summer on the way to the rally in Oregon. It was our third time there. Ths time we spent three nights at West Glacier and did the red bus tour all the way through the GTTS road and to Many Glacier Lodge and back. We stopped for lunch one day in Hungry Horse and ate at the large cafe and gift shop in town. First time I ever ate huckleberry pie and I'm hooked for life. We did the ice fields parkway by car from Jasper south in 2012 returning from an Alaskan cruise. Fantastic scenery everywhere. We didn't want to leave. We spent one night in Banff and thouroughly enjoyed the town. Athabasca falls south of Jasper were awsome. Thanks again for your report. We may have to drive through there again this june on the way back from another Alaskan cruise.

  15. #15
    Fly fishing fan eagle_rutherford's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who replied - I'm glad you enjoyed the report. It may be a while before we can manage to take another trip like that one.

    lagator, an Alaskan cruise sounds really nice, too!
    Kevin
    2004 R1150RT

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