November 14, 2016: After Yellowstone, we found ourselves guided through Montana by three different sets of friends.
We left Yellowstone through the town of West Yellowstone, the closest town and major gateway to the park. From there, we headed north towards the nearby community of Big Sky.
Along the way, we took a walk along this river. Montana has no shortage of incredible scenery. [click to enlarge]
In Big Sky, we spent a long weekend with Minnesota friends Lee and Jennifer. They hosted us in their Montana home and showed us around a place that they love. Big Sky is best known as a ski area. While the ski resort is closed in the summer, you’ll still find a beautiful and tranquil place with lots of amazing hiking, good food and beer and excellent company. (your company may vary)
Here are some photos from a hike that we all took. There was a lot of uphill! [click to enlarge]
From Big Sky we drove to Hamilton, Montana on the west side of the state. There we visited new friends Kathe and Bonnie, who we met last winter while in Mahahual. We will tell you more about them in December. Again, the scenery on the way and in Hamilton was incredible.
After Hamilton, we traveled to Whitefish, Montana, just outside of Glacier National Park. Michael’s brother Ryan happened to have some work to do in Whitefish and we decided to go meet him.
On October 6th, the three of us headed into Glacier National Park.
Glacier borders Canada, and yes, it has glaciers (though not as many as it used to).
We made our first stop in the park at Lake McDonald.
Lake McDonald sits at the western edge of Glacier, on the Going to the Sun Road. The Going to the Sun road winds across the mid-section of the park, peaking in elevation at Logan Pass (6646 ft / 2025 m). This high elevation portion of the Going to the Sun Road is closed for a good chunk of the year because of snowfall. It usually doesn’t open until June or July, and closes again in mid-October.
The early portion of our drive took us through cloudy fall weather. [click to enlarge]
But as we approached the pass, things changed dramatically. [click to enlarge]
When we reached Logan Pass, we encountered a full on winter wonderland. Getting out of the car (Ryan’s rental, thankfully not the van), the ranger warned us that the road could close at any minute because of the weather, and that if we went off hiking we were in danger of getting trapped on the mountain. We kept our hike short. [click to enlarge]
The was October 6th. It continued to snow, and the next day the road was closed for the season.
As we descended, the weather returned to fall. [click to enlarge]
Though he was driving, Ryan the hunter spotted these mountain goats.
The scenery on the way down continued to amaze. [click to enlarge]
We found this glacial pool incredibly beautiful. [click to enlarge]
It was a very quick trip into Glacier, a park we spent more time in many years ago. It is a very beautiful park we highly recommend.
Back in Whitefish, we stumbled upon the town’s Oktoberfest celebration.
There was good food, some free beer, contests like cross-cut sawing and stein holding, and of course, there was polka dancing. What more could you ask for?!? [click to enlarge]
That’s it for Montana. We’re heading west. Thanks for visiting!