Saturday, August 22, 2015

Glacier National Park East

August 17 - 18, 2015:

Monday morning we leave Apgar campground and head to the East side of Glacier Park to the Two Medicine Lake Campground.  The ride on route 2 follows the southern perimeter of Glacier National Park along the Middle fork of the Flathead River and then Bear Creek within sight of the original Great Northern Railroad.  It’s now the BNSF, (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad) which is a vibrant freight railroad with impressive bridges, trestles, tunnels and snow sheds. We then entered the Blackfoot Indian reservation which covers 1.5 million acres and then the town of East Glacier at the park entrance.

Entering the reservation

Twinkles again arrives before me to grab a first come-first served campsite fast as possible.  It is another dry campsite for $10 a night with a stunning view!  This area of the Glacier Park is not as crowded as the East side, that’s fine with me.

Campsite view

Two medicine Lake in front of our campsite

Boat tour on lake

Time for reflection

We take a ride back to the town of East Glacier near the Glacier National Park entrance.  It is small but has a number of interesting shops, restaurants, an old general store and many places selling huckleberry pie.  Huckleberry pies and pastry of all sorts are a hot item here and rightly so.  The other local fruit that is superb here is Flathead cherries that thrive along the local Lakes, in particular Flathead Lake.  We bought a bag from a vendor on the street who told us it was his last day, done for the season.

The Trading Company and downtown East Glacier

Huckleberry Pie for strength ?

Blackfoot Indian sculpture

Back at the campground we take a very short hike to Running Eagle Falls with its fascinating indian legend.   Later in the afternoon, we take another hike to Appistoki Falls, making lots of noise to ward off the any bears.  We are quite paranoid at this time, but to cheap to buy a $40 bear spray canister.

Running Eagle Falls, during spring flow it
flows down from the top also

Joining the campground is a general store which originally was the dining room of the Two Medicine Chateau, built in 1914. It is the only portion of the original park complex still remaining and is another classic structure and a good store.  President Roosevelt did a radio broadcast from there on a visit to the National Park.

The Two Medicine Lake general store

The weather is simply not be agreeable, cold and cloudy so we head back downtown to visit the old East Glacier Train Depot which is still serviced by the Amtrak Empire builder line from Chicago to Portland.  We are there as the train arrives and thinking a train adventure would be a cool diversion from RV’ing for a while.  The Depot, built in 1914, is in near original condition except for the wonderful historical displays, photos and paintings.

The East Glacier train depot and the "Empire Builder"
still stops there, one east bound and one west each day

Old photos inside the depot

A promotional Ad for the Empire Builder

Another Great Northern Advertisement

We went to an evening ranger talk in the campground on birds which was not what we expected.  The Ranger put on an incredible show, so much personality, audience particpation, comedy and wit.  We really didn’t learn that much about birds, but I kept thinking, this guy has so much talent, could be another Robin Williams, he should be an actor or comedian not a ranger.   

Across the road is the East Glacier Hotel, built in 1912, the first Hotel in the chain at Glacier Park.  Our timing was great, we were just in time for a guided tour that was most interesting.  The Hotel has these massive 500 year old (when cut down) tree trunk supports for the central Lobby and the building is a work of art. They had great historical exhibits and photos, mostly done by one man, another local hero.  The exhibit on Gladys Johnson's diary entries while waitressing at the Lodge with her friend Lenore from 1926-27 were precious, wish it was compiled into a book.

The East Glacier Hotel

Interior view 

Gladys Johnson's Adventure

I feel this way at times

Glacier National Park has been great, but it’s now time to start heading south.
Next stop is Great Falls, Montana,
Twinkles and Slick

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