Sunday, September 09, 2012

Episode 16: The Rising Sun

Kootenai Falls
We approach West Glacier in the late afternoon via treacherous highway 2. Some clouds with mild weather. We eat at the taco truck by the name of "The Wandering Gringo" and it doest indeed wander- south to Arizona (maybe that's why their tacos are darn good). The Apgar Village is recommended to us by bicycle path located at the mouth of Lake MacDonald. Canadians are our neighbors and share original Coors (the good kind, and stuff that can't be had in Canada) and good stories up to the night.

A highlight, if not the crowning jewel of the Northern Tier of the Adventure Cycling Association route is Glacier National Park. The look people get when one mentions Glacier, something happens- they swoon, or their eyes focus into the distance, or become animated, telling you the best hike to a lake or pass they've been to. It has become, for some, a place to be one with nature, become a place to go to for spiritual enrichment, become a place to be awed, inspired, fulfilled, and nourished. So I thought, "ok nature, show me: do your best."

The Highway to the Rising Sun. Sounds epic. Going-to-the-sun highway is the actual name but it doesn't roll of the tongue quite well.We set off by eight o'clock on a freezing morning. They close the only road that goes through the park to cyclists because it's a two lane road that has practically no shoulder when two-wheeled velocipedes carrying person and pack would certainly be secondary to motorists because of the view. A picture is worth a thousand words? Well, these will be the grandest thousand for a while:

The ascent took 4 hours (for me) to get to the top. We took pictures and did the tourist thing at Logan Pass, located at 6,646 feet above sea level. After descending into Rising Sun to set up camp, we met with Graham, an old high school buddy who tours people around St. Mary Lake, the second largest lake in Glacier to Lake Macdonald. The next day we spend lunch at Piegan Pass after getting to St. Mary Lake, a 4.5 mile hike that ascends 1,750 feet higher while a little creature's curiosity nagged our picnic of chili and rice.

After spending a week in Minneapolis, Kyle got a call for a potential job offer and had to head home. He made it to Washington by train safely and wish him well in the real world. So I'm on my own starting tomorrow, heading into Wisconsin in anticipation for the Great Lakes. I'll miss you Kyle. The one thing I've learned is that it's the journey that matters, not the destination. And so part two of the journey starts tomorrow.

Until next time.

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