Yep, this time again we leave not really on time and quite not organized. We just know one thing: there, exacty where we are headed, at Glacier National Park in Montana, USA, there is a big, still uncontrolled fire and the road between the park is closed, so we will have to turn around all of it to see both the sides. It does not scare us at all, rather it fires us up, it’s an added adrenaline rush.
But before leaving for good, we still need to do our groceries and gas up and once we finally drive southbound past Calgary, towards the state boundary, the sunset has already begin.
We don’t stop too much, it is a road we unfortunately have already driven, northbound, just one week ago, coming back from the Bar U Ranch and the southern part, from Black Diamond to Crowsnest Pass, we have driven it with our friend Luca during the first day of our first canadian Road Trip Canadese, driving to Waterton National Park.
Right in this part of our trip, driving through the nice town of Black Diamond – the name is not out of chance it seems – in its major crossroad, two big unleashed dogs decide to try and hit us: we dodge them at last second and just slightly brush against them with no damage for anybody, if not a heart attack for Attilio who was driving.
We then drive to Crowsnest Pass, but not before last-second dodging another accident, with a deer this time, somewhere around Frank, a peculiar town about which I have already told you here. Worn out by the too many close encounters of the day, we stop in a big lay-by, a quick dinner and it is finally time to try our new bed with wheels!
The night is long and noisy, we have decided to stop in a lay-by used by truck drivers and one of them, clearly driving some perishables, has parked back of us and has left the engine on all night long. Now, sleeping with the noise of a truck engine on the whole night, is not particularly enjoyable. We have to learn to find some more hidden places.
But the tiredness is soon forgotten, the amazing scenery rolling by the road get us distracted enough and in one hour or so we are at the custom, with the usual fear of giving the wrong answer and being rejected. Just some questions, two stamps on our passports and we are in Montana!
Just stepping over the boundary, one of the biggest american myth is ready to welcome us: Harley Davidson and real riders dressed in leather and jeans, on their noisy and vintage and amazing motorcycles.
We arrive at the entrance of Glacier National Park, at West Glacier, with our eyes full of miles and miles of amazing routes which we would never stop to drive.
First stop well known by now, the Visitor Center. But we actually find out it is a promo center of Parks Canada and only give advices on the parks behind the border. We already know a lot about that, we come from ther you know! So we drive a little bit more to Apgar town, where we finally find what we were searching…just to be told that all the campgrounds on the main road are full.
So they lead us on the west-side of the park, along the boundary of it, towards Quartz Creek Campground.
We drive past Polebridge, with its only shop and last human outpost before entering the wildside of the park. Once driving past this building, one enters the dirt roads which lead to the few primitive campgrounds, primitive which means they have zero comfort, included no drinkable water.
We drive another hour to reach Quartz Creek Campground where we pitch our tent, pay with the usual self-service system and receive, unusually, a visit by the ranger who is patrolling around and check all the campsites to be paid. We have a nice chat with her – yes, the ranger is a tough woman.
Our day is still long to be ending, so we drive again towards Polebridge, turning this time to Bowman Lake.
Cooled by the dive and tired after the drive and the stroll along the lake, we enjoy an apple on the shore, in the last hot sun rays and we relax, we relax so much that we fall asleep and we end up having a nice nap.
We are a little bit envious of the couple who has a particular view from the center of the lake, from their indian-style canoe, but sadly we have arrived too late to rent one.
We just lay here and stare, getting as close as we can. We end up staying here for an hour or so, fascinated by the many shades of blue of the sky and the waters.
We are not the only one on the shore, there is also a much better organized old couple, which has an enviable frontline seat, far away from our lame towel on the pebbles. It’s a shame we have not find any place in the campground near here, but our too is not too bad for the night and we have already have sight on the fountain which will fill our bottle with drinkable water for the night.
And it is finally time to go back to our tent. We don’t want to set up our dinner and eat in the dark, so at the first signs of sunset, we get back on the windy, gravel road which will lead us back to the camground. But before arriving, we stop to enjoy a marvellous view of the valley from above.
Unfortunately, a light haze of smoke waters the bright colour of the sky and the nature, but it gives us amazing sunset on fire on the other hand.
Once we are back at the campground, it is time for dinner. It does not take too long though, our super fast stove quickly gives us an asian bbq risotto – it is spicy and well mixed with some noodles, a camping delicacy! – and on the lyrics of Mountains by Emeli Sandè, we fill our bellies, our eyes too full already after all what we have seen today.
We go to sleep then, we have deserved a good night sleep and the few neighbours can’t be heard at all. In the deep silence of the woods, interrupted by some lone twitting of some birds, we get asleep, dreaming about the valleys and mountains which are waiting for us tomorrow, in the Glacier National Park, finally discovering Montana, USA.