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Off-trail

Day 57: East Glacier Park

The next morning we slept in pretty late. It was cool, the windows were wide open, we had two fans blowing. And we were in no hurry.

We decided that instead of parting ways in Many Glacier, I would go with Mama to East Glacier Park and stay at the historic Glacier Park Lodge, and then she would bring me back to Many Glacier in the morning. Otherwise, I would just have been staying in the Many Glacier campground with nothing in particular to do.

We packed up and left at checkout time and not a moment before, lying around in the cool morning air and eating breakfast in the room. We took the route to East Glacier Park that would take us past Two Medicine Road so we could go up to see Two Medicine.

It was about an hour’s drive down with only brief stops to look at the scenery and let the rangers at the gate know we weren’t carrying fireworks into the park.

Just inside the park, we stopped at Running Eagle Falls and did a short 0.3 mile hike to the falls. It was a very clever waterfall with separate stacked falls, one behind and below the other. I wouldn’t have even thought it was possible. But it was not nearly as impressive as Apikuni. Also, the story of the warrior-woman Running Eagle, who had been buried in a tall tree overlooking that falls, was perhaps more interesting than the falls itself.

We proceeded into the Two Medicine Campground and found a nice spot in the group campsite for a picnic. (It had been set aside for day use for the Fourth of July weekend.) We had a bit of shade and a view of the creek right next to where the CDT passed, so I technically walked on part of the CDT at one point. I’m not going to count it as trail miles though. We could also see families of ducks floating by. And some bighorn sheep.

After lunch, we swung by the camp store and I got some huckleberry cider and huckleberry flavor Wiley Wallaby’s for a snack. We talked with some other tourists from Indiana on the deck beside the store.

It was already well into afternoon, so it was time to get on down to East Glacier Village to check in to the lodge. It was only a few minutes away. After checking in, we went across the street to the Glacier Park Trading Post to drop off my resupply package and grab some drinks for the evening. We made it back to the hotel in time to move all our stuff up to our room and then take the hotel historic tour with the bellman. He was clearly interested in the history but didn’t have quite all the details straight yet. Still it was fun to banter with him and ask him things he didn’t know.

Later on, a bit of research indicated there was an inn for backpackers behind the Mexican restaurant across the street, and since none of the places I tried calling about accommodations when I came back through were answering, we decided to go ask the Mexican restaurant in person. We walked across the street, asked the bartender, found out the cabins behind the restaurant had been converted to employee housing when the restaurant had changed owners, and got on the list to eat there.

We got a table on the back patio sooner than expected given how busy they were, and the food was actually amazing. Great portion sizes. I had the “Plato El Jefe” (Boss’s Favorites), including a chile relleno, an enchilada, and a rare asada steak. Mama had an enormous taco salad. We split a quesadilla as an appetizer. Mama actually had a house margarita on the rocks since we weren’t driving. I tasted it. It was perfect.

As we walked back to the hotel into the setting sun, trying and failing to get pictures of the lodge because of the backlight, we could here the distant pops of fireworks getting started. Later on, in our room, with the sun fully set, we retired to our private balcony to see what fireworks we could see. (I also had to finish my last Huckleberry Blonde Ale and the last of my huckleberry pie.) We ended up staying up until 11pm with all the light and noise out there.

But that wasn’t going to prevent me from getting back on the trail as early as possible the next morning.

Miles hiked: 0.6 (it totally counts!)

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