The High Country, Part 6

Our Sunday-afternoon trip north toward Glacier National Park was accompanied by a variety of interesting features, including the obligatory snow-capped mountain, but also some puzzling, if undeniably whimsical, historical signage at some of the rest stops:

DSC00963.JPGThe road took us east and then north, so we left the bosom of the mountains and instead headed over the high plains carved out by the Missouri River, but to our left, we could always see the peaks. We were also aware that the wind was rising, giving occasional nudges to the car as we came into open spaces. Around an hour north of Great Falls, we turned west and headed onto the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, a largely empty agricultural area; we'd known that the eastern side of Glacier was less popular with tourists, most of whom apparently come to the western side through Missoula or the Flathead Lake region, but this was by far the least populated area we'd yet come through on our travels. Soon, however, we had reached into the little town of East Glacier Park and our lodgings for the next two nights:

DSC01095.JPGThe Inn had a number of ground-level motel rooms, but also one larger cabin, which was where the three of us found ourselves. It had an interesting, funky, beach-house feel, with cabinets galore, hardwood floors, two big flatscreen TVs, wifi access, a nicely appointed kitchen, and a queen-sized bed for each of us:

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The only real problem, as you can see from the lower right picture, is that we were right across the street from the train station, and yes, a good many trains came through during the night. Several windows were also without blinds or curtains, which left Mom & Dad in particular feeling as though the room wasn't dark enough. (Admittedly, since they were in the room with all the sofas and the two beds, they had a lot more windows to worry about than I did.) Still, it was a comfy spot, and we made immediate use of the washer & dryer to get our laundry situation into better shape. The next morning we'd be going into the park proper, and we wanted to look our best.

Before retiring that night, we took care of our dinner needs at Luna's, a small diner up the hill past the tracks and toward the park, where we got that rarest of things: a restaurant staff that actually knew how to respond when Dad told them, "I'm allergic to garlic." Immediately, the waitress turned to Luna herself, who was sitting in the booth behind us, going over recipe cards, and before long she had produced a list of all the salad dressings, entrees and sides that Dad could safely eat. We'd already had one wait who failed to consider everything that garlic might end up in--on that occasion, we're fairly sure it was garlic in the side dish of hash browns that kept Dad up all night--but we were most gratified by both the food and the service at Luna's. (Yes, I tipped heavily.) They also had their own interesting signage:

DSC00964.JPG(I did not try the huckleberry pie, but I did enjoy a huckleberry iced tea.)

It had been a busy Sunday, but as I booted up my computer to total all the species I'd seen before bed, I was feeling some minor anxiety about the next day's birding. Despite the morning's varied and amazing sights, I was still in need of a life bird for the state of Montana, so I figured I'd have to be on my toes the next day... but as I tallied up everything I'd seen with David, I suddenly realized something. Though my life list did include two gulls I'd seen in California--Western and Heermann's--it did not actually contain the California Gull. And the first bird I'd actually identified at Warm Springs had been a California. I'd recorded a lifer without even noticing.

And the next day we'd be heading into our third national park for the trip, one containing everything from American Dippers to Great Grey Owls to grizzly bears.

NEXT: WHERE DIPPERS DARE
(or GOING-PARTWAY-TO-THE-SUN ROAD)

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on June 23, 2013 4:22 PM.

The High Country, Part 5 was the previous entry in this blog.

The High Country, Part 7 is the next entry in this blog.

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