The state and Federal campgrounds were fully occupied July 5th and 6th, but we were not among their occupants. Fortunately the Kalispell Wal*Mart had a few openings. We camped there those nights, reloaded our provisions and bought a small, highly portable charcoal grill. Wal*Mart is nothing less than a life-saver for full-time RV’ers.
Glacier is but 40 miles north of Kalispell. We set up at a commercial campground a mile from the west gate of the park. Unlike most for-profit campgrounds, this one is heavily wooded with decent spacing between sites. We have full hookups, and aside from Amtrak and the helicopters, it’s very peaceful. The trains like to come through between 6 and 8 a.m. The choppers fly anytime there’s a paying customer; it seems that they do a pretty good business at Glacier.
Sunday afternoon we did some internet research and came up with a plan. The Park Service operates free shuttles between July 1 and Labor Day. These buses cover Going to the Sun Road and, like the pilot on your next commercial flight, none of their current drivers have been killed in the line of duty. There’s a difference between that and good, but when your fuel costs nothing and somebody else who knows the road does the driving, it’s good enough.
Today we rode the shuttles to Logan Pass, the halfway point on Going to the Sun. The scenery is splendid, and the only knock I have for the shuttle program is that they are not allowed to stop at overlooks for photos. Many of these pics were taken through the bus windows, but a few including this boy, were taken outdoors at Logan Pass. He was telling Kat how close his grandpa came to landing the title role in Groundhog Day, or something. Language barrier, you know.
On the way back we got a good look at mama mountain goat and her kid, and a million wildflowers. The springtime waterfalls are everywhere, and here it’s still spring. The mountains, streams, and forests are absolutely beautiful, even from a shuttle.
On the return trip our shuttle passed within two fingers of a road-hogging RV. Our driver didn’t give an inch, and the RV’er flinched at the last second. We heard our driver note under his breath, “Guy can’t handle his rig!”