One week ago we left Calgary, a city which ended up being a really pleasant surprise. We had a few great meals close to our very hip AirB&B near 17th Ave, one of which was the Calcutta Cricket Club, who really nailed it with the interior bar design
We also went for a beautiful bike ride along the river, hit some tennis balls with the Wiffle ball bat that Gates insisted on bringing along for the ride, and had lunch in a nearby park before hitting the road east to Dinosaur Provincial Park. Here’s a pano of the city/riverscape in the distance, and a photo of me after winning a very competitive dongball hit-off (what can I say – I can swing harder than my husband…..)
Along the drive we saw lots of this
And a little bit of this
Dinosaur Provincial Park was like a little South Dakota Badlands with more dinosaur bones than “anywhere else in the world of comparable size.” Apparently paleontologists used to say that if you couldn’t throw your hat and hit a dinosaur fossil, you weren’t in Dinosaur Provincial Park. We were most certainly in Dino, yet when we threw our hats we didn’t hit fossils….. We did do some nice hikes along some very strange and beautiful terrain filled with eroding mounds and hoodoos. Gates, of course, found the highest peak and scrambled up it. This is him looking particularly itty bitty at the top.
We also drove the scenic loop, walked the gorgeous riverside Cottonwoods trail and made a quick stop in the visitors center where we learned about the Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush at the beginning of the century. We actually slept in our tent that night since the temps weren’t getting too low and there was no rain in the forecast, but before hittin’ the hay a lovely older Canadian couple took pity on us and adopted us into their heated camper to drink wine and chat about our respective road trips (they were driving the reverse trip)
The next morning we headed southwest back into the US and to the east side of Glacier National Park – the Many Glaciers portion, and the only portion that isn’t pretty much completely on fire. We set up camp, aka parked our car and laid our sleeping bags out in the back of the Rav, then headed off for a little exploration of the Many Glaciers Hotel (a great big old beautiful wooden monstrosity that recently closed for the winter) and the Swift Current Lake loop, where we saw big horned sheep roaming the deserted grounds of the hotel and 3 moose foraging for mossy morsels in the lake
The next morning we drove to the East Glacier/St Mary’s entrance where we drove part of the Going to the Sun Road, which is known to be one of the most beautiful drives in the West. At Logan pass, 17 miles from the entrance, the road was closed because of the fires, so we parked and hiked a few miles to the Hidden Lake Overlook and out and around the Hidden Valley Trail, where we could see the smoky valleys in the distance
And finally, we drove back out of the park and down and around to yet another entrance, the West Glacier/Apgar entrance, where we’d be staying in our AirB&B cabin for the next 2 days. If it weren’t for the fire, we could have just drove the roughly 50 mile stretch of Going to the Sun Road straight through the park to get to the other side, but since the road was closed at mile 17, we had to drive 105 miles out and around.
That night we ate a really shitty burger at the Packers Roost, which had a B- health code rating displayed under the TV behind the bar. It was packed. Apparently people don’t care about health codes. Waking up early the next morning, we drove over to Bowman Lake where we did an 11 mile, 2,930 vertical foot steady climb up the Numa Ridge Trail, which gave us a non-smoky view of Mt Carter and Rainbow Peak. We also ate disgustingly delicious BLT wraps with a ton of mayonnaise.
When we left Glacier National Park we had traveled over 3,600 miles since leaving SF, yet we hadn’t made it past Montana…… So now with a hard stop deadline approaching, the heat is on to cover some serious mileage before Friday, Oct 6th when we need to be in Lancaster, PA. So we hit the road super early on Saturday morning for a 9+ hour drive to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. I’m pretty sure Gates just wanted to go there because ND was one of 3 states he hadn’t been to, but nonetheless, it was a good middle stopping point and a very cool badlands environment where we hiked through prairie dog towns, saw buffalo, wild horses, deer and antelope, forded the Little Missouri River, and got another good night’s sleep in the back of the car (I’m getting used to this…..)
Sunday is followed by Monday which means we needed to make it to a reasonably sized city with reliable internet where Gates could set up all of his monitors and work in peace, so we drove another long ass day, crushing Game of Thrones all the way to Minneapolis.
1,600 miles to go before Lancaster, because of course we’re not going to take the direct route. Instead, we’re going back up to Canada to catch another province and drive around the north side of Lake Superior. There will be border crossings, there will be ferries, there will be cold frosty nights in our car. Stay tuned.