NR11: Entrance to Glacier NP
Phil’s snoring solidly this morning around 5AM. That guy was tired! And I probably did the same! He finally stops and I go back to sleep until 7:30AM. I’m actually a little sore from the ride yesterday but not too bad. With no wifi, I mindlessly watch the one channel on TV: Sesame Street.
The three of us convene for breakfast across the street at the cafe here in Babb. As planned a few days ago in Sparwood, the ride today is a scant 10 miles to Glacier National Park, and thus we’ll get in some rest. We need it!
We’ll start by lounging here in the motel until 10:30AM. Back to Sesame Street. There is 1/2 hour episode mixing English and Spanish. Es divertido pero… Phil finds it a little tedious.
General store for snacks, but wow we find the prices very expensive. About double on everything – jacked up for national park tourism I guess. A can of V8 is all I can manage.
South towards St Mary. We battle a WSW headwind that is significant this morning, making the few small hills seem bigger. Once in St Mary, there is a c-store and then a regular sized supermarket that both have the same elevated prices, but at least the supermarket has better selection. Fig Newtons, Pop Tarts, a ham sandwich, bottle of cola, and chips for me. I’m thinking we are going to be sitting around all day with nothing much to do but eat. That package of Fig Newtons cost $8!
The gate to Glacier National Park takes in $15 per person. The Saint Mary Campground is just inside the gate and it’s only another $5pp for tenting in the hiker/biker site. That’s a pretty good deal and I’m happy to have a campsite here. It’s a nice wooded site near the Saint Mary River marked “No Vehicles.” Even this early it’s already crowded with tents, but there is enough room for us.
I set my tent up in a tight spot errantly, so that when I went to place my vestibule stakes they ended up inside the fire ring. Oops. I end up messing around for a while shifting the tent here and there to finally get it right.
We meet 2 Asian guys leaving who have been backpacking, and then meet a fellow touring cyclist Craig. Craig is a classic seasoned touring cyclist, sort of a combination of similar guys we’ve met in the past. Friendly. Talkative. Experienced and he wants you to know it. We dive into 30 minutes of conversation, of Tasmania and France and Australia. He’s almost too talkative, you know, and we finally have to break off with him. But a real friendly guy who’s done a ton of riding. Currently on a huge circular route around the US, now headed back to CA.
The weather is fantastic. Overcast, a little smoky, quite breezy, with winds from the west and south. We’re immediately glad we’re not trying to climb Logan Pass in these winds. And we wonder if the Minnesota foursome is up there battling it right now.
I hike around the camp loop as a diversion. The big tent in the photo below was downed by the high winds, and it looks like one of the tent poles is busted too. Bummer. Next to our site is a very cool wooden trailer, artfully sculpted from wood into an aerodynamic shape. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like it – looks handmade custom.
The three of us depart to the Visitors Center, mill around, then sit for a short movie about the park. Afterwards I got into a conversation with a clerk about randonneuring. So goes a rest day while on tour. Such simple diversions feel pretty damned good.
Back to the tents and we mix it with Craig some more, learning of his plan to stealth camp at the top of Logan Pass tomorrow night, something he’s always wanted to do. Eventually we decide to play a game of rock golf. What’s that? Well, I might say it’s a game to play when you are nearly out of ideas. Each of us selects a rock. One player selects a concise target on the ground. Then each player tosses his rock. Closest to the target wins a point. Winner then selects the next target and throws first. Repeat 18X.
The game gets pretty fun and we get into it, playing both long and short holes. A group of rangers passing though thought it was pretty funny. After 17 holes, the score sits at Phil 6, Jack 6, and Rich 5. The #18 target is the little triangle formed by the front of the picnic table (see photo). Phil takes aim and wins it, and the rest is rock golf history.
After a snack lunch we all decide a mid afternoon nap is in order. Winds are picking up and rains are threatening. Holy cow, our “afternoon nap” rather easily turns into 14 hours and a full night’s sleep. The rest day must really have been needed. Two more tenters from New York wedge into the site while we doze – but I barely hear them.
Today’s Ride: 10.9 miles
Today’s Climbing: 250 feet
More Stats: http://cyclemeter.com/
Tour Total So Far: 563.4 miles