Thursday, September 15 On to Canada!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

SUMMARY: We had a great all-U-can-eat breakfast at the Glacier Park Lodge and shared a table with Hotshot and Freebird, who are both superkind and wonderful young people.  We told them of our plan to just roadwalk to the Canada end of the CDT.  It will save us a lot of time, and bad weather is due in a couple of days.  Also, no hassles with getting campsite permits.  They thought we were being very sensible!

Then it was off to the post office to send home our trail food box, since now we don’t need it.  Turned out the PO had already sent it home–they only hold a box for 15 days.  Whew!   What could have been a serious problem (no box) ended up being “no problema.”

By 11:15, we were walking out of East Glacier, and did 19 miles by 7 pm.  There were gorgeous views all along the way–the road had lots of pullouts for cars to stop and look, too.  The Glacier Park mountains are just magnificent–huge and steep, with deep valleys, and snow still clinging to them from the last storm.  The fall foliage is more beautiful every day.

We camped tonight in a meadow off the highway.

DETAILS:   It was cold last night, but not as cold as up in the Bobs.  Our campsite behind the motel was fine–far enough away from the road that cars going by didn’t bother us at all.  We “slept in” till 6:30ish, then brave Fixit went across the street to where there are showers, and even though his only “towel” is a bandana, he took a shower anyway.  Brrrrr!   If it’s this cold, I need a real towel!  So I didn’t join him.

Then we walked over to the Glacier Park Lodge–we had heard glowing tales of their great AYCE buffet breakfast, and we were not disappointed!  We ended up sharing a table with Hotshot and Freebird, who are supernice.  They met on the CDT, and I think they rather like each other!  They are both hardworking, kind young people, and we wish them well.  All of us ate several platefuls of food.  I’m not sure the buffet people make any money off of thruhikers.

Then we went over to the post office to tell them to send our resupply box home, only to discover that they already did!  They are one of those post offices that goes “by the book”: they will only hold a box for 14 days, and on Day 15, they send it home.  Other P.O.’s on the trail are much more understanding, and will hold a box for a long time.  Another CDT hiker, who is planning to hike the trail through Glacier, also came in to get his box, and was told the same thing.  So now he is faced with finding a town source of food for 5 days of hiking.  Bummer for him, but no problema for us.  We are so glad we had decided to finish by roadwalking, or right now it would be really stressful.  Not only would we need to organize permits, but find 5 days worth of food.  Argh.

All I had to do was get enough food for our “first leg”, which is 32 miles to the village of St. Mary’s.  And we stopped by the Amtrak station to find out about getting tickets for the train ride home.  Looks like that will be “no problema” either.  Whew!  Thank you, Lord!

Then we went back to our “camp” and went through our packs, eliminating everything we don’t need anymore, reloaded, and were on our way by 11:15 am.  Hotshot and Freebird spotted us as we set out, and cheered for us!  That was very heartening!  According to the latest weather reports, looks like we will have 2 days of clear weather, then it’s rain & snow.   So even though we are roadwalking, we will still be racing the storm.

As we explained to Hotshot and Freebird, we have 3 reasons for choosing a roadwalk instead of the trail.  1) To save TIME–we really need to be home, so we can get the Awana Club up ‘n running.  2) The weather report is not good   3) The hassle of getting permits.

So we headed UP Highway 49, out of East Glacier.  It’s 12 miles of  narrow and windy road, and we had to jump over to the shoulder when cars came by.  Then it was Highway 89, which was broader and had a better shoulder to walk on.

Both highways had spectacular views, and plenty of pullouts where cars could stop, too, and admire the scenery.  To the west, the view was Glacier NP, with its dramatic steep mountains and valleys, still decorated with snow from the last storm.  There were lakes, too.  To the east, were rolling, brown, relatively flat high prairies. What a contrast!  And everywhere, we saw golden aspen trees and the red autumn leaves of huckleberries.  It was beautiful.

Meanwhile, as we walked along, there were clouds building up into a “thunderstorm configuration” and starting to rumble.  We could see rain falling, off to the east, and best of all, a RAINBOW.  I looked at that rainbow and remembered the rainbow we saw in Phoenix AZ back in April, on the day we started walking to the bus station to go to Lordsburg and the start of the CDT.  And I remembered God’s promise to me when I was in such despair in the snow before Pagosa Springs.  He said, “You WILL make it to Canada, and I will be with you.”  In the Bible, the rainbow is God’s sign that He would keep His promise that there would never be another Flood, but when I see a rainbow, I remember a song our daughter made up when she was only 3 years old:  “Rainbow, rainbow in the sky, shining, shining way up high–Rainbow, rainbow, I see you–you say God’s promise is true.”  So I was hiking along the highway, singing that to myself and rejoicing that we were almost to Canada, and God had taken care of us every step of the way.

I also learned something else in that long roadwalk–how to pass hikers when you are driving in a car.  If you see hikers on the road shoulder, and you have a clear view of the road up ahead, and can safely do it, move over to the other lane as you go by the hikers, and DON’T SLOW DOWN!  When cars slow way down to pass us, it just prolongs the agony of the moment.  It’s far better to move way over (if you can do so safely) and whiz past quickly.

We managed 7 miles more before 7:00 pm.  At that point, we found a dirt road off to the side that did NOT have a “No Trespassing” sign and walked up it till we were away from the highway and camped in a meadow on nice, soft grass.  That’s going to be very nice to sleep on, but the downside of meadows is the dew/frost at night.  We’ll see.  And we only have only a bit over 40 more miles to go.

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