Category - Glacier

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Back in the USA to Glacier National Park
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Jasper to Radium Hot Springs
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Jasper National Park

Back in the USA to Glacier National Park

Our time in Western Canada had come to an end, and it was time to cross border and head back into the US. We headed to the border crossing at Babb, and were soon in Montana. We stopped for a quick picture in front of a unique sculpture of horses made out of car parts, and sign for the Blackfoot Indian Nation. Hwy 89 would take us south through Babb and St. Mary, and the entrance to Glacier National Park, also called the Crown of the Continent. This would be the first time to Glacier for all of us, and the first time we went into a National Park this year, so it was time to buy our annual pass.  The good thing about the annual pass is it is good for two people (they make you both sign the card right then) and it gets both of us in, even if we are on separate bikes. The cost is currently $80, but if you are military you are free! Off we went on the appropriately named Going to the Sun Road. We used an app called Gypsy Guide while we rode through Glacier National Park. I highly recommend this app. It uses GPS and tells you when you are coming up on important things to look at, what side of the road it is on, what the parking situation might be, and if there is a hike. It even tells you how far and how long it might take you. The app plays automatically while you drive, and it even has some neat historical facts and info about the area. It didn’t take long for us to get some great views of Lake St Mary, more glaciers, and the Red Jammers. These are the red tour buses of Glacier Park. We stopped many times to take pictures of all the views, water falls, and more beautiful scenery.  The weather was fantastic and the sky was clear and blue. Our first major stop was at the Logan Pass Visitor Center, so we could go on the hike to Hidden Lake.  Make sure you plan to do this when you visit Glacier Park.  It is a little over 5 miles round trip, but so worth it.  It is steep in some areas, with boardwalk steps and stairs, but the payoff is waterfalls, streams, beautiful scenery and there is still snow on the ground for parts of the hike.  Bonus was seeing many mountain goats and a Hoary Marmot. I had never heard of this type of marmot before, and he was quite a character. We got a great shot of him in action as he paralleled the trail for quite a while. I just need to learn how to photoshop a superhero cape on this photo! It was slowly becoming a hot day, and we were in the sun for quite a while. We hadn’t planned well for lunch so all we had was some granola bars and some carrots. After the[…]

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Jasper to Radium Hot Springs

We woke up not knowing what today would bring, but boy did we have a variety of serendipitous things happen througout the day.  We first drove to Maligne Canyon, and on the way there we saw a group of 12 or so female and young elk, including what we thought were twins.  They were grazing along the side of the road eating the grass and flowers.  They were really taking their time, so we got to enjoy them peacefully moving about for quite a while. We continued on and soon learned that Maligne, which means means evil or wicked, is a gorgeous hike over 6 bridges that span a deep canyon  with water falls. We got there early enough to just miss the tour buses and tons of people, so off we went. The drive south was so much better today, and my sadness from yesterday was wiped away because it was so much clearer and we could actually see the mountains today. We took this opportunity and stopped many times and took lots of pictures to replace all the smokey ones. It really is a breathtaking view along this road.  For those of you familiar with Yosemite Valley in California, think of that but only twice as tall, twice as wide, and about as long as a third of the State of CA. Around another curvy mountain bend we saw huge group of mountain goats that kept running back and forth along the road. They seemed confused about which way they all wanted to go, and they held up traffic quite backed up for tourist to take photos. Soon we stopped to have lunch at Icefield Centre, and just as we walked into the restaurant and got in line the fire alarm goes off, and they completely evacuate the building.  (we later learned that the smoke from the grill was not going to the vent properly and it set off the alarm) We and hundreds of other tourists had to wait outside for 10-15 min while they made sure everything was OK.  When they let us all back in we basically made it almost to the front of the line, and quickly got food. We were then able to grab a table on the recently evacuated outdoor terrace. It was such a treat to sit outside in the sun, in full view of the glacier. The next thing that happened was almost a Twilight Zone experience.  I was driving the sidecar, and Frank had stopped to take a picture when all of a sudden I see a motorcycle and sidecar on the other side of the road. What really caught my attention was that it had a sidecar that opened like ours, and it looked they there were two kids!  I honked and we all waved at each other.  Then I thought we should go meet them.  Who else could be as crazy as us and travel around with their kids in a sidecar?  I asked the kids if they[…]

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Jasper National Park

The to do list for today was a long one. Our ride would be from Golden to Jasper, in Jasper National park.  I have to admit that today was not a good day.  I was pretty much miserably cold all day until about 3pm.  A major cold front had come down and even with many layers on I was freezing. I thought we would warm up as the day went on, but that didn’t happen.  We stopped at one point to dig out my heavy winter gloves and our rain jackets. That helped a bit. I even rode with my face covered, which generally annoys me, but I wanted more skin covered up. I hate being cold. In addition to the cold, I really let this dark thought cloud loom over me almost all day.  The smoke from the fires was so bad that we could barely see the mountains that were towering around us.  You could make out the shape and see some snow, but there was no blue sky.  I was cranky, the kids were cranky, and I was trapped in this negative attitude about how our vacation pictures were going to suck, and I would have to keep telling everyone how there is smoke in the sky. Plus did I mention I hate being cold? Our first major stop was the Saskatchewan River Crossing, a restaurant, gift shop, lodging and gas station. We welcomed the chance to stretch walk around and go inside out of the cold. They were making fresh popped popcorn, so we grabbed a welcome snack.  I knew we would be back here tomorrow, so I did some reconnaissance in the gift shop area as the side car needed more stickers. The road we were driving on is called the  Icefields Parkway ,which is about 230km.  Fun fact about the waters from the Icefield area: they flow to three different oceans: the Arctic, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Frank was great about pointing this out to us as we traveled.  We would go over a mountain pass and not so suddenly the rivers would be flowing in the opposite direction. He always notices those type of things. The Athabasca Glacier was our next stop and it is the only glacier on the Columbia Icefield accessible by road. It is located at the Icefield Center, and it is a huge tourist destination as you can actually walk on the glacier or ride a tram onto the ice.  We opted to park and walk up the path to the edge of the glacier. There were quite a few signs warning of the danger of not exploring past the ropes or the path. One sign was especially disturbing, as it yelled the tale of a 9 year old boy who died after the area of ice he was walking on collapsed and he fell into a crevase. People tried for 3 hours to get him out, but unfortunately he succumbed to hypothermia. I am always a bit nervous when we[…]

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