Sunday, September 12, 2010

Glacier Natl. Park

Days 20-22

I drove north towards Kalispell, MT to stay the night with Susie and Tom on my way to Glacier the next day.  The drive through Kalispell led me past Ovando, MT, which is where I had my first job with Paul Roos Outfitters back when I was 16.  Anyway, after about 3-4 hrs, and seeing lots of deer, I made it.  Their living situation is perfect: they live in an airport community comprised of airplane owners who live around a mile long runway and fly as often as they like--unless of course it rains.  I had a nice evening getting to know them better, we had a nice dinner and I slept extremely well due to a ridiculously comfortable bed.  

The next morning, Susie spoiled me with a full blown egg, bacon, and blue berry pancake breakfast while Tom shared valuable map/route info with me.  I ended up leaving their place with a rain check to see Glacier from the sky since it was raining!  As I was driving to the park, I came across a luscious portion of the South Fork of the Flathead River and HAD to pull over and try it. 

I took 7 Cutthroats with dries in an hour.  
As soon as I entered the park, I bought a pass into all National Parks in the US (including AK) since I had already racked up a tab towards the $80 pass that is good for a year.  It was a bit unlucky that it was extremely cloudy, which kept me from seeing most of the glaciers; regardless, Glacier Natl. Park was by no means underwhelming.  There were glacial streams that were the cleanest and clearest I have ever seen, there were peaks that sliced sharp wedges into the clouds.  In some places, the clouds would fall into a tall mountain bowl.  Picture mountains that form a half circle while clouds sneak down into the bowl/valley that they created only exposing the peaks through the clouds.  
Incredible clarity.
Thats me.
The sun came out just in time to create a rainbow. 
Cloudy pista.  

That night, I met a cool couple from San Fransisco: Matt & Lauren, who are in the middle of a year long trip around the world.  It was neat because they had come down the same route that I was heading North on and it was fun to chat with people my age.  That night,  I made Ravioli for dinner and did some reading on the border crossing while it rained.  I was using my new tent that Bug and Randy got me and it worked like a champ since I remained dry.  

The next morning, I decided to take Matt & Lauren to one of the nearby lakes and teach them how to fly fish.  It was an unproductive morning, which may have been affected by the heavy weather system from last night, but it remained fun to teach them for a short while one of my passions.  Glacier Natl. Park was incredible, but there is much to see on my next trip. 

As soon as I left the US and entered Canada, I began to notice how different their country is.  Gas is sold by cents/litre, radio stations play French music, and their accent is special.  Adjacent to a highway was Olympic Drive, which is where there is a Long Ski Jump and Half Pipe courses.  Calgary is not the largest metropolis, but from what I have gotten used to on this trip, it was massive.  Driving through downtown Calgary was funny since I was in my dirty and loaded 4Runner. My first stop was Fish Tales Fly Shop.  

I was getting info on where to float the river in a one man pontoon, but the shop, to my luck, had no river maps for sale.  One of the weathered looking guys named Todd, drew me a schematic of the river, what the take out was like, and gave me superior fishing advice.  I asked him what he was doing the next day while proposing that I would row half the day so he too could fish.  What was a mere shot in the dark, actually happened.  Tomorrow, thanks to Todd's generosity I happened to convince him to take me floating on the world class Bow River with his wife for an 8 hour float!!   

Afterwards, I met up with Javi's sister Monica and Richard in Calgary, where I was kindly taken in.  I am finding that these bouts of kindness have really made my trip stupendous, honestly, thanks to all of you.  Monica and Richard (and their baby) made a delicious BBQ dinner with beers and then I  got to stay in a separate guest apartment and crashed for the night.

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