West Glacier and Two Medicine – Our visit to the southern end of Glacier National Park

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At the end of our third week on the road, we left Grizzly RV in West Yellowstone.  We had a great visit to Yellowstone National Park, and made some great new friends, Steve Hull and Belinda Crandall from Arizona, who are both avid fly fishers.  I tried to have Steve commit to teaching me some of his fly fishing skills in the future. The photos of the trout he and Belinda catch are incredible.  He catches them, but doesn’t eat them…  If only I could have them shipped to our house.

Our Little Tiger Van (LTV) at West Glacier KOA

On the first day of our fourth week out we arrived at Glacier National Park in Montana. Glacier has been on our want to see list for many years and it certainly has not been disappointing. The beauty of this park is overwhelming. Even our campground, the West Glacier KOA, has been a beautiful location to park our Little Tiger Van and call home for awhile. We met another couple soon after arriving in West Glacier who made our time at the campground special – Charlie and Charlene Hart from Clearwater, FL. The weather was beautiful with lows in the upper 40’s and high temperatures around the mid 70s.

Like most visitors to Glacier National Park, we looked forward to traveling across the Going to the Sun Road.  We had to put these plans on hold during our stay in West Glacier because the road remained closed due to a high amount of snow still near Logan Pass at the top of the road.  

Avalanche Lake near West Glacier off Going to the Sun Road

We were able to travel the first 13 miles of the road to Avalanche Lake.  We hiked the 6 miles to view the lake which took us past the 1.2 mile hike through the Trail of the Cedars.  We met some USC gamecocks from Lexington, SC along the edge of the lake who knew some of Anna’s Clemson friends. The gamecocks said they hadn’t seen any bears along the trail, but seemed pretty excited that they could take a picture with a couple of Tigers!

Anna next to Lake McDonald off Going to the Sun Road

We also had plenty of time to explore the area around Lake McDonald and some of the surrounding waterways and small falls. The west side of Glacier NP is a little more popular with tourists due to the shops in Apgar Village. There are also canoe, kayak and other rentals available to those who want to venture out into the lake.  We had access to a restaurant and small general store just outside the park in West Glacier. Along with all of the conveniences also come crowds.  The warm afternoons brought out an interesting mix of tourists from all sides of the planet.

One of the last areas we hiked while staying in West Glacier was an area known as Polebridge. It was a long drive out the Polebridge, but we wanted to make the trip because several people told us about the wild flowers in Covey Meadow.

Covey Meadow in western Glacier NP

According to one of the Park Rangers, many of the flowers had already been withered by a week of warmer than normal temperatures.  We made the hike just the same (well into the woods), but unfortunately, he was right. It wasn’t all bad though, we didn’t have any surprise encounters with any Grizzlies! We were able to buy a huckleberry bear claw at the Polebridge Mercantile that I consumed later that evening, and also had lunch at Hands Down Bottom where we met and witnessed to Chris and Mona from California who is terminally ill.

Camper in charge of the LTV at our campsite in Two Medicine, Glacier NP

After four nights in West Glacier, we relocated to Two Medicine – a more remote section of Glacier National Park near the town of East Glacier. This was our first “dry-camping” stop on the trip of more than one night. For those of you who are non-campers, dry camping means you have no power, water, or sewer hookup, so you have to be extremely conservative with your resources. Campsites at Two Medicine can’t be reserved, so it is first come, first served. We couldn’t believe how fortunate we were to get a site with a beautiful meadow of wildflowers leading to Pray Lake leading to the mountains. We were slammed with a heavy rainstorm during our first night in Two Medicine, but the following day was beautiful. We hiked above Appistoki Falls with several bird’s eye views of the falls up to a ridge where we had a panoramic view of the surrounding glacial mountains.

Running Eagle Falls near Two Medicine CG in Glacier NP

After a quick trip to St. Mary, Montana we returned for a late afternoon hike to Running Eagle Falls located near the Two Medicine Glacier National Park Entrance. Although this is an area frequented by grizzlies, we didn’t see any. All visitors to Glacier National Park are encouraged to carry bear spray with them at all times throughout the park. Grizzlies have been known to stroll through campgrounds and parking lots of lodges and stores. 

Jack and Anna with Colleen Day @ Two Medicine General Store in Glacier NP

Jack and Anna with Colleen Day

We never would have know about Two Medicine had it not been for Colleen Day, the manager of the Two Medicine Camp Store. Anna and I met Colleen while we were watching the Mickey Mouse Christmas Parade last December at Disney World near Orlando. We were in Orlando, at the time, to watch the Clemson Tigers beat Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game. We started talking with Colleen about traveling and camping when she told us that she and her husband (a red jammer driver) spent every summer in Glacier National Park at Two Medicine. She said it was a quieter area of the park with more wildlife than West Glacier. When I told her we would be in Glacier during the summer of 2017, she said to come see her… and we did. Thanks Colleen!

Mountain goat in valley near Goat Lick on the southern end of Glacier NP

We still had a couple days left to enjoy the hiking and scenery before we would have to leave the Two Medicine area and we did our best to take advantage of Glacier’s natural beauty. Cooking a large bacon and egg breakfast with cinnamon french toast outside on a 50+ degree morning and then sitting to eat and enjoy it while the wind tried to blow all of the food and us off the picnic table got us off to a brisk start. We hit the camp store and then headed out for a 3.5 mile hike to Paradise Point and Aster Falls. Later that evening we drove to Goat Lick where we saw two mountain goats, and then saw a large black bear and cinnamon bear when returning to the campground.

The "Sinopah" - our cruise boat on Two Medicine Lake in Glacier NP

The “Sinopah” – our cruise boat on Two Medicine Lake in Glacier NP

On our last full day in Two Medicine we took a guided boat tour across Two Medicine Lake with a hike to Twin Falls. Our guide, Kyan, was extremely informative and provided us with a wealth of information about the mountains, glaciers, animals, and plant life. We decided to treat ourselves that night by visiting the Glacier Park Lodge restaurant with a great dinner, and our first huckleberry mountain crisp for desert. Yum! Although our stop in Two Medicine surpassed many of our expectations, we were eager to explore the north end of Glacier National Park where we knew our campground would provide us with good cell service for our voice communications and wi-fi – a necessity for sending you this blog.

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