First thing today, we did an early morning ranger guided bird walk and saw this little bird in her lichen camouflaged nest. The ranger told us that she weighs the same as a penny and her eggs are jelly bean size. In the afternoon, we did another ranger guided hike. This one’s focus was on geology.
We are camping about 3K feet lower than at Yellowstone and it is warmer here too. I was worried about the temperature, after experiencing snow, sleet, rain and lows of 25 degrees in Yellowstone. Still at higher elevations it is even colder here. The Going to the Sun road is closed to cars. It’s still snow covered. We drove to the barricade and then walked from there. There is about eight miles of road until the snow pack and we walked about half that. There is a further eight miles of snow until the pass. The further we went, the wetter it got. Lots of people were riding bikes. One guy that I spoke with rode all the way to the snow, where the rain had turned to hail and it was freezing out. We saw the moose, a mother and two calves on the way up and on the way back. They were camped out in the rain across the river. The calves were still nursing. Anne thinks that for next year’s Mother’s Day that I should post pictures of all the nursing mammals that we’ve seen. Other people saw a black bear with two cubs. We met up with a teacher from Wisconsin and walked with her, safety in numbers. She and Anne had a great teacher conversation, while I watched out for bears. Afterwards, we lunched at the Lake McDonald lodge, elk burgers and huckleberry pie. Yum!
After five nights of tent camping, I needed a motel. Tonight, we are sleeping in a Holiday Inn Express, sleep faster dammit. We’re staying is Butte, MT, which is a famous mining town, now down on its luck. The streets are named for every metal that can be extracted from the earth, from gold to aluminum, but these streets are lined with empty storefronts. We dined in the Metals Bank Building, whose ground floor has been repurposed as a sports bar. We had lunched in Livingston, MT, which seemed to be doing much better. Tomorrow it is on to Glacier, for another five nights and another likely loss of cell service.