August 13, 2018
It’s a good thing we went on the Going-to-the-Sun Road on Sunday. I had thought about doing it Monday or Tuesday to get away from week-ends crowds. But, the weather was good, so we went on Sunday. As you may recall from yesterday’s post, we noticed a fire shortly after you entered the park. It is called the Howe Ridge Fire. I took some pictures and we did our thing. Click here for a link to a video of the Canadian Superscoopers gathering water from Lake McDonald in an attempt to put out the fire. This effort was not successful in dousing the fire. (We did not post this yesterday because it took several hours to upload which is one of those problems associated with lousy internet access.)
Later in the evening, we wanted to go up to one of the look-outs and catch the sunset and wait around to watch for meteor showers. We were both very tired, so we didn’t do that. We drove through less traveled sections of the park in search of wildlife. Dusk is a good time to see them and we were hoping. We didn’t see much but we got a view of the fire that evening and Regis got a picture of a hawk.
Regis and I wanted to hike the Highline trail in the park, but with Dart we couldn’t both do it at the same time. Dogs are not allowed to hike in the park. We decided to have one of us do it one day and the other the next. Originally, Regis was going to wake up early and do it Monday and I would do it Tuesday. He was so tired that he opted to wait. I didn’t care about hiking in the afternoon, so I figured I would go Monday afternoon.
Monday morning, we decided to check out an area that often has mountain goats which skirts the edge of the park southeast of us. On the way, we saw all the signs that said the Going-to-the-Sun road was closed because of the fire. The fire we saw worsened overnight considerably. Apparently, the winds picked up the fire expanded quickly. It’s probably why I couldn’t see the meteor shower last night.
On our way to see the goats (which we didn’t see) we saw another wildfire that recently started. Between the time we first saw it and an hour later on the way back, it was definitely larger.
We went back to Glacier to go to the lesser traveled section to do a before an after picture of the fire from the same spot. You can’t really see the fire itself, but you can see the smoke. In the first picture, if you look closely above the treeline, you can see the mountains in the background. In the second picture, there is so much smoke, you can’t see anything.
We headed out of the park and came back to the campground to grab lunch. I set about adjusting our return trip and was successful in booking some campsites so that we could leave tomorrow rather than the next day as we originally planned. At this point, you can’t go in the best part of the park from this side. There are multiple wildfires causing lots of smoke. Dart spent some time this afternoon sneezing and coughing (me too!). I don’t know how fire fighters do it. We don’t want to hike in these conditions and we are limited in what we can do, so it’s best to move on.
I am happy that we drove on the Going-to-the-Sun Road immediately and didn’t wait. That was the priority item I had for this visit. If we had gone to the overlook as planned that evening, we may have had to return home via the east entrance to the park. Since they began to evacuate at the west entrance and shut down the road road at the west side of the park on Sunday evening, we may have found that we couldn’t go back that way. That would have required a very long drive around the park to get back to the campground (perhaps 4 hours). Sometimes things just work out.
Last night, in between trying to watch meteors, I tried to sleep. But, there are non-stop trains that go through this area. They make three long whistles somewhere around here, so back-to-back trains whistle and rumble and then shortly thereafter another one comes through. If you live here, you probably get used to it. If you don’t live here, it takes awhile. We don’t here trains much during the day. As we were looking for goats today, we drove on a road that went along the same basic route as the train tracks and saw some trains sitting still waiting. I told Regis they were waiting for nightfall. I don’t think I was wrong. As soon as the sun set this evening, what do we here???, trains!
Internet access: Even with unlimited Verizon internet access, we have SIGNIFICANT issues getting decent internet access. We sometimes struggle to make a blog post and adding video is nearly a killer. I look forward to seeing my friends when I get home and then I look forward to good internet access. I miss it!