Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two Medicine - 08/28/12

Today we drove about 35 miles south on US-89 to connect with MT-49 to visit the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park. To reach Two Medicine, you have to travel west on MT-89 for about 10 miles. MT-49 is a two lane narrow and curvy mountain road very similar to the Going-To-The-Sun Road. It has the same vehicle restrictions of 21 feet in length or 8 feet wide.

Two Medicine is located in a very scenic valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. It has a very nice campground located within a wooded area that is close to a beautiful small lake. We found a bench to sit on by the edge of the lake and decided this was the perfect place for our picnic lunch today.

We visited the Two Medicine Campstore primarily because of it’s log cabin type appearance. Inside it had a high cathedral type ceiling supported by massive wooden beams. It was quite an interesting piece of architecture located within this wilderness environment.

We continued our journey on MT-49 to East Glacier Park where we connected up with US-2. We found a delightful ice cream shop there and felt obligated to indulge ourselves. Which we did!

We traveled west on US-2 which took us into the Flathead National Forest. We stopped to visit a memorial park dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt and a civil engineer named John F. Stevens. President Roosevelt was honored for his protection of the wilderness areas within the western part of the U.S. John Stevens was honored for locating a suitable rail route across the Continental Divide for the Great Northern Railroad in December 1889.

Further west on US-2 we stopped at the Goat Lick Overlook area. There is a massive mineral rock there that attracts Mountain Goats. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, there were no goats there at the time.

US-2 runs parallel to a river and train tracks on the north of the highway. The river runs through a deep canyon with several rapids dispersed through it as it winds it way through the canyon. We were fortunate to spot several rafters and kayakers running the rapids on this river. It was quite interesting to see how they maneuvered their craft through the rapids.

The train track is at a slightly higher elevation than the highway. While we were stopped on the side of the road viewing the rafters in the river, a passenger train from the Burling Northern Santa Fe Railroad passed us heading west. There were only about six passenger railcars attached to two engines that looked new. It looked like there was one dining car with the rest being sleeper cars. We caught up with the train while it was stopped at the train depot in West Glacier. We were told by another person at the station that this was a private train that costs up to $5,000.00 per person. Further research online revealed this might be one of those private trains that run from Chicago, Illinois to Whitefish, Montana for passengers visiting Glacier National Park.

We returned to Saint Mary Campground on the Going-To-The-Sun Road, completing a 154 mile trip for the day. Along the way we spotted a Black Bear grazing along side of the road east of Logan Pass. Another perfect ending to wonderful day in Glacier National Park.

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