Saturday, July 14, 2007

U.S. Route 2

2054 MDT 14 July 2007

We took U.S. Route 2 from East Glacier Park to Apgar Village this afternoon. There were five geocaches along the route, so we stopped by to find all five.

We made it to West Glacier Park in one piece. There's a lot in the way of services at West Glacier -- river rafting, souvenir shopping, lodging. There's a gasoline station, a shaved ice place, and a coin-operated laundromat. We bought a few groceries (and a can of white gas for $10 [wow]), then hit the road to Apgar Village.

One of the challenges of going to a new place is not knowing what to expect. Each of the National Parks has a different structure with respect to concessionaires and inholdings, so there's no uniformity. Glacier National Park has a considerable operation at Apgar Village that's intent on getting you everything you need (and a lot you don't). In addition to the Visitor's Center, there's a general store (with a fair supply of Wal-Mart-grade "camping" equipment, beer, wine, and souvenirs), an ice cream store (with a very long line for the entire time we were in Apgar Village), a motel, and the Backcounty office (the place where you register for backcounty permits). The Backcounty office was our last stop in Apgar Village before heading up the road to Kintla Lake.

The road to Kintla Lake can, apparently, be somewhat difficult to find. I wound up taking a slightly longer (and much better conditioned) road to Kintla Lake. Part pavement and part gravel, it's a long road -- most of it is a one-lane gravel road. There are 13 campsites, and we got the last one of the day -- another stroke of luck. The mosquitos and flies aren't too bad, and the heat of the day will cool off quickly.

Tomorrow, we're off to the campsites on the upper end of Kintla Lake for a little backcounty camping experience. It's only a six-mile hike, and it's mostly level, but it's a good way to get the kids into the experience. It's a lot less fun if you're going in for four days and several thousand feet up and down each day for your first backcountry trip in a few years (the last big backpacking trip was in 2003, the year we went to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks).

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