Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 US Trip - Day 4 - Monday September 8th 2014

The plan for today was to get up into the Glacier National Park. We however, would not be able to take the RV's as the road we were driving on would not accommodate. There were some other alternatives such as catching courtesy buses throughout the park but we opted to hire a van capable of holding 10 people. We dropped into the local airport and this was my first opportunity to drive on the right hand side of the road. I felt I went fine, all it requires is a higher level of concentration. Pete and Laurence were able to hire the car and they followed us back to the RV park where we picked up the rest of the gang. Though it was a tight fit it was a good option for us.
We drove for about 15 minutes before we hit the park and stopped off shortly after at a lake for photos. From there we ventured deeper into the park following a lake and then one of the rivers that feed into it. The views out the window were amazing. Large mountains on each side, some with pine trees whilst others were just rocks. We stopped a few more times for pictures before pushing towards the top to Logans Pass. This was a very busy place given the time was around 1.30pm the car park for around 60-80 cars was completely full. A few of us got out of the car and grabbed some lunch before we finally got a car space. We then decided to do a walk up to a lookout at about 2.30pm. Just before we left I noticed a thermometre said about 10C. The walk was not overly difficult and much of it was along a board walk. After getting in trouble momentarily by a ranger for before "off trail" for taking a photo he let us go as there were bigger fish to fry further up the mountain.

Along the way we saw white mountain goats and marmots before being entertained by some chipmunks at the top of the mountain. At the lookout we posed for photos before starting to head back down the mountain. About 15 minutes after leaving we were completely shrouded in fog and could only see approximately 100 metres in front. This continued all the way down to the car park at which point the temperate had dropped to 4C. We were all glad to get back into the car but thankful for being able to experience such a great walk and beautiful vistas. The drive back down the mountain was amazing and we enjoyed the sites we had seen earlier in the day one last time. We got back to the RV park around 6pm and dropped off the 10 seater back to the local airport. On the way back we stopped off to buy some "hard liquour" that can only be sold in special state run shops. Beer and wine however can be bought in super markets. We arrived back to the camp site by about 7.15pm where we tucked into some pasta cooked by Trevo, Karen and Laurence. We then all spent the night and the camp fire being buffeted by cool winds. I decided to call Westpac to see why my Glocal Currency Card had not been working and was surprised to hear that they had put a hold on it. I verbalised my frustrations to the operator around the fact that I got no notification of this decision though was thankful that the card was now reactivated. Tomorrow I would give it a go at the general store located a short 2 minute walk away.

The final task for the evening was to try to take some long exposures of the night sky. Though the setup appeared to work well, the high winds and very bright moon light made it a difficult proposition. I will have to wait until I get home to Sydney to properly check out the results.
The evening was a late one given this was the first night of us all enjoying the hard liquor around the camp fire.

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