The next couple of days consisted of a lot of driving. About 18 hours. Buford and I were troopers and relaxed calmy in the passenger seats while Nick drove. Our first night was spent in a Cabelas parking lot with three other RVers. The great thing about Cabelas is that at some locations, they offer free water, dump stations and designated overnight spots for RV's. Our second night was spent at the Walmart in Great Falls, Montana with about eight other RVers. While at Wallmart, we were able to get our oil changed and a new truck battery, since apparently ours was 8 years old and original to the truck. Glad we figured that out before tackling the Yukon.
We drove into East Glacier National Park around mid afternoon on a Tuesday and the town was dead. None of the RV parks were open, most of the business's were closed for the season and Park Rangers were no where to be found. The bears, on the other hand, were awake and ready for warmer temperatures.
We later learned that the "busy season" does not start until June 18th, but due to the good weather this year, it will most likely start sooner. Hours later, we ended up at West Glacier, with a spot in the woods all by ourself.. and maybe some bears.
While in Glacier, we learned the importance of looking at the weather radar. While one side of the park can be sunny and 65 degrees, the other side of the park can be rainy, foggy, and chilly. During our short week here, we explored both sides of the park - East Glacier and West Glacier. St. Mary was mostly closed and doesn't typically open June due to construction. East Glacier was a bit smaller and quieter, and hosted the best campground. Two Medicine Campground is right on the shores of Two Medicine Lake and Pray Lake and is surrounded by mountains. There were a handful of trailheads close by, as well as convenient spots to throw that kayak in.
West Glacier was the more popular side of the park, in part to the "Going to the Sun Road". The last 15 miles of the road were closed off due to snow, but it was estimated that it would reopen the last week of May this year. Off of the road are pullouts for waterfalls, beaches, and trail hikes. One of the more scenic hikes, was the trail to Avalanche Lake. We learned that this trail can get congested in the summer, so we were thankful to have experienced it at a quieter time. While on the trail, Nick was sporting his Cleveland Browns hat and a couple from Athens, Ohio stopped to chat with us. While in Athens, he worked for Jackie O's Brewery, and we shared one on the shores of Avalanche Lake. O-H.
After stalking the Alberta Visitor Center every day, we saw that it was finally open for the season. They were very friendly and excited to share a multitude of recreational options while in Alberta. Over an hour later, we walked out with no less than 20 maps and brochures of every attraction in Banff and Jasper. It did prove valuable that we stopped by the center, as we learned that this weekend was a Canadian holiday and that Banff and Jasper were likely to be packed with tourists. We decided to dodge the crowds and check out Kananaskis or "K Country" for the weekend.