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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Big Sis in a Small World
Montana – Hamilton & West Glacier National Park (29-30 May 2007)

The House That J BuiltMontana is right up there as one of my top favourite states in the US. And as there are now only two I have never visited, I think it is in a fairly safe position. Not only has it taught me new skills, but it also has very beautiful scenery. And I loved visiting J and the house that J built. It is made entirely of "bits of old wood" (her words, not mine) collected over 15 years. From aqueducts to schools to old houses, anything really, it has produced a beautiful place in beautiful surroundings. Keen to make the most of it, I took a hike around the 77 acres (not all of it) and fortunately I had my own personal guide this time to avoid getting stranded on the side of any more mountains...

Tour Guide
It was then time to make my way to West Glacier National Park. The Montana scenery was pretty impressive en route...

Going to the Sun Road... and after a quick stop in Missoula to get my car checked out to ensure it had survived its road-building ordeal, I arrived at the park to be greeted by this sign. I knew immediately that I would love West Glacier National Park. And I did... it was totally beautiful and accompanied by lots of bear warning signs to make me feel at home. Plus trash cans which were so secure they even kept me out.
Teton Mountain Lodge

The accommodation, however, was less beautiful. You can tell times are hard when I go from this at the Teton Mountain Lodge a few days earlier...

West Glacier Accommodation
... to this at West Glacier. Amongst the many features which were listed in the information pack, 'dripping faucet' was the one I looked forward to experiencing the most.

But I am starting to wonder whether I don’t just attract bears, but also scenes from horror movies. Walking back from the main building to my cosy room, I was met by a security guard asking why I was walking alone, and surprised I hadn’t heard about the bear which had been roaming around my building, looking like he was going to break into cars in search of food. I wondered why the people at reception looked a bit surprised when I asked for a ground floor room.

Anyway, the guard told me strictly not to walk anywhere by myself, even during the day, as the bear is always about. I'd apparently done quite well to survive long enough to take photos like this...

Wot No Bears?
So confined to my room, I thought I’d make a couple of phone calls. Unfortunately, following the plot of all good horror movies, I found I had no cell phone reception, and after a couple of minutes the phone in my room mysteriously went dead.

I drove back to the main building (checking the back seat of my car for bears) where I found four members of staff testing out their radios in preparation for a bear patrol. They were all very concerned about me having no access to the outside world when there was a major bear alert, but just told me to stay in my room and not worry about being phoneless. Presumably they were confident my screams would carry through the mountains without any problem.

West Glacier National Park