Friday, June 4, 2010

Catching Up…. May 23, 2010 to June 4, 2010

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve done a blog post, but they will be getting fewer and further between now since we have started our journey north.  I think the last detailed post that I did was for May 22 so I’ll catch us up from there.
May 23, 2010 – Arches National Park – Moab, UT
We made the short drive up to Arches National Park from Moab.  We drove to the Devils Garden Trailhead to make the 2.6 mile hike out to Landscape Arch, Pine Tree Arch, & Tunnel Arch.  It was a beautiful arch, however the trail under it is now closed as a very large portion of the arch fell a couple years ago.  We had a picnic lunch at the overlook at Fiery Furnace.  We then left Arches and made the drive out to Fisher Towers.  As we turned off the main highway, we saw lots of 18-wheelers with Paramount Pictures on the side and we discovered that they were shooting a movie there.  There was no shooting going on today as the wind was gusting up to over 50 mph and there was dust all in the air and not much in the way of views.  After a good Mexican dinner in Moab, we took advantage of the hot tub at our campground for a nice relaxing evening.
May 24, 2010 – Gemini Bridges – Moab, UT
The weather was better today with temperatures in the 50’s and lighter winds.  We drove north on Highway 191 to the Gemini Bridges trailhead.  We then road up the trail to the overlook of the bridges.   It was almost 15 miles round trip and we were both tired and sore from the ride as it was a bit more elevation gain than we had counted for.  We drove back into Moab and had dinner at Eddie McStiffs.  A very quiet night at the RV for us.
May 25, 2010 – Canyonlands National Park – Moab, UT
We decided to drive to Canyonlands to drive the 4 wheel drive road of Shafer Road down to White Rim Road and on to Potash Road for the return to Moab.  It was very bumpy and slow going but beautiful at almost every turn.   After the drive, Matt went into Arches National Park for a sunset shot of Delicate Arch while I stayed in the RV to scrapbook.
May 26, 2010 – Arches National Park – Moab, UT
We had signed up over the weekend for a ranger led hike through the Fiery Furnace.  This is an area that we have not explored before so we were looking forward to seeing a new section of the park.  It was a great hike with many times where we were squeezing through crevices and climbing through very close quarters to hike through the area.  We had also decided to get a permit to return to the Fiery Furnace on our own; however, we had difficulty even getting back into the maze of beautiful fins.
May 27, 2010 – 4 Corners Region - Blanding, UT
We decided to make the drive down to the 4 corners region of Utah to explore some ancient ruins.  We decided to leave the RV in Moab and just get a hotel for the night in Blanding, Utah.  Our first stop was a ruin called “House on Fire”.  It was an easy hike with an amazing structure.  We then drove a large circle and toured the Natural Bridges National Monument and then on through the Mokey Dugway and then finally a stop at Gooseneck State Park. 
May 28, 2010 – 4 Corners Region – Blanding, UT
Since the wind had been so high and the visibility so low yesterday we decided to make the drive from yesterday in reverse.  We added the Valley of the Gods to the front of our trip.  It was a beautiful drive through huge rock structures.  We revisited the Goosenecks State Park again and marveled at the four 360 degree turns that the river made through the park.  We then hiked out to the Fallen Roof Ruin.  This one was a bit tougher to find and we almost gave up until I spotted it on the next ridge.  We then returned to Blanding and visited the Edge of Cedars Museum.  It was a very good small museum with lots of artifacts from the Indians who had settled the area.
May 29, 2010 – Moab, UT
This is our last full day in Moab so we spent it working on the RV, doing laundry and in general getting everything ready to start our trip north.
May 30, 2010 – Utah to Montana
We started the 14+ hour drive from Moab to Montana.  It was an easy drive up interstate 15 once we got to Salt Lake City.  We made a stop at the Salt Lake City Camping World store to pick up a few RV supplies such as filters and water treatment.  The drive was going well until we had a blow out on the trailer somewhere on interstate 15.  I tried to call for emergency road service but of course, we had NO cell service where we were.  Matt was going to have to change the tire.  It took us two tries to get the trailer jacked up enough to get the old shredded tire off and to get the spare on.  The blowout did do quite a bit of damage to the underside of the kitchen slide; thank goodness we already have an appointment for RV work on Tuesday in Great Falls, MT.  We had planned on staying in a rest area for the night, but as we got there, it was closed due to road construction.  I immediately pulled out our “Exit Now” book that has a listing of all services at each exit and found a campground at the next exit.  It was brand new and was only a fee station so it was perfect for a quick pull in and sleep.
May 31, 2010 – Great Falls, MT
We drove the last 40 miles at a slower speed into Great Falls due to the spare on the trailer.  Great Falls is a great town with just about every service available.  Of course, it was Memorial Day so we were a bit limited.  We did manage to find a Firestone open that could put 4 new tires on the trailer for us.  While the trailer was getting its tires, we explore the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.  It was a great center on the Lewis & Clark Expedition right on the Missouri River.  A great lunch at Fuddruckers and then on to Wal-Mart to stock up.  Back to the RV lot to unpack our purchases and then off to the movies to see Ironman 2 (pretty cute but do think the first one was better).  Back to the RV lot to sleep.
June 1, 2010 – Great Falls, MT to Glacier National Park
So what are the odds that our RV Service area was immediately next to the Dodge dealership?  We were able to walk between the two as both the trailer and the truck went into the shop for service.  They both finished up and then we were able to go pick up a new wheel as we had decided that we needed 2 spares instead of just one for the trailer.  All was finished by 1:30 so off we went to make the 3+ hour drive to Glacier National Park.  It was an easy drive with the exception of the very narrow and windy road the last 20 or so miles.  We got settled into our campsite and of course it is wonderful.  We have the whole end of the loop to ourselves, quite the change from our Moab campground.  After getting all setup, we decided to do a walk over towards the river and the visitor center to see the Beaver that the ranger had told us about.  We also made the drive up the Going to the Sun road here at the St. Mary entrance.  As we were driving back, my quote of the day was…  “Ummm… Bear…  On the Road”.  And sure enough, there was a very large brown bear running down the road away from us.  Other wildlife sightings of the day included Pronghorns, Elk, Deer, Coyote & Bald Eagle.
June 2, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – St. Mary Entrance
We woke to weather in the 50’s with mist and light rain that would stay with us all day.  We walked over to the visitor’s center to get some ideas on hikes and things to do.  We are so early in the season that we can’t hike very high at all due to snow levels.  It’s amazing how much snow there still is in the park (combined with the 7+ inches that they received last week).  We decided to hike from the Sunrift Gorge trailhead and to Baring Falls, St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls.  It was a bit longer than we expected, but it was so beautifully green, it was wonderful.  It lightly rained or misted on us the whole time, but since we were so far in the trees, it wasn’t too bad.  We then decided to drive into the town of St. Mary to find showers since our campground has no hookups and no facilities.  We saw a KOA sign and were gouged for $20 for two showers.  Oh well, unlimited hot water was pretty nice.  Wildlife sightings for today were limited to the Osprey at the visitor’s center and to deer in the creek beside our campsite (if I was them, I’d be hiding out also).
June 3, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – Two Medicine Entrance
We woke sometime in the middle of the night and wondered if we were going to be blown away.  The wind was gusting up to 50mph and it was raining sideways.  Needless to say, we were not too eager to go outside.  We finally did venture out and started off by visiting the visitor’s center again to watch the Glacier films (seemed like a good thing to do).  The weather was so bad that we actually drove there instead of hiking the ¼ mile over the river.  As we glanced out at St. Mary lake, it had huge rolling waves on it from the wind.  We decided to drive down to the Two Medicine entrance south of us and have a look around the park and then on to the town of East Glacier for a look at the hotel and railroad depot.  We visited the Two Medicine Campstore and decided that the wind did not make for a very good look around the lake and almost ran to and from the car.  We did make a very short hike to Running Eagle falls.  It is an unique falls as it changes depending on water level.  Since we are at the height of run off, it was cascading down both levels.  We then continued to drive south to the town of East Glacier which was the original destination for the Great Northern Railway and the home of the Glacier Park Lodge.  Our plan was to eat lunch at the hotel while exploring.  We noticed things looked a bit dark as we entered and found out that they had been without power since 10am.  We settled for cold wraps and hot soup in the beautiful central gallery of the hotel.  The timber sizes were amazing in the structure.  It was still very windy and pretty chilly with highs only in the 50’s so we drove back to our campground and warm RV.  Wildlife for today was the Osprey (visitor’s center), Horrey marmot, & deer.
June 4, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – Many Glacier Entrance
The forecast for today called for 100% chance of rain.  Well, they just about hit it on the head.  It hasn’t been raining all day, but most of it.  We decided to head North and explore the Many Glacier entrance of the park.  We had learned yesterday that the hotel was opening and that was a must see on our list.  We had a couple of hikes planned as long as the weather wasn’t too bad, but we only managed to squeeze in one.  It was a beautiful 3.6 mile hike from the Swiftcurrent Trailhead to the Redrock Falls.  After the hike, we went back to the Many Glacier Hotel.  We were soaked by the time we got into the hotel so we headed straight for the huge round fireplace in the beautiful lobby to warm up.  We waited for the heavy rain to letup but since it didn’t we made one more drive on the road to look for wildlife.  Wildlife sightings for the day include coyote, moose and mountain goats.  Back to the RV for dinner & for Matt to work and me to do this monster post.
Wow, sorry for such a marathon long blog post.  I’ll try to keep a bit more current but it will depend on WIFI availability as we cross the Canadian border on the 8th.  We will meet up with some friends in Banff and then head on into Jasper to explore before starting to long drive north to Alaska on June 17.

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