Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday, July 20: (Cheryl’s birthday) Cloudy and cool. Up early to blog; no internet here but I can enter my script. Bad weather coming so there’ll be no hiking today; we decide to leave Babb a day early and split the long trip to Wolf Point Montana by staying in Malta Montana tonight. We follow the St. Mary River to the south park entrance and take the road up to Logan Pass on the Continental Divide. The river widens to beautiful St. Mary Lake and though the clouds are low, we get some good shots of Jackson Glacier and we see snow on the hairpin bend at Piegan Creek. Not long and we’re at Logan Pass; the fog is pea soup and we are happy to turn around and head for low ground! They just re-opened the pass yesterday after 12 landslides last week! The road is much more civilized than Denali and my pits stay dry! Have a little picnic at the St. Mary Visitor’s Center, then do the tour of the center. Lots of visitors here today. Head south from St. Mary on twisty, turny road running ridges with the Rockies on our right shoulder. Lots of burned over areas here. Finally we catch #2 east at Browning Montana. The country turns brown and rolling with scattered homes and ranches; we see a few herds of horses and cattle and some alkali flats. Soon we’re following the highline again; there are lots of new ties lying on the grade—from Koppers? Pass a marker placed by the Great Northern Railway marking the farthest north that the Lewis and Clark party camped; they hoped the Marias River they were following went north thus enlarging the Louisiana Purchase. It turned west, the hunting was poor and the bugs were awful—they named the spot Camp Disappointment! The land is really flattening now, but as we near Cutbank Montana to stop for gas I can see the hazy outline of the Sweet Grass Hills to the north, and further on, the Bear Paw Mountains (hills, really) to the south. There are lots of wind generators again, and a long haul train that stretches as far as I can see from the east horizon to the west. We’ve seen the “purple mountains’ majesty” and now we see the “amber waves of grain.” What a trip this has been! By the time we get to Malta it was in the ninties--hot! We find a nice motel (the ac felt so good) with a pool.What a jewel--the Edgewater in Malta! We take a long swim to work the kinks out …and before long, we conk out!

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