Montana was on my bucket list and I got a chance to drive through its various landscapes. While experiencing all the different regions my favorites were the Going-to-the-Sun-Road in the Glacier National Park and the National Bison Range in the Flathead valley in Northwestern Montana. Only if there were not fires everywhere I could have seen more from this beautiful place.
I entered to Montana at the North Entrance of the Yellowstone National Park and stayed the night in a little town called Gardiner, while I was driving to unplanned directions too. So once again I entered Montana from Idaho State on the road 287 at the Black Mountain going to Helena. The scenery was very interesting and scary at the same time. Sometimes I was driving only by myself on this road for 20 minutes not even one car passed me from anywhere. I was wondering how someone could manage to get help when the only living beings around were the cows and there was no coverage on the phone. I guess we have to rely on each other heavily when a problem or an accident happens. The only person who can help you in Montana is the only car passes you so human intervention is inevitable. At some point I felt like driving on Mars surrounded by soft, shiny and yellowish grass fields stretching out to the hills afar off with nobody in sight. I could not stop thinking about these cows that were fed on natural dry grass and had an enormous space to wander around. I am pretty sure they taste delicious deriving from the fact that they also look happy. Coming from a large or medium sized city where supermarkets are just around the corner everyday life in Montana would be tricky for me in a sense of food shopping. You have to drive one hour to get to a big city or town to get your weekly supply. I guess they drive there once a week and pile up on certain food items. While approaching Helena I stopped at a tiny little town called Ennis, which has these old-fashioned western style buildings. I love those buildings they remind me of the old western movies.
Helena is the capital city of Montana State. It was founded as a gold camp during the Montana gold rush, and was established in 1864. It has a beautiful gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, and the Montana State Capitol with the flower spelling of Montana 2017.
My next destination was the Glacier National Park but I had a couple of stops before I got there. While searching for some attractions on my way up north I found a little dinosaur museum in Bynum. The entrance fee to the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center was only $5 so I thought why not to educate myself. It was actually a very interesting place and I read all the remarks on the wall about the prehistoric times. After an hour drive I entered the Blackfoot Nation’s land and also took picture of their stunning sign on the road. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong time to visit Montana as they had many fires throughout the state. The gorgeous Glacier National Park was not visible as much due to the smoke but I still tried my best to have the best shots and videos on the Going-to-the-sun-road.
Before I entered into the deep of the mountains I stopped in St Mary, which is a cute little town on the eastern side of the National Park. St Mary Lodge and Resort is a real rustic wooden building with a warm atmosphere. Their dining facility called the Snowgoose Grille, located in the main lobby, offers food items such as Montana buffalo, fresh fish and the obvious huckleberry specialties.
Going-to-the-sun-road was absolutely amazing driving around giant mountains with snowy caps, crystal clear rivers on narrow crooked roads. The water of the rivers is so clean that I wanted to drink it. The only observation was that if you drive from east to the west you cannot park on your right side. All the parking spaces are located on the left which means you have to drive across the road and after you finished with your pictures you have to go back to the other side again. The view is spectacular anyway but it is a little bit annoying. I passed Lake McDonald too, while stopped by it to watch its beautiful settings.
After finally getting some reception and Wifi in West Glacier I headed towards Bigfork where I chose the restaurant Raven in the Woods Bay to have some Montana bison with huckleberry sauce, while I was relaxing in the sun by the lake. On the way towards Charlo there were many establishments offering everything with huckleberry such as ice creams, sodas, chocolates, gummy bears, shakes, pies, jams, honey, coffee, etc. I tried the huckleberry shake in Huckleberry Land, which was delicious and pretty sweet.
My last destination was Charlo and the National Bison Range, however I saw enough bison in the Yellowstone National Park in the previous days. I stayed in the Ninepipe Lodge, an Indian owned and operated accommodation not far from the Bison Refugee. It was clean and had a rustic interior with friendly staff. I left very early in the morning to observe the wildlife that apparently is the most active in the early hours. The park opens at 6.30am so I was there not ling after 7am. I was the only car you could see and the visitor center was not open so I could not pay the entrance fee. It was a long two-hour drive through the park and I saw many animals such as bears, bison, elks, deer, antelope and birds. They were freely wandering and running around the hilly terrains. It was truly an amazing experience.
My trip was a nice overview into Montana, which made me to go back again, especially once the fires are cleared off.
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