Monday, November 22, 2010

Missoula, Montana

We drove through an actual blizzard on the way here, and it didn’t stop by the time we reached Missoula. I don’t mean what English weather forecasters call a blizzard, this was 35mph winds, –15C and constant heavy snow.

We thought about camping, but we also thought about the fact that the cheap motel was only a 10 minute walk from what turned out to be a great bar called the ‘Iron Horse’, we thought better of it. The place sold about 20 beers on tap from the 3 local breweries. I think that’s more than London has and it’s not a big town. We liked it!


Here’s the car in the morning after the mean weather.

We pottered around the town and headed off to the Glacier National Park.

The park is mostly closed at this time of year, the main road that runs through it is only open for the first 8 miles which is a shame, but it’s still pretty spectacular in those few miles.

Steph here, taking over the keyboard. Glacier is spectacular. We drove past steaming turquoise lakes surrounded by snow covered mountains; the whole thing looked other-worldly, like Avalon or something. I’d love to see more of it at another time of year when the roads are open, but was completely impressed with the little slice of it we did get to drive through. Here are some of Steve’s pictures:

Glacier HDRHe took these while I was huddled in the car trying to keep warm. He kept jumping out (and leaving the door open) to look for the best photo angles or to check out possible hiking trails for the next day. I was dreading anything but taking in the view from the heated seats of the ‘burban.

We scoped out our camping spot for the evening, and then headed out to a local restaurant to hang around until bedtime. The town was pretty deserted and so was the restaurant, so we sat with some beer and pizza and our maps and planned out the next couple of states. I sipped my drink cautiously to avoid any middle-of-the-night toilet visits. Steve did not share my foresight.

Glacier treesEventually we had to just bite the bullet and go to the campsite. We got the car good and hot on the way there, then jumped in and out as quickly as possible, insulating the windows, hanging blankets, starting the camp heater, and getting ourselves under the covers (fully dressed), while trying to retain as much of the residual heat as we could.

Once we were all tucked in, the interior temperature was about 43F/ 6C, which is positively tropical compared to what we woke up to. In the morning it felt like we had been sleeping in an ice cave, and everything was covered in our crystallized breath. Inside the car, it was 3F/-16C. Steve tried to talk me into getting out, starting the camp stove, and percolating some coffee in the -15F/ –27C outside the car, but I refused. To my relief, we got the car going and drove out to the next town to buy coffee, all thoughts of hiking well and truly behind us.

Glacier lake

1 comment:

  1. It's time to get us out of Missoula! Love the blog and the photos are fantastic, but your followers are anxious for a new scene and update! :-)