September 8, 2013

Going to the Sun Road via Mountain Bike

With all this new free time, I decided to make the drive up to Glacier for the weekend.  Last year it was pretty smoky so I was worried about visibility.  This time it was perfect!  No smoke just a few puffy clouds strolling across the sky.  


I left Friday after work with my tent and my mountain bike.  The sun was just setting as I pulled in to my campsite.  It has been a few years since I've been to the East side of Glacier.  The major access is on the West side of the park and a trip over there usually involves the normal tourist hysteria of major national parks.  


On the east side of the park there was very few people at all.  Nice and quiet!  I cooked up some freeze dried beef macaroni and fell a sleep to the buzz of the forest instead of the city!  Tomorrow was going to be a long, long day.


I woke up early, had some coffee and pressed on to the Saint Mary entrance.  A few other bikers were prepping their expensive road bikes while I hopped on my trek mountain bike.  Going to the Sun road is absolutely amazing.  The scenery is breathtaking and the chances of seeing wild animals is better than other national parks.  


The morning son casted reflections of the granite mountains in to the lake for me.  On bike I was much slower than I normally would traveling through the park.  It gave me time to appreciate every view for longer periods of time.  Traveling by bicycle was a completely different and new way to experience the park.



(Wild Goose Island on Saint Mary Lake)

The morning temperature was really cool and climbing wasn't as tough as I had hoped.  I wasn't moving fast and was passed by a few road cyclists who were pumped that I was riding a mountain bike.  Slow was the best speed to enjoy the mountains and scenery.  


(Citadel Mountain - 9,030ft)


(Heavy Runner Mountain 8,762ft)


(Looking West towards Clements Mountain 8,760ft)

The entire route to Logan Pass, which was about 15.5 miles with 2,400 ft of climbing, only took me an hour and half.  It felt much longer though!  


The atmosphere up at Logan Pass was completely different than my first few hours in the park.  I had seen a few cyclists and cars but for most of the time I was isolated.  After a while you get used to the quiet and it is a big change to see the hustle and bustle of humanity.  I am reminded of that concept every time  I venture outside of Missoula and through major cities.  The change of pace, noise and  surroundings makes me uncomfortable.  I get migraines and become disorientated.  In the end I accumulate to city life but learn to respect and appreciate my ability to disconnect on a daily basis!  

Check out thetime lapse of my ride below and enjoy Glacier National Park in under 90 seconds!

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Originally from Strongsville, OH, I spent 8 years in Raleigh, North Carolina and have since recently moved to Missoula, MT. I have been a runner all my life and have recently started pursuing ultra marathons. Any excuse to be outside and on the trails.