A common sign on the backroads of Montana

On our return home to Seattle from Glacier National Park, we enjoyed the final miles of a leisurely road trip through sparsely travelled backroads.  We headed back towards I-90 via U.S. Hwy 93, and Montana highways 28, 200 and 135.  I marvel at the good quality of American roads.  It certainly feels like an indulgence to take a road trip these days, with global warming and the energy situation, but I appreciate the chance to do so.

Burnt tree trunks line the hilltop on Hwy 89 near St. Mary's.

View from Hwy 89 between St. Mary's and East Glacier

We saw miles and miles of barbed-wire fences along the backroads.

Old barn along Montana Hwy 28

Colorful cattails in the ditch along Montana Hwy 28

Montana Wildlife

October 3, 2010

We saw very little wildlife in Glacier National Park.  If you want to see big animals in the wild, nothing beats an African safari.  In the United States, I believe you have to travel to Alaska have a guaranteed shot of seeing animals in their natural habitats. 

We were fortunate to have a few wild animal sightings on our trip to Glacier National Park.  We saw hundreds of deer at dusk in the Methow Valley, an unexpected treat.  And we saw a remarkable, huge raven near Lake Roosevelt in northeastern Washington.  We saw just one lone deer in Montana.

Glossy black raven near Lake Roosevelt

Raven in flight

On the way to St. Mary’s on Hwy 89 outside of Glacier Park, we happened upon a sole moose crossing the road! 

Moose along Hwy 89 on the way to St. Mary's

Moose heads up the bank

. . . and walks away out of sight

And on the drive back to East Glacier on Hwy 40, we saw one black bear at the side of the road.  We would have missed it completely but for the red Glacier Park tour bus, which was stopped in our lane on a curve in the road.  We assumed the driver had stopped because he/she had seen an animal, and we were right!  The black bear moved too quickly away from the road and into the bushes for me to get a photograph.  But it was very exciting to spot a bear!

We had already left the park and were driving on Hwy 135 into St. Regis when I spotted a herd of bighorn sheep grazing near the railroad tracks alongside the road.

Bighorn sheep on the road to St. Regis

So although we did not see a lot of wild animals, we count ourselves lucky to have chanced upon a few rare sightings of Montana wildlife.

Parked along U.S. Hwy 2 in Montana

After driving State Highway 20 across Washington to the Idaho border,  we continued our journey east to Glacier National Park via U.S. Highway 2 across Idaho and western Montana.  This was another exceptionally scenic route through mountainous terrain.  The colors were a lovely blend of green and yellow and gold.  Much of the highway parallels rushing rivers.  And it seemed we were never too far from a railroad track!

Morning clouds played peek-a-boo with the forested mountain slopes.

We took a short hike to Kootenai Falls near Libby, Montana.

Rushing waters by Kootenai Falls

I liked the pattern in the steps of the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks by Kootenai Falls.

Train passes under the pedestrian bridge at Kootenai Falls.

Old barn along Hwy 2 in Montana

Another weathered barn along Hwy 2 in Montana

A cautionary tale: Montana marks the site of each highway death with a white cross. (And we saw lots of white crosses.)

Montana Road Trip

September 26, 2010

View through the windshield, Hwy 2 in Montana

My husband and I just returned from a 4-day road trip to Glacier Park in Montana.  I’ll be gathering my thoughts about the trip today, and will share some posts with you this week.  Stay tuned!