Glaciers to Badlands


The drive from Cranbrook back toward Montana through the Kootenay mountains was very nice. Small towns, rivers, hills, and Fernie Brewing. I stopped in there to spend my remaining loonies, toonies and the rest of my Canadian money. A quick flight of tasters and then a 12-pack and a bomber of sour for Julie, to go.

After clearing US customs at the border of Canada’s Waterton National Park I again encountered wildlife on the road. Cows on the free range, lol. The day’s cloudy, rainy, cold drive ended back at familiar St. Mary KOA. My spirits were kinda sorta crushed when the NFL network, which I was so happy to receive on Dish, blacked out the Cowboys pre-season game. (Prolly a liberal made that stupid decision.)

After camp church Sunday morning I headed over to the Many Glacier region of the national park. Pretty area, pretty congested. I did sight a golden eagle soaring above the canyon probably on the hunt—or perhaps just enjoying the view God set before him. Back at camp I slow-smoked a rack in the afternoon (seasoned only with freshly ground pink Himalayan sea salt & coarse Malabar black pepper, also freshly ground), making sure to keep an eye open for any hungry bears enticed by the smoker. Paired the ribs with red skin potato salad and a Fernie IPA.


Monday brought a 10½ hour drive from St Mary, MT to Williston, ND. I took the campground’s suggestion and avoided US 89 south of St Mary, taking a state highway a few miles north to avoid the construction zone I’d tolerated a week or so before. Good call because it was a pretty drive to Browning.

There’s hellauvalotta Montana east of the Rockies! I breezed along US 2, dubbed the Lewis & Clark Trail, with a steady tail wind and occasional rain showers. I don’t know that it increased my fuel economy any but it didn’t impair it and wasn’t an annoying side wind. I’ll take tail winds any day, and I could see the heavy rain stayed a few miles north of me on the Canadian border. As I finally crossed into North Dakota, adding the 48th state I’ve visited to my resume, I decided to check into a nearby motel and avoid having to search for a campsite so late in the day. Good call, I was tired and went to sleep without dinner, even though I hadn’t been bad all day.


I know why they call ’em badlands but from my vantage point they ain’t bad at all. These lands are extremely pretty in their own way. It’s easy to love mountains; they’re so impressive in their grandeur. But prairie lands and canyonlands offer their own style of beauty.

At Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit I dragged Synko up and down the scenic drive, impressed by the sights of the grasses, rocks, rivers, vistas and buffalo. While probably not as well know as the big-name parks, this refuge is absolutely stunning. I chatted with a couple about this and we all agreed our pictures don’t capture the immenseness, depth or scope of the scenery. For me, the pics will always remind me of just how grand, how intense, how intricate, how beautiful God’s creation is.  You cannot truly experience and appreciate this and not believe.

Next up: The Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota.