Wildfire closes Going-to-the-Sun
It’s wildfire season in Montana. And thanks to drought in many areas, it’s shaping up to be a bad one.
Most notably this week: A growing wildfire in Glacier National Park has closed most of Going-to-the-Sun Road.
That made a scary night for many visitors hoping to stay in the area. Mountain Pine Motel owner Terry Sherburne was booked up and wondering where all the misplaced travelers would stay.
“It’s pretty tough – there’s no place I know of in East Glacier that has rooms for tonight, and all those people at Rising Sun will need to go someplace.”
A friend of Sherburne’s who manages the Two Dog Flats Grill at Rising Sun “can’t get back to get her things,” he said, and will be spending the night on the only spare bed he has – a rollaway cot he’ll move into his living room.
“I’m sure if I had 30 more rooms I could rent them tonight,” Sherburne said.
Worse: Weather conditions for the rest of the week are worrisome.
You can find updates on the Reynolds Creek Fire at the Missoulian.com.
Until then, here’s more stories from our July/Aug issue.
Mountain Pine Motel and its lovely neighbors
The Mountain Pine Motel is a place where you can have huckleberry pie for breakfast and see the world’s largest purple spoon.
It’s a quintessential Montana spot, owned by the same family since it opened in 1947. Founding owner Doris Sherburne, 95, is still in charge. Writer Keila Szpaller and photographer Kurt Wilson introduced us to the motel in the our July/Aug issue.
Along with the story of Mountain Pine, Szpaller told us about the awesome neighbors the surround the motel, including the place that encourages patrons to have pie for breakfast and the see the world’s largest purple spoon.
The pie: AT LUNA’S RESTAURANT, ABOUT A BLOCK AWAY FROM THE HOTEL, THE MENU OFFERS HUCKLEBERRY PIE, AND IT’S LISTED AS A BREAKFAST STAPLE. IN CASE YOU WONDERED, A SLICE COSTS $5.50, AND IT’S “A PERFECTLY RESPECTABLE BREAKFAST!”
The spoon: ALSO JUST ACROSS THE STREET? THE WORLD’S LARGEST PURPLE SPOON. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS IT. ACTUALLY, THE ENORMOUS UTENSIL WILL LEAD YOU TO THE SPIRAL SPOON, A SMALL SHOP WITH GREAT BEAUTY IN ITS HANDCRAFTED SPOONS.
Oh, and in case you’re still hungry, this: SURE, EAST GLACIER IS CLOSER TO CANADA THAN IT IS TO MEXICO, BUT FOR SOME DELICIOUS ENCHILADAS, BURRITOS, GUACAMOLE, AND OTHER MEXICAN FARE, HEAD TO SERRANO’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT, ACROSS THE RAILROAD TRACKS. BEVERAGE OF CHOICE? THE HOUSE MARGARITA, WITH SALT ON THE RIM.
Here’s hoping you can go explore East Glacier soon!
Glacier’s longest-running hiking crew forms close bond with park
Story and photos by Becky Lomax
On a gray drippy day, a group of 16 Flathead Valley hikers, ages 60 to mid-80, eyeball the pouring rain.
Inside their restaurant meeting place on the west side of Glacier National Park, no one looks at a menu to order breakfast.
The waitress, greeting the regulars by name, asks, “You want the usual?”
One member quips, “With the rain, maybe we should stick around for lunch.”
But weather does not deter these weekly hikers. Not rain, snow or single-digit temperatures.
Every Thursday, nearly year round, the Over the Hill Gang meets at the Glacier Grill in Coram.
After breakfast, they depart to multiple trailheads – some to lung-busting, seldom-visited peaks, and others to worn paths where every red mudstone and gnarled sub-alpine fir is a familiar friend.
It was 1976 when five men in their 60s launched the Over the Hill Gang.
Since then, the gang has grown, evolved with new faces, and garnered the reputation as the longest running hiking group in Glacier. The big adventurers have climbed to hidden lakes, bushwhacked cross-country routes, and summited crags, often returning after dark.
For hikers that could have bragging rights as giant as the roster of peaks they’ve climbed, they ditched egos years ago behind some clump of beargrass in favor of camaraderie.
Glacier’s Over the Hill Gang
Year Established: 1976
Headquarters: Glacier Grill, Coram
Membership dues: $0
Hiking day: every Thursday, year-round
Attendance: approximately 30, for peak summer hikes
To read the full story on the Over the Hill Gang, subscribe today!
TBT: Remember these summertime stories?
It’s that time of week again: to for a little Throwback Thursday action.
In honor of the first day of summer on Sunday, we’re pulling up a few of our most popular stories from the summer of 2014.
First, this awesome feature on the 75th anniversary of Montana state parks – which are really great places to play during the summer. There are 54 state parks in Montana.
Here’s our feature from the May/June 2014 issue. It includes an interactive map so you can see where you might want to go this summer. Need a little more info? Here’s a post about a book all about the parks.
And we can’t forget Glacier and Yellowstone when we’re talking about summer. Here’s a story on a great way to see both the parks: In vintage cruiser buses. Yellow in Yellowstone and red in Glacier.
To get our most recent dose of summertime stories, subscribe today!
Come with us from Park-to-Park: Glacier to Yellowstone
All week we’ve been taking you to place we think are some of the best stops on any journey from Yellowstone to Glacier.
We’ve been to fishing towns and museums, and to places where the scenery will stop you in your tracks.
- Stop 1: Where buffalo roam (downtown
- Stop 2: More than a fly fishing Mecca
- Stop 3: A beautiful place of refuge
- Stop 4: A brief detour to Going-to-the-Sun
- Stop 5: Charlie Russell’s home town
- Stop 6: A huckleberry haven
In our May/June feature, you can view the entire trip, both our eastern and western routes. There’s more must-stop suggestions too.
- Montana Magazine’s official Park-to-Park routes
Park-to-Park stop No. 4: A detour up Going-to-the-Sun
We’re interrupting our regularly scheduled program – AKA Stop No. 4 on our virtual Park-to-Park journey- for a special notice: Going-to-the-Sun Road has opened to vehicle traffic on the west side.
It’s a summer right of passage each year in Montana when the highway through Glacier opens. And this year it’s a touch earlier than most. Actually, it fits into our trip pretty nicely.
- Read our Park-to-Park story inside the May/June issue here
The announcement Wednesday means it’s the earliest opening in a decade, according to Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin.
It’s still a winter wonderland at Logan Pass, where (Park spokesperson Denise) Germann said visitors will encounter a snow-covered landscape, not to mention temperatures that are running 25 to 30 degrees cooler than ones found in Flathead Valley floors this week.
Any wind will make it feel even chillier.
While the entire 50 miles of Going-to-the-Sun is slated to open on June 19, drivers should still expect delays of up to 30 minutes on the east side of the park this summer as the road work continues. Sun Point, which is being used as a staging area for the road rehabilitation, will remain closed to all visitor uses this summer.
Just four years ago, Going-to-the-Sun had its latest opening since 1933, the year it was dedicated on July 15. In 2011, deep snows and bad weather delayed it until July 13.
So what are you waiting for? Get up to Glacier!
We’ll have more great Glacier stories in our upcoming July/August issue. Subscribe today and don’t miss a Montana moment.
Park-to-Park stop No. 2: Ennis is more than a fly fishing mecca
We’re continuing our virtual trip from Park-to-Park today (which for our own purposes we’re calling Travel Tuesday) with a stop in Ennis.
It’s on our West Route from Glacier to Yellowstone.
- Read our entire Park-to-Park story here
Ennis is a place known for its fly fishing wonders. We’d be remiss to not point out that the town – according to the chamber of commerce website – is home to the largest hand-tied fly ever made (huge kudos to anyone who can send us a photo of that). There’s also a ton of outdoor art around the town.
It’s also a place on the “Backroad to Yellowstone” – which is a road through the Madison Valley. Beautiful might be an understatement for that area.
- Here’s a fun list of 20 Things To Do In Ennis
Not a bad stop over point if you’re going from Glacier to Yellowstone.
Goat Haunt: Glacier’s unlikely passport portal
You may – or may not – need your passport to get into this slice of heaven inside Glacier National Park.
It depends on how you get there. As writer Becky Lomax explains, Goat Haunt inside Glacier National Park is both accessible front country, and hard-to-reach backcountry.
But, for full disclosure’s sake, we have to tell you, there aren’t any goats in Goat Haunt.
Despite its remoteness, Goat Haunt has a unique history. Its name comes from Goat Haunt Mountain, an 8,641-foot high summit to the east, perhaps named by the Blackfeet for a concentration of goats.
But mountain goats do not inhabit Goat Haunt. The elevation is too low and the heavy forest surrounding it is not their favored habitat. The only goat is a metal weather vane on top of the observation pavilion.
Read more here.
And if you’ve ever been to Goat Haunt, we’d love to hear your stories – send them our way to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And to get more on Glacier all year round, subscribe today.