Glacier Park Vacation Adventure [Part Two]
Despite Ben's hilarious evaluation of my vacation as one of the things I "almost" saw, we did see some beautiful things and met some wonderful people along the way. Including two lovely ladies from Minnesota who actually got great pictures of the Grizzly we narrowly missed and were kind enough to share them.
We did stop beside St. Mary Lake at what is referred to as a "bear jam." It is a roadside gathering of people and their vehicles when a Grizzly bear sighting is suspected or confirmed. Carolyn saw just the tips of his ears as he lounged lakeside, but the two park rangers also in attendance gave me a loud "move along" command and I obeyed.
No trip to Glacier National Park would be complete without a stop at a restaurant originally known to mostly the local residents in the St. Mary area of the park. Johnson's Cafe was started in the early 1950's with "no experience, no running water, no electricity, 10 pounds of hamburger and a loaf of bread."
It is legendary now for its family style dinners, which include their famous homemade vegetable beef soup, homemade bread, coleslaw and mashed potatoes, along with your choice of entree, served family-style on antique tables and tables made out of antiques - like old Singer sewing machines. It's kitschy, it's extremely rustic, could never be described as gourmet, but it's soul-warming.
We met a lovely Indian couple and their adorable baby there. They opted for no soup (because of the beef, which their religion forbids them to eat) and went for the huge black bean burgers (a recent addition no doubt, to cater to vegetarian tourists) with a basket of fries the size of a football.
There was also a large multi-generational Italian family whose young people translated the menu to their grandparents and a grumpy German man and wife who thought the nightly special was all they could order and did so, unhappily.
We finished dinner and headed out into the waning daylight for what became a treacherous ride back to our lodgings. Unbeknownst to many Glacier Park travelers is the fact that areas you travel on the edge of the park are part of the Blackfoot Indian Reservation, where ranching involves free range cattle. A lot of free range cattle! A good many of them are Black Angus who have no issues with standing in the middle of a twisting, dangerous road, robed in the darkness of the night and their own color.
The speed limit through much of this area is 25, and that can be too fast! During a particularly harrowing part of this journey I was being tailgated by someone in a dark SUV who had their brights on the whole time. I pulled off several times to allow them to pass, but after venturing the road as leader, they would pull off and once again they would follow me!
At one point we came "bumper to beef" with a huge black Angus standing in the middle of the road. The person following me didn't realize I had stopped for a cow and attempted to pass until they saw the black behemoth and backed off. I swore if I happened to see these people again, it might come to violence.
There is an eerie silence which settles over two people in situations like this and that was the case with my sister and I. We barely spoke except for the expletives being uttered by me at the cows in the road, the darkness surrounding us and the moron behind me. But eventually we made it home, safe, sound and almost sane; collapsed into bed and slept the sleep of the dead, which thankfully we were not!