It was time to turn left and head toward the Rockies. But we had two more warm nights on the plains of eastern Montana before reaching Glacier National Park in the northwest part of the state.
This is where a photo of our campsite at Nelson Reservoir would have been appropriate, but we were held captive there in the van by swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. It was intimidating to step out long enough to watch the pairie dogs and the colorful sunset, especially given our still-fresh experience with chiggers. However a soak in the nearby hot springs the next morning was a wonderful consolation.
Continuing west, we spent a night in a small campground in view of the mountains, at the small town of Valier, on the shore of Lake Francis. It was a slice of a “locals scene” in the short Montana summer. The open skies put on a show late and early.
We started early for Glacier National Park, having heard the crowds were heavy. The east side of the park was relatively quiet and lit up by sunlight as we drove up the Going-to-the-Sun-Road. The parking lot midway at Logan Pass was full but we hadn’t intended to pause there.
Our goal was to camp at Bowman Lake in the northwest portion of the park. This area is managed for its remoteness, so the rough road leading there is only minimally maintained and not recommended for large vehicles.
We spent three days in this extraordinary place. We hiked the trail along the lakeshore. Early and late, we heard loons calling across the water. And it rained each afternoon.