Day 19: Kalispell/Evergreen to West Glacier Apgar Campground - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

June 19, 2021

Day 19: Kalispell/Evergreen to West Glacier Apgar Campground

Back roads and Bike Paths

“You’re already willing to forgive the Montana drivers?” Patrick says when Rachel commented that the turning cars are not stopping and blocking the Gateway to Glacier bike path that we picked up in Hungry Horse. It is refreshing to see that the stop sign is placed before the bike path crossing and people are following the sign.

Patrick has found on google maps back roads route out of Kalispell that take us around Columbia Falls and only briefly on US2 with and uncomfortable narrow shoulder and high speed traffic. We pass through Bad Rock Canyon, a travel corridor used by the Kootenai, Pend d’Oreilles (Kalispel) and Salish Indian Nations. There also is another spring coming out of a pipe at the roadside. In 1891, the Great Northern Railroad used this Indian corridor to build the railroad. At Hungry Horse, we stop at Carolyn’s for second breakfast. Across the road there’s an information site about Glacier National Park, we are told we don’t need permits to enter the park since we’re on bikes. We then pick up the bike path all the way into West Glacier. Gateway to Glacier Trail Map -Hungry Horse to West Glacier | TrailLink 

The trail first follows the south side, then the north side of US2, and occasionally goes off a bike path by using the old highway 2 road keeping it continuous. We see a cyclist coming toward us. She stops and asks “are you Pat?” This is the WS host in Coram who couldn’t host us on Friday night. She also had information about the Going to the Sun Road: the road is open as a through route on Sunday only. And rain is in the forecast.

The Going to the Sun Road will be open to cyclists tomorrow because it’s Sunday and there will no crews working to clear the road. The forecast is for rain though, lots of rain, and Avalanche Campground is closed making the distance to get over the pass by 11am much more difficult. We talk over options: continue to Sprague Campground and see what the weather actually does, and if clear ride the pass, or stay in Apgar, take a rest day and accept that we will need to ride the Southern Route over Marias Pass. 

We decide the latter and head for a hiker-biker campsite in the Apgar campground. We meet Trajan, a young cyclist from Wisconsin on his way to Sacramento CA. For dinner we walk back to the Apgar townsite and have a mediocre, and overpriced hamburger at the local eatery. The Moose Drool draught is excellent though. 

We see the rain coming over Lake MacDonald, and wonder if perhaps it’s snowing on the pass.  

The Middle Road....
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Scott AndersonBeautiful photograph.
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"Are you Pat?" We meet the WS host in Coram.
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Hiker-Biker area in Apgar Campground
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Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 731 miles (1,176 km)

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