We woke up early this morning because we were going on the Circle Tour today. That was hard for me in particular because I stayed up until 12:30 last night working on our blog.
The Circle Tour is an all-day, 145 mile tour that shows us lots and lots of the most beautiful places in Glacier National Park. We go from ~3,200 feet elevation to ~6,600 feet elevation. It's a dramatic and beautiful trip, and my grandpa was going to be driving the tour bus, so we were really looking forward to it.
We got to the lodge around 8:45 and were looking around the gift shop before our bus left when a lady came up to us. She anxiously asked if we were 'the bikers'. When we said 'yes', she said she had taken a bus tour with my grandpa yesterday, and he had talked all about us. She told us our story really inspired her, and she was very excited to meet us. How cool! After finishing up in the gift shop, we boarded the tour bus.
The first thing on the tour was introductions, but before they even started, my grandpa introduced Nathan and I and told everyone that we had biked here from the west coast. Haha. :-) Here we go.
The tour was amazing, beautiful, astonishing, breathtaking, gorgeous. There are not many places as beautiful as Glacier National Park. Here is a quick overview video of our trip today.
My grandpa told us all about how the mountains were formed, how glaciers were formed, how snow melt affects river and lake levels (and then rafting and boating and hiking). We learned a lot about forest fires too. 99% of all the fires here are caused by lightening strikes. I wouldn't have guessed that. We learned how fires are very good for nature, and we saw lots of burned areas, and many areas of regrowth as well. It was really cool to see nature's cycle all over the park. Here's a video of my grandpa teaching us about how glaciers are formed and when Glacier National Park's glaciers are expected to disappear (I even get to play "the glacier"!):
O, and we saw a black bear and a mountain goat, too! We weren't able to get any pictures of them, but it was still really neat to see them.
When we got up higher in the mountains, my grandpa took the top off of the tour bus. It was so cool to ride in a convertible-style bus while we went through the mountains. It made the views all the more astonishing.
On our tour, there was another cross-country biker on the bus! We can't remember his name, but he's going East to West, so he's almost done. It was cool to spend the day with another guy who was also wearing his bike clothes. :-)
A funny thing happened at lunchtime on our tour: We had lunch at McDonald lodge in the park. Our waiter came over and said the special for the day was a gorgonzola-stuffed hamburger served with a side of fish sticks. Karen and I were going to order it, but when the waiter came back and we told him we wanted it, he apologized and said that we could not have it. Apparently, the kitchen just made it up to play a joke on him!
After the tour, Grandpa and Karen made us a special dinner. Karen fried up potatoes and corn, and grandpa cooked steaks on the grill. It was great! Then Karen made us fresh "salty, thin, and crispy oatmeal cookies". They are SOO good. I'm pretty sure Nathan's addicted to them. He's been eating them the whole time we've been here, and he's still eating them. As soon as they are done cooking, he'll just grab another one! The secret ingredient, I think, is sea salt. After Karen puts the dough on the pan to cook, she sprinkles the cookies with sea salt. Who thought salted cookies would be so good, but they're amazing!
After dinner, we finally repacked all of our stuff in ziplock bags. Ever since the rainstorm that got all of our stuff wet, we've wanted to put everything in seal-able ziplock bags. It's nice to finally have that done, especially since there's a 60% chance of rain tomorrow!
While we were repacking our things, I found a bunch of postcards I'd written to my grandparents but never mailed! So I gave them all their postcards just now.
O, and that reminds me, if anyone wants a postcard, just comment on this blog post or use the 'Contact' section of our website to send us your address. We'd love to send you a note on our trip! I just about about 30 more postcards today on our tour too...so I need somewhere to send them!
Gosh, it's amazing how fast these past 3 days have gone by. We're heading out tomorrow, but our days here have been a wonderful oasis of rest and time to catch up for us. Thanks for everything grandpa and Karen. We love you, and we're SO GLAD we came!
Now it's time for our last night's sleep on a mattress. We're going to enjoy every last minute.