Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 1: Kalispell to Apgar Creek Campground

I flew from San Francisco to Seattle, and then from Seattle to Kalispell on a propeller plane. At Kalispell airport, the rental car company told me that they did not have the economy car that I had reserved, but could give me a mini-van for the same price. I thought for a bit and realized that I liked the idea of having a mini-van if I could fold down the seats and sleep in it. The woman behind the counter told me that if I didn't like it I could bring it back tomorrow and exchange it for an economy car in the morning.

I drove out of the airport and headed towards Kalispell to the Rocky Mountain Outfitter, which had been recommended to me by some locals. There, I asked for methylated spirits for my alcohol stove. They did not have it, but pointed me at the NAPA down the street to get gas-line anti-freeze, which I was assured would work just as well. On the way there I ran into the Superfoods market to stock up on camping supplies, and then proceeded to the Napa where $3 got me a 16oz bottle of gas line anti-freeze.

I asked if the folks there knew how to fold down the seats in my Chrysler mini-van, but they didn't know off the top of my head, so I decided to just head towards Glacier National Park to camp out. I had previously found a couch surfing place to stay, but they had so many guests at the moment that I felt really rude barging into an already over-crowded house.

The drive out to Glacier National Park was fast, and I quickly arrived at the entrance to realize that I had forgotten to borrow a national parks pass from someone prior to the trip. No problem, I would simply buy one, since supporting the national parks is far from the worst thing in the world to do. Upon asking where a good place to get a sunset was, the park ranger immediately said Apgar Creek campground, for a view of the sunset across Lake MacDonald. I drove to the campground and starting unpacking my tent before realizing that I should figure out how to remove all the seats in the van. After removing nearly everything from the van, I figured out how to fold back the rear row of seats, and one of the seats in the middle row. That let me lay out my sleeping bag and sleeping pad, and still have plenty of room to put the rest of my gear. I then realized that since I did not need a tent spot, I could conceivably share a camp site with someone else who was tent camping, and split the costs. I packed away my tent, never to use it for the rest of the trip, and then found a Scotsman nearby named Ian who agreed to split a site with me.
From 2010 Canadian Rockies Fall Colors

I then ran off to shoot the sunset at Lake MacDonald. The sunset was beautiful, with a light hint of alpenglow. I made dinner, chatted with the campers next door who were on a long road trip across the country, and then went to bed in my van, hoping to wake up to an early sunrise that would be just as spectacular.

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