We are staying in Whitefish on the west side of Glacier and we wanted to get over to the east side. There are a lot of options too – St. Mary’s Lake, Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and so on.
Well, Brodie can’t come along with us so we need to think about that…basically, we don’t want to leave him home alone for too long while we are out hiking.
We decided on the Two Medicine area because it looks awesome! (check out Rising Wolf below!!) It happens to be the closest place to hike on the east side of the park coming from Whitefish (when Going to the Sun Road is still closed).
History Lesson on the Theodore Roosevelt Highway (US Hwy 2)
The drive to Two Med is pretty awesome, too, and there is a video of our drive below. Since Going to the Sun Road is still closed, Hwy 2 is the only viable route to get to Two Med. Now, when we drove to Whitefish initially (coming from Great Falls), we actually drove this route East to West.
It seemed like a fine road and sort of interesting. It wasn’t boring. I didn’t find it particularly scenic. I thought it was because we’ve been on plenty of alpine roads before. It may have been because we had been on the road for days and days on that initial drive. This time it seemed amazing.
The road crosses the Continental Divide at Marias Pass. When Lewis and Clark were passing through Montana in 1805 they got very close to Marias Pass, about 25 miles away. They crossed at a much more difficult pass that was higher after following the Missouri River south. Lewis named the river after his cousin, Maria. The apostrophe was lost over the years just as the pass with the same name.
In 1889, the Great Northern Railroad sent out an engineer named Stevens along with his Flathead Valley guide, Coonsa. They were out there in December when the temperature was –40º F. Stevens went out with snowshoes one night and found the pass. It is wide, sweeping, and provides a suitable path for a railroad.
Still, even though it is the closest place, it is about a 2 hour drive. Once you get in to “Two Med” (as the locals call it) – there really isn’t anywhere to drive. During the summer season you can take a boat over to the other side of the lake to start a hike over there, but otherwise you have to go immediately on foot.
We debated what to hike over there, especially since we knew we would only be going once. Of concern was (in no particular order) – bears, leaving Brodie alone, Elizabeth’s knees, and the weather. We opted for an easy hike – only about 4 miles or so, instead of doing a more difficult 7 or 8 mile hike that gained a lot of elevation. It turned out to be a good thing, because a nice mountain storm came through right as we were finishing! We would have been stuck up there in that, and that would not have been fun!
There are a lot trains in this area – we hear them all the time!
If you are interested in seeing a video of one, click here.
We felt bad leaving Brodie alone for so long, so when we got back we decided to pick him up and take him to our favorite in town brewery, Bonsai. On the way we went to Piggyback Barbecue to pick up dinner to eat at the brewery. Ladies and gentlemen, someone needs to bring Southern or Texas barbecue to Montana! Anything would be better than what we had here!
Well, we still ate it – it was good enough, but I guess I was craving some comfort food.
Check out this post of Brodie learning some new tricks at Bonsai! He’s a really good dog!