We get up and ready in plenty of time for a bellman to help us get our belongings down three floors, check out, get breakfast, race down to get my mother’s accidentally packed tablet out of the car (ugh), and hop on our Red Bus Tour of Glacier.
We’re on the Grand Circle tour, looping the outer edges of the park to come down Going to the Sun Rd west to east. It will take all day, and we get a late start because two members of the group are no-shows.
We wonder what became of the McGregors.
But in any case, soon we are off, with our guide Tom regaling us with stories of how the park came to be, how Hill ran the railroad but his son had the vision to bring guests, and built the lodges. How Mather grew dissatisfied with his Borax fortune and was inspired by Muir in Yosemite to get involved, pushing Washington DC to better support the parks and spending his own fortune to fund, hire, acquire. How the Blackfeet and the Parks came to exist side by side. How the red buses became iconic in this park.
And meanwhile, breathtaking mountains. Engineering miracles to build the road. And even bighorn sheep.
It is a long day. It is a great day.
And tomorrow we have to drive that winding narrow road, the other direction.
And maybe, tonight I’ll try to creep out and look for northern lights, if the clouds cooperate.
(Post-script: neither the sky nor our exhaustion helped us get northern lights last night)
##IRL: happy anniversary L&V