June 6, 2013: U.S. 2 east, Running Eagle Falls, Two Medicine Lake, U.S. 2 east, MT 213 to MT 215, Interstate 15 north to Sweetgrass, MT, Interstate 15 south to Helena, MT

Enjoying my room, I shortly checked out, and went by downtown to look into the Internet shop to see if they could do any back-up. They had a model computer that looked to be able to do the job, but they were closed and it was early in the morning. I stopped for breakfast, and then took U.S. 93 north to U.S. 2, through Columbia Falls, then West Glacier. I figured to run more video, but it was backlighted, so instead stopped at a wide spot for photos of the Flathead River, then did a leisurely motor to Marias Pass, a photo op and break. The rail line made for some interest, and then I was down east of the Continental Divide, and to East Glacier.

Wishing to visit new parts of the national park, I took the road to Two Medicine Lake. Running video, I stopped at the park entrance sign for the photo op, wisely provided by the NPS. I took my time doing self video, and sought to get it right. I had to delete many clips, as I failed to use a tripod, instead relying on makeshift set-ups for my camera, resting on my car hood.

Entering the park, I got my annual park pass, the $80 charged by credit card, which may be my last one ever. I will soon be over 62, whereby I will be eligible for the Golden Age discount, then it will be park after park entry, all for free! I quizzed the ranger about Griz hazards, and she said that there had not been any recent bear sightings where I was going to hike.

I parked at the lot with the 0.3 mile trail to Running Eagle Falls, a worthy sight. Taking my small vial of pepper spray, this was considered highly deficient as a large $45 can is what is recommended, but it is better than nothing, by me. A trail sign advised of Grizzly bears, which have killed a couple hikers last year and mauled some, in news reports, lately. I’d take my chances, alone, and seeking only a short stay at the falls.

Taking pictures as I hiked up the trail, I kept a watch out for any dangers. There is a stream crossing with a log bridge, so I did video as I crossed. Other people were about. I came to the falls viewing platform, and it was going good. I captured the scene with all of my cameras, as this was a Kodak moment. Hiking closer to the falls, I did more camera work, and gratefully could do some audio though the roar of the falls was overwhelming. The clouds drifted and the light changed, but I had my time here, so left after about a half an hour. I chatted with some folks from Pennsylvania, by them, and they reported damage to the scenery, due to the oil drilling, in North Dakota. It is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, too, and though I have wished to visit the site of the largest land battle in the Western Hemisphere, may just track any events on the Net and TV.

Back to the car, I had time, so motored on to the parking lot for Two Medicine Lake. I ventured out on the pier, doing panoramas, and enjoying the scene. More self video, as it was too good to resist. I went by the store, where I got some drink, and then motored back to U.S. 2. Taking a good break with huckleberry ice cream, I headed on east.

Towns with a museum made for potential stops, but I feel displays for history can be readily done for the Net, and I’d rather peruse information online from home, rather than take precious time on vacation. I take photos of museums, to be posted on my website and with high res photos available on request should someone wish to read the text, easily then sent by e-mail. But I can’t do this as good as the curators should, and that there is brick and mortar is still supported, so I guess it will go for the Net disenabled.

With a stop at a vistapoint with views back west, I headed on. There was a cutoff to head north by remote highways as suggested by my maps, so I took it. It turns right (east), and it is high speed, though two lane. I did more video, careful about running off the narrow road, and then I was to Interstate 15. My destination and bucket list goal was to go to the Canadian border. I had done some research and saw there is no big visitor center at the crossing but for customs, but headed north to check it out. Exiting at Sweetgrass, MT, the final exit before the crossing, I took some side streets to over north of town, and slowly motored west. I came to the junction of some streets, and there was a dirt road leading north.

Parking my car, I walked on this dirt road and passed by a sign indicating entry into the United States. There is no fence or painted line, but then an open field with homes across the way that I presume is Canada. Not wishing to be a problem for border security, I stopped and took pictures of this sign, uncertain if I was actually in Canada. There are surveying inaccuracies, and by my maps, I was just short of the border, but there was the sign, and so I may claim being somewhat of an international traveler, now.

I returned to the rest area by the freeway, and took more photos with a rest. No souvenir shops or anything much. A U.S., a Montana, and a Canadian flag fluttered in the breeze, making for a video op, then it was back to the Interstate and southbound at 75 mph. Little traffic, so I did more video. What a hoot and holler!

High speed with distant mountains to the east, then it grew to some boredom. There was Great Falls, MT, so I did a loop, making sure that I had driven the Interstate in full, and there were more sights along the way. I stopped at a viewpoint with some hiking to a point with views, doing more video, and then, with photos on the Interstate, finally came to Helena, MT, where I had a simple salad. A long driving day with sights, and the last of lodging for three nights. Now, I can say that I have driven all of Interstate 15 from Sweetgrass, MT, to San Diego, CA. Quite the highway, some may say that I haven’t done it since I didn’t drive it all, both ways!

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