Thursday, August 17, 2006

Glacier on Fire

Our drive was short today and soon after passing Browning, a town in the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, we could see smoke coming up from the mountains. At first it looked like it was coming right toward us, and then it looked like it was heading north, in the same direction that we were heading to get to St. Mary’s. I wondered if the ranger I had spoken to was wrong. There was no way we would stay if our campground was filled with smoke.

I decided that, if needed, we would just continue straight through the park to West Glacier, where there wouldn’t be any smoke, and hope that they had space for us there.

We drove right through the thickest part of the plume and past large stands of burnt forest on the reservation. St. Mary’s was clear, as it sits to the north and slightly to the west of Red Eagle Mountain. We could still easily see the smoke out the window of the camper.

It’s a good thing that we were safe at St. Mary’s, because I learned from a fellow camper that no vehicles with a total length of over 21 feet are allowed to cross through the park on Going-to-the-Sun Road. We will have to return to Browning and travel to the south of the park on Wednesday to get to West Glacier.

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