Transcontinental Gas Guzzle, part two

Glacier National Park rorschach.

Camp 3 at Glacier NP. One night under the stars was enough, and the missing tent has been replaced. Just in time,too, as it poured all night. Late May and the park still wasn't really properly open for the season. Remnant piles of snow (not pictured) and an endless carpet of lichen, branches and leaf litter gave a sense of how long and violent the northern Montana winter must be. There is now a fifty dollar fine levied for leaving any items of food or even items which may have "food odors" out unattended, since this place is wall to wall with grizzly bears. We didn't see any.

Calypso bulbosa, a diminutive but spectacular solitary orchid of the evergreen forest floor.

An intensely beautiful forest, rather like the Maine woods on steroids.

Camp 4. A second successive night huddled under the blue polytarp, cooking ramen over a bunsen burner was deemed rather too much adventure, so we retired in comfort to the Hi-Line motel, named, like almost everything else along Route 2, for the legendary trans-Rockies train line it follows. Here, as opposed to the rest of the country, where paved roads soon made the train tracks all but obsolete, the rail line is still a focus of town life and commerce. Enormous lengths of freight, mostly extra long containers, piled double, in snakes of hundreds of cars, chugged by at all hours. This was in Havre, Montana, where the waitress at the casino-restaurant (a designation which means that one can play Keno while eating, or stop at one of a dozen or so video one-armed bandits on the way to the toilet) told us "Havre is the biggest town on the Hi-Line, which is kind of sad, really."

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