Although it often feels like we are on an extended vacation, and we generally have the freedom to go where we want when we want, the truth is we are both still working while we are traveling. That means that sometimes duty calls even when you are in beautiful Glacier National Park. We needed to put in some work hours before doing any more exploring so we decided to find a coffee shop nearby.
There are several coffee shops in Columbia Falls near where we had camped the night before. We chose Odd Fellows Coffee Shop and we were glad we did. They had only been open about a month and we like to support new, independent businesses in the areas we visit. The coffee was very good and they had a variety of both sweet and savory baked goods. Comfortable seating, good natural light, free wifi, and friendly service made it a very pleasant experience. Time flew by as we spent the next several hours working on various projects.
With work completed, we headed back into the park. As it was well into the afternoon by this point, we opted to drive the Going to the Sun Road through the park. The road is only open for a short time each year due to snowfall and it is truly spectacular. You see glaciers, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, and turquoise lakes as you drive the windy mountain road. It took us several hours to drive the 50-mile road as we stopped many times to marvel at the scenery and of course, take photographs. Aside from the natural beauty, the road itself is an amazing feat of engineering.
It was evening by the time we exited the park at the St Mary’s entrance. We decided to look for a place to camp on that side rather than drive all the way back to West Glacier. We were happy to find a free spot at Malstrom AFB Recreation area in Browning Montana. We were the only ones there and the place was a bit unkempt with lots of trash around. We ignored that and focused on the price (free!) and the pretty lake view.