Glacier National Park ~ Building a Compound, Many Glacier and a Boat Ride

July 22 – 24th ~ Chewing Black Bones Campground

On the dock, Swiftcurrent Lake

We were sad to pack up and depart our fab spot at Apgar Campground, right on Lake McDonald, but it was time to move on and explore a different region of Glacier. The St Mary Campground was reservation only, and booked solid until the end of the season so we were on the hunt for an alternate place to stay. 

One of the rangers at the Apgar Visitors Center mentioned a campsite called Chewing Black Bones on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation which might be a possible site. It was located just south of Babb, and convenient for both St Mary and Many Glaciers area. So off we went in pursuit of our next parking spot.

They did have plenty of room and the first night was just OK. For $55, we had full hookups but we were just in the middle of a field – no trees, dry grass, and no ambiance. So, after exploring the park, we found a great site down by the water and hopped over to the office to find out if it was available and if we could move there for the next three nights.

Both RV’s fit on the same spot

Lucky for us, it would fit BOTH of our RV’s on one spot! This was very unusual because most parks would not have offered or allowed this. They also only charged us for the ONE spot.

There were no hook-ups, but for now only $12.50 a night per couple we had a new home base. What fun we had turning it into our private compound with overlapping awnings, and a picnic table in-between us, we were sheltered from the wind and had a measure of privacy.

Our little compound

Tim and Dick even managed to hook up the outside TV which allowed us to watch the latest episode of The Bachelorette!

How cool is this – watching a favorite TV episode in the middle of nowhere

You must notice the great “Happy Campers” flag that our friends Laura and Michael presented to us right after we purchased Ellie Mae. It was so appropriate to hang it here!

After all the hiking and exploring over the past week, we were in need of some time off to get reorganized once again. That meant LAUNDRY which is probably my least favorite thing to do.

Well, let me tell you, this was a fiasco.

They advertised that they had a laundry facility on the property so Tim and I loaded our four bags of sorted clothes into the car and headed up to the office. Two out of the three washing machines were working. We loaded them up, and got them going – no problem so far.

Then came time to dry them. Again two out of the three dryers were hooked up. I tossed the first two loads in the dryers, put in my quarters and off they went. No one was waiting so I quickly loaded the washers again with loads three and four. Got them started and turned around to check the dryers and one had stopped running.

Hmmm, not good. I checked with the young guys working the check-in desk around the corner. They fiddled a bit, checked the breakers, and got it restarted – for about 30 seconds.

So, now I have four loads of wet laundry and only one working dryer. OK, I am going to be here for a while. At least they had Internet in the lobby and I could get a bit of writing done.

When the first load finished up, I went back to switch it out, and found about an inch of water on the floor. A pipe had broken in the wall and flooded both the laundry room and the next door men’s room which already had an “out of order” sign on the door. Back to the desk I asked if they had a mop.

The guys mopped and mopped as more water streamed out. They finally got the water flow stopped and cleaned up. Load number two went into the dryer.

In thirty minutes I checked on it. Thankfully it was still running, but the floor was flooded – AGAIN.

Eventually the floor got mopped up, a fan in place, and no further drama other than a long wait to dry loads three and four.

This entire episode did not do anything to improve my feelings about doing laundry…

But we were up here to see the Many Glacier area, so the next morning our touring resumed.

Lake Sherburne

Photo stop along the side of Many Glacier Road

Another stop at Many Glacier Hotel to check out the architecture and view as well as learn where our 3:00 lake cruise would depart from.

Many Glacier Hotel

We did take a quick look at a room with an open door. It was quite small, basic, rustic, but with a view to die for. We did not check on the rates, but imagine it is quite expensive.

We wanted to hike to see Redrock Falls, but started too late, so only made it to Redrock Lake (could see the falls from the distance across the lake), before we needed to turn around and return to the hotel for our afternoon cruise.

Redrock Lake with falls in the distance across the lake

On the way toward Red Rock Lake we had taken a short detour to Fishercap Lake where there had been numerous moose sighting. In fact a family we passed on the way in, said they had just seen one.

Wild Snapdragon

I was so excited that I would FINALLY get to see a moose. HaHa, the joke was on me, as by the time we got there, a sweet lady said, “Oh, you just missed it. I’m surprised you didn’t see her on the pathway to the lake as she went that way.”

Grrrrr. I STILL have not seen Bullwinkle!!!

Boat dock on Swiftcurrent Lake

The afternoon cruise loaded up just before 3:00 right below Many Glacier Hotel. Reservations can be made online and are recommended. We only found one departure that still had openings for all four of us, but they do set aside some seats for walk-up riders.

Click here for a link for Glacier Park Boat Company which will provide the current schedules, options and pricing.

Dick and Karen on Chief Two Guns

The trip lasts 1.5 hours and is relaxing while on the two historic wooden boats — Chief Two Guns on Swiftcurrent Lake and Morning Eagle on Lake Josephine. There is a short 1/4 mile hike (over a steep hill) between the two lakes right in the middle of the trip however to keep you moving. The narration provided was informative and talked a little about the few remaining glaciers in the area as well as an explanation of why the color of the lake is a milky turquoise blue.

Grinnell Glacier

Morning Eagle on Lake Josephine

Once you reach the far side of Lake Josephine, you have the option of taking the boat back to the hotel, or hiking. If it had been earlier in the day, we MAY have opted for the hike, as the area was beautiful. But we decided to remain on board and reversed our path back to the hotel.

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The view from the terrace at the hotel was very special indeed:

View from the deck of Many Glacier Hotel

Swiftcurrent Lake

Dinner was at “Two Sisters”, a restaurant close to our campsite that had been recommended. The best part of the meal turned out to be the huckleberry margaritas!

Huckleberry Margaritas

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the cozy little compound we created at the campground. Although the lack of attention to detail and mismanagement of the campground was glaring, they were very kind in allowing both rigs on the same spot. I think we will long remember the fun we had, especially being able to watch a silly TV show in the middle of nowhere without any hookups.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
This entry was posted in Montana, National Parks, Photography, RV Life, United States and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Glacier National Park ~ Building a Compound, Many Glacier and a Boat Ride

  1. mike alesko says:

    You guys seem to do well with flexibility and taking the unpredictable as it comes. That’s most certainly the way to best enjoy your travels. Good for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joylennick says:

    People can go off some people you know…huckleberry margaritas and visiting places like Chewing Black Bones campsites….Honestly! More dazzling shots of the area – what a beautiful place! Do you sometimes pinch yourselves?! Continue to enjoy.


  3. Situations like your laundry one is why hubby dearest and I bought a small washer/spin dryer for the trailer (Panda) and we keep a clothesline that we can hang under our awning. (I should probably mention that while in Canada it is perfectly acceptable and even a sign of affluence to be able to hang your laundry out to dry, we found in certain part of the USA especially in the south, it is regarded as a horrifically low class and foul thing to do. For which reason, we also bought a small portable dryer.) Probably wouldn’t be much good in a no service campsite but it can be very handy if you have a full hookup

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved your laundry fiasco. Bet you’re glad that’s over. And those margaritas!!!! Yum.


  5. Sapna says:

    Despite unpredictable situations, you seem to have a good time.
    Looks like a nice place, pictures are awesome.


  6. Terry says:

    Very nice day, the laundry situation you had is why I ravel with fast dry items that I can clean in a sink and hang up to dry in a few hours. The person cleaning my cruise ship room must have thought I was crazy as the first few mornings I had clothes hanging in the shower drying. Only took 4 days of clothes as usual on my trips. With drying clothes hanging at the campsite you would have looked like you moved in. HAHA. Such a nice time your having.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I too think laundry is the least favorite thing about this traveling life. The saving grace is I often meet some nice locals or fellow travelers and get good recommendations for places to go or places to eat. My favorite laundry rooms are the ones where it smells like something died in there. (yes, there have been two different places…) Love your shots and we are headed to the Canadian side in September.


  8. afternoonofsundries says:

    Sounds like a nightmare! That laundry would have ended up strewn over everything I could find and placed outside in the sun if it had been me! I think you handled it well. It looks like you’re having great fun, that hotel was beautiful and those views!!


  9. tippysmom2 says:

    I love all of your photos. The water and sky are equally clear and such and great color of blue. I’m glad you were able to get the campsite together. That looks like so much fun! The laundry sounds like an adventure. Bet the rest of the crew thought you had deserted them, or something, when it took so long.


  10. Jim & Jane says:

    Good on you for forgoing hookups for location. I think you could sell the laundry story to the comedy channel, what a laugh (for us, not you).


  11. Jerry Cave says:

    Once again I must say how spot on your narrative is , it’s just like being there ourselves


  12. Maxxtrails says:

    Well I had a good laugh over your laundry story, hopefully you can laugh about it now 🙂 Beautiful pictures!


  13. MT-MOONCHASER says:

    I think Many Glacier Hotel was the one on the east side that has just undergone a several year renovation. I heard they did a fabulous job.

    Lake Sherburne is the source of our irrigation water here on the Milk River in northeastern Montana. Water from it flows into the St. Mary’s River which is then diverted into a canal system with siphons and drops that delivers it into the Milk River drainage, which then flows into Canada and back into Montana, flowing into the Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam. The diversion and canal system are close to 100 years old and are impressive as samples of engineering from that time.


  14. Jill says:

    I enjoyed the comment about hanging out laundry as very low class! Well, in Australia, we all hang out our laundry to dry in the sun!!! LOL I do have a dryer but only use it in wet weather! I think a compact washer/dryer would be perfect for you, if there is room!


  15. curvyroads says:

    Beautiful photos! Because of the St Mary’s fire in 2015 we weren’t able to see either of those areas at all. We will just have to go back!

    I think I’ve mentioned that my husband and I may downsize our rig one day to a B+, but your laundry horror story makes me think twice. There is nothing better than coming back to the rig after a long day of scenery than effortlessly doing laundry in the rig while having dinner, reading or socializing. The downside is you almost always have to have a site reserved at our size, limiting flexibility. Hmmmm…


  16. Pingback: North Fork, Idaho ~ Building a Compound at Wagonhammer Campground | A Note From Abroad

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