|I was thinking about going to another national park after West Yellow Stone and heard about Glacier National Park. With nice weather and early summer season. It all looked a nice possibility.
Planning: Last minute planning and called Glacier Jet Center to get a car and hotel. They were actually very nice and promptly got me all setup within half an hour.
Trip: My planned route of flight was VFR (KPAE – SEA-EAT-GEG-FCA-KGPI). This is a more direct route and with Oxygen on board, flying at the right altitude is not a problem for Mooney. It was a little bumpy over the mountains. However, not too bad for the most part of the trip. Going from GEG to GPI was certianly even more pretty and more bumpy. Having Oxygen is really nice on a trip like this since I was able to climb up higher to avoid some of the bumps. There was some forecast of thunderstoms in Montana. With the XM weather onboard; I am usually a little bit more confident about weather.
Coming back was another interesting trip. I filed IFR for 12, 000 and it seemed like it took a long time to climb. I was really cautious about following my departure procedure to avoid obstacles and keep on course. I was in and out of clouds most of the times with some solid IMC on the way. I was actually glad that I filled IFR since 12000 was pretty much the minimum I was planning to fly and that guaranteed me to be in clouds for part of the trip. Just before approaching GEG; center gave me direct KPAE. I was planning to avoid direct flight over the mountains but with clear weather and wind advantage; I decided to take the shorter route.
Overall Experience: It is a nice airport with a lot more activities to do then I expected. Pick up a tour guide and be surprised. We stayed in the Holiday Inn Express (was not any thing fancy but pretty decent hotel in White Fish).
Drive around Lake McDonald is amazing; You can do horse back riding; Whitewater rafting; boating; cycling; hiking among other things. There was just too much to do for our short trip.
We just planned a day. Definitely not enough for such a nice place. Plan to spend a few days and you will find even more stuff to do and will be amazed.