I have a good Hostel experience at Brownie’s in East Glacier. It’s a small bakery that has a hostel above it. Private rooms are the same price as camping in the park, but they're out of private rooms by the time I check in. I have a bit of trouble sleeping with the squeaky floors announcing every time one of the guests is making a stop at the bathrooms since they are right outside the women’s dorms, but I still love the place if for no other reason than the convenience and deliciousness of its baked goods. Before leaving I grab a brownie to go and the namesake brownie is probably the best I’ve ever had. It is chewy and fudgey with a thin layer of slightly crisp chocolate icing and much too big to eat in one day.
From East Glacier I travel into Kalispell and visit the Conrad Mansion. It’s a lovely 26 room home from the 1890’s kept in its original state complete with furnishings by the daughter of the wealthy merchant who had the home constructed for his family. Throughout her life, the daughter made every effort to keep the home in exactly the state it was in when her Father died and eventually gave the home to the city in the 1970’s when she was near death even though she herself had been struggling financially for some time and ended up living in a trailer beside the mansion because she couldn't afford the utilities.
The tour is excellent in part due to the daughter’s involvement, as she passed down all her knowledge of the history behind the home and furnishings before she died. The guides are able to tell you how much certain pieces of furniture cost, how the family would have a two story Christmas tree in the entryway, that certain pieces of china came from a trip to Japan. Everything has a story and a history.
On my way through some of Montana’s scenic byways to my next stop, I pick up a good country music station on the radio. I’m not a fan but something about the countryside of rolling hills and big open skies makes the music seem fitting and I can’t help myself.