Honestly, it sounded almost biblical. “And on the second day, we wandered the wilderness until we came to Babb.”
Our plan was to explore Many Glacier, but the road was temporarily closed for repairs. We waited and waited and waited, alternately giving plaintive looks to the road crew and scanning the landscape for wildflowers and bears, but our morning was unspooling and finally, we reluctantly turned back. And that took us back to Babb. Population: 174.
Gail and I combed through the little vintage shop and Thronson’s General Store in search of souvenirs – Glacier-themed caps and tees are less expensive here than inside the park, so that right there was a reason to be in Babb.
Another reason is Two Sisters Café where there was a line outside the door twenty minutes before opening time. Where you can order “Trout and Waffles” (we didn’t) or a Huckleberry Shake (we did). Where one of the owners stopped by our booth to chat and told us about the time a bear wandered in the back door. She said she threw an avocado at the bear, which the bear picked up and took along with him as he ambled away.
It’s not fancy but it’s fun, and judging from the way the place filled up, it might be the best (or only) bet near Babb. And if you’re looking for huckleberries, you’ve come to the right place.
After lunch, we turned back toward St. Mary and headed for the boat launch. We had a reservation with Glacier Park Boat Company for a tour of St. Mary Lake. If you’re staying in East Glacier, this is a must-do!
We got a coveted up-close view of Wild Goose Island,
If it looks familiar, it’s because you may remember it from Stanley Kubrick’s opening scene in “The Shining”:
Our experience was far more placid than Jack Nicholson’s. Our guide gave us a historical and geological primer and explained the concept of “glacial flour” that gives the lake its aquamarine hue.
We moored up the lake a ways and took a brief hike in to see a lovely waterfall.
Then it was time to head back to our little boat.
The CE struck up a conversation with the boat concession operator about the maintenance of the boats, some of which date back to the 1920’s! (Glad we didn’t know that before we boarded…) He explained that they work on the boats all winter “back in town”. Town, I wondered? “You mean in Babb?” I asked, trying to imagine spending the winter in Babb. He shook his head. “Kalispell”, he explained. “Oh no, he said, definitively, “Not Babb.” And then, because he couldn’t resist “as we say here, from Babb to worse.” Maybe he doesn’t know about Two Sisters Café and all those huckleberry desserts.
I don’t know if we’ll ever make it back to Babb and I do kind of regret not having a taste of “trout and waffles” – served, by the way, with bacon and – wait for it – house-made huckleberry syrup. But our consolation prize was this bison stroganoff back at The Snowgoose Grille. No Babb to worse for us!