I love driving, and I love mountains. So why did driving the Going-To-The-Sun Road through Glacier National Park, heading west to east, leave me in an adrenalin-addled, heavy breathing, teeth-grinding frenzy by the time we finally got up to the Continental Divide at Logan Pass?
In short, why did the G-T-T-S Road kick my ass?
Well, perhaps it was the fact that the west to east trip leaves you a few feet from sheer drops into vast, yawning nothingness off the side of the road. Perhaps it was the constant 6-degree grade that takes you thousands of feet up, up, up, from the river’s edge to an elevation where you’re scraping the clouds. Perhaps it was the point after the Loop, where you look ahead and see only a narrow, ever-ascending two-lane road that is somehow carved into the sheer face of a mountain. Perhaps it was the absurdly short stone retaining walls that look like they might — might — stop a tricycle moving at a slow rate of speed. Or perhaps it was the oversized SUVs and pick-up trucks hogging the center line and squeezing you ever closer to the edge of calamity.
Whatever! I took the vacation challenge, and I can confidently say that the G-T-T-S Road ranks with Mount Washington and the Amalfi coast as one of my top three white-knuckle driving experiences. When we reached Logan Pass, and the stress eased off, I felt like kissing the snowy ground.
The Road, which was dedicated in 1933, is an architectural marvel, and the views it provides are fabulous, but take my advice — take a Red Bus Tour and let someone else do the driving. You might actually enjoy the scenery!