Well, just spent the last three weeks in Montana on Lake Flathead. The view changed every day. This is a panoramic shot in the predawn hour today (I used AutoStitch so there’s there is some distortion). We got to go up to Glacier National Park and Waterton.
A few of the highlights besides the magnificent Glacier National Park and driving the Going to the Sun Road: Glacier Distilling, East Shore Smoke House (ate there four times, I can recommend the sweet potato fries, the Buffalo Burger and the Wild Sockeye sandwich, not to mention their excellent Montana beer selection), Richwine’s Burgerville in Polson, MT (an old style mom and pop burger joint with good burgers, huckleberry shakes and frozen huckleberry lemonade), and high tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel overlooking Waterton Valley (I think the high was from the price) When you drive to GNP go up the east side of the lake, it’s much more scenic than the west side. We didn’t get to see much in the way of wildlife. Saw a few deer, plenty of birds, and some bison at a distance on the National Bison Range. No bears, black or grizzly, no moose, no mountain sheep :-(.
My only minor regret is NOT playing on the 9 hole golf course at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo. BTW SKC is a very nice tribal college. It functions as a community college, so enrollment isn’t limited to just tribal members.
We got back from our second trip to Montana. My wife taught for a week at UM in Missoula. For the weekend we drove up to Glacier National Park and stayed in a cabin at Lake McDonald Lodge. Alas, the Going-to-the-Sun road wasn’t open yet so we only saw a fraction of the park. Of that fraction we saw was immense and gorgeous. The only wildlife we saw were prairie dogs and some birds. We plan to go back.
Missoula, at least downtown Missoula still has it’s old small town charm. Very walkable. Almost, a Something Wicked This Way Comes feel to it (sans Jason Robards). Replete with carousel down by the Clark Fork River. If we were rich, I could see spending parts of summer up there and escape the ever warming Tucson.
I did do one short hike at Avalanche in GNP. Didn’t go all the way to the lake because I’m still recovering from a minor knee injury, but I took some great photos including this one.
Was hoping to say hi to a friend while we were there. Email probably got caught in their spam filter, and didn’t want to pester them in case they were busy.
Now then, Montana is a lovely land
And upon it grows fine grain
Surely `tis a place of residence
For a soldier to remain
Where the sugar cane is plentiful
And the tea grows on the tree
Well, I never had but the one sweetheart
And now he`s gone far away from me
OK, so I changed Holland to Montana. Of course sugar cane and tea doesn’t grow in Holland either. So the song makes as much sense referring to Montana. Mel and I spent a week in Missoula. She was teaching a week long class at the University of Montana and I was left to my own devices. I think the one thing that surprised me was there were still quite a few snowcapped mountains. There were even a few days of rain which became snow on a few more of those peaks. The picture above was taken at Fort Missoula. Apparently I was only a few hundred yards from the Bitteroot River but didn’t know it until later.
Missoula is surprisingly metropolitan. They have all the big box stores and major restaurant chains, replete with horrific traffic. Avoid Reserve Rd (Dr, Ave?) if possible. Downtown Missoula on the north bank the Clark Fork River is lovely and small. On the south bank is the university and older residential neighborhoods. If this were all there were to Missoula, I’d give the place two thumbs up. Newer housing editions spread out across the valley floor to the south and industrial and commercial structures to the west. You still can’t beat the natural beauty of the mountains and scenery whether you are in the newer parts of Missoula or the older parts.
It was nice seeing author Maggie Bonham though we didn’t get to go out and see her and her husband’s place out in the Montana countryside. I’ll post more pictures later. I hope we’ll get to go back and see more of the 4th largest state in the Union.