Friday, August 29

Bound for Flathead Lake

After we left Glacier, we decided not to take The Highway to the Sun back across the park because of the construction delays. So from Babb we headed south on Rt 89 with a plan to drive around the outside of the park. After we left St. Mary we started to climb and we went thru a stretch of road, of about 10 miles where as far as you could see on either side of the road was utter devastation. This was one of the areas hard hit in 2007 by forest fires. Burnt trees everywhere for mile after mile and then we started down towards Kiowa. Open lands, hilly plains, I guess you would call it open range. I had planned to head for Browning , but when we got to Kiowa, we found that Rt 49 was open and because on the map it seemed to be a more direct route to East Glacier we took it. At one point when we were in the park, someone had commented that the 2 most beautiful roads in Montana, or maybe anywhere, were the Highway to the Sun and Rt 12 going over Lolo Pass. He missed the best road of all, because without a doubt Rt 49 from Kiowa to East Glacier has to be the most spectacular. There were no guardrails!! There were signs that said beware of falling rocks and they were correct. Little rocks, huge rocks, strewn over the road and scenery to take your breadth away. I would like to say I stopped and took a lot of pictures, but that's not the case.View from Rt 49

Mountain view from Rt 49

We drove around corners where the ground just fell off completely and we did stop occasionally, but only on the turnoffs that were very wide. We stopped in East Glacier for gas and saw the world's largest purple spoon and then had an uneventful ride to Bigfork, MT to rendezvous with Sean and Nicole for a day on Flathead lake. Woods Bay where we stayed is the home of Flathead Brewing. We went to the brewery and sampled their fare. I liked their Pale Ale the best.Family on Flathead lake

Relaxing on Flathead Lake, at Woods Bay

We did go for a swim in Flathead Lake and the water was some chilly, much more like Maine that the Cape. On Saturday we explored Bigfork, which is sort of like a large Marion. Nice downtown with shops and restaurants, a short walk to the start of the lake, a nice place to visit. We made reservations for dinner at the Showthyme Restaurant and then went for a swim in the lake. Well, Sean went for a swim, and I got wet briefly. We had a great dinner that evening, followed up with a walk under starry skies and Sunday, after Ellen, Nicole and Sean went for a swim at Woods Bay we headed back to Missoula. On Monday Nicole had to work so, Sean, Ellen & I headed for RT 12, and found out that it wasn't one of the most scenic roads in Montana, but at Lolo Pass on the Montana, Idaho border we were able to do the span of time. On Tuesday we headed home after a vacation to remember.Span of time

Reaching into different time Zones

Wednesday, August 27

Farewell to Glacier

This will be the last post on our trip to Glacier. Thursday evening, July 10, 2008, we headed off to Babb for dinner at the steak house, which turned out to be less than memorable. On the way back into the park we noticed a number of cars parked alongside the road and as we slowed to look we saw a pair of Grizzly's playing in the field. We pulled in and watched for about 20 minutes.
2 grizzley's in field
The first Bears we saw-2 Grizzly's playing in a field

We watched them until dusk had really settled in and then headed back to the hotel. When all of a sudden a black mama bear and 3 cubs crossed the road in front of us. I was barely able to stop and get the camera out the window to grab a photo. Missed the mother but got the cubs.
Black Bear cubs
3 Black Bear cubs crossing road

Friday morning we checked out of the hotel and then went on our last adventure in Glacier, for a short hike to Grinnell Lake. First we had to take 2 boat trips, first across Swiftwater lake, (the one in front of our hotel) and then another boat across Lake Josephine. The boat in Lake Josephine is stored in a shed for the winter. In the spring the shed has to be dug out by hand to get the boat ready for the summer season. It originally it was just hauled and covered, but one winter there was an avalanche and when the spring crew came to dig it out, they found it in the middle of the lake sitting on the ice. The hike to the lake was easy, nice trail with some boardwalks over wet areas and one trestle bridge. The trail to Grinnell glacier was closed, so the only glacier we saw was Salamander from a distance. There are some nice photos and descriptions of Salamander and Grinnell glacier at the slow hiker.

Salamander Glacier
Salamander is at the top, Grinnell is below it
and not visible from the lake
The trail to Grinnell Lake crossed a couple of streams, one by a suspension bridge and then thru a wet area on raised planks. We then had a nice walk back to the boats, back to the hotel and headed down to Flathead lake to get together with Sean & Nicole. The suspension bridge although not long was hard to walk across. You had to walk like on a line, because if if you stepped to the side the bridge swayed the opposite direction. We both had a hard time crossing the first time until we figured out what not to do. Coming back was much easier. When I was taking the video of Ellen crossing the bridge, the man standing next to me asked if he should shake the top wire. I said if he did it he was taking his life in his hands. Certainly looks easy but it was hard walking across. So we said good by to Glacier and the Many Glacier hotel and headed South.
Many Glacier Hotel
Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftwater Lake