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.
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. 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.