Archives for posts with tag: Glacier National Park

While driving to Glacier National Park, Montana, I kept telling my “daughter,” Jenni, about a great steakhouse I’d visited in that area in 2003. We talked about having a great ribeye steak as we hiked all over the western half of the Park because it was closer to where we were staying and had more areas to hike for the day. The drive to the eastern half was quite a jaunt of 2-3 hours each way so we’d need to plan for a whole day and part of the night to get everything packed in before leaving.

On our last full day, we got up early and hit the road for the eastern part of Glacier where I was sure the restaurant had to be. Everything we planned got dumped (boat ride on that water? NO WAY!) but what we got was even better! I’d found St. Mary’s Lake and the hike I’d loved so much before with waterfalls (can’t get better than that) AND “THE” steakhouse! It was right there all along!

I’ve been pondering on my trip and that steakhouse these last weeks and I gotta say, if you ever find yourself even near there, go for it! It’s called Cattle Baron’s Supper Club at the turnoff to go into the upper region of the Park.

However, instead boring you with more details, I figured I’d share the pictures from that night of the insides of this gloriously decorated place and our experience. Dang! I wanna go back now!

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Cattle Barons Supper Club

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OMGosh! What a Ribeye! How are we going to eat all of it?

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Huckleberry pie? Well, we split it. It’s the delicacy of the area!

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Uhhhh…we both did!

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Not sure if you can see the the “story board” above the tables of the Blackfeet tribe and their pictographs of before and after white people came to their lands, but it’s so beautifully done with varying “western” motif colors for each period. I thought I’d caught those but, even though it appears I didn’t, I’ll have them imbedded in my brain forever.

I LOVE the West! I always felt I was born in the wrong state. And I was. I was born in a state of confusion about the state in which I was born. I’m no longer tied to one state. I can roam all the western ones I want and still love my cabin home. I know I said this year’s trip would be the last. I think I’m slowly taking that back!

HAPPY TALES & TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

My good friend, daughter-by-another-mother, confidant and outstanding travel companion just flew home to get back to work and her life. We almost cried at the airport but promised new adventures for another day and she’s already conjuring one up for next year! I miss my Jenni already.

However short in the greater picture, it was incredible in the amount of quality time, fun, laughter, insanity, states, cities, places we left our unique one-two-punch of us…two very confident, powerful, exciting women with great laughter and joy to share!

Today, we decided to go back to West Glacier to hike the one trail I wanted to revisit from my 2003 trip which was the Great Red Cedar trail.

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Where I come from, this AIN’T no creek!

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Western Red Cedar

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Along the Cedar Nature Trail

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Roaring water is a bit of an understatement!

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Temple of Hemlocks, Red Cedars and Cottonwoods

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My baby’s great great granddaddy! Too bad you can’t see how big the base of this Big Daddy is but figure two people can comfortably pass each other on this boardwalk and compare the width of that with the tree at the end. Four feet? 

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This HUGE boulder is covered in a lush carpet of moss. There again, tough to describe how big!

Tomorrow? Waterton Park and Prince of Wales National Historic site (just across the border of East Glacier) and then on to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Yeehaw!

Last but not least, some of Mother Nature’s art to ponder ’til we meet again!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! PERSONALLY, I’LL TAKE ALL THREE!

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One bites the dust and leaves a most outstanding piece of art for us to love & enjoy…even if for a minute or two. Don’t you just love Mother Nature? If you don’t, try getting to know her before she’s been totally destroyed!

Yesterday, we explored West Glacier and today we spent the whole day exploring all the key areas in West Glacier we’d picked. I don’t know, but I think the photos will either get your exploring juices going or they won’t. My words won’t matter because this place is full of “gorgeousness” (as Jenni says) in so many ways that it feels archaic to try to reduce Mother Nature’s glory into words…or even photos for that matter…but that’s all I got!

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Snow capped mountain peeks

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St. Mary’s Lake

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Hiked Sun Ridge Point to Bering Falls

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Hike through a wonderland of wild flowers

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St. Mary’s Lake

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BLACK BEAR! AND…WAIT FOR IT…

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A GRIZZLY BEAR IN THE SAME MEADOW!!

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ONE OF THE LAST GLACIERS. NO!

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St. Mary’s Lake just keeps getting more beautiful!

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Bering Falls

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Snow capped mountains on way out.

Jenni and I have been talking about getting a good Montana grass fed Ribeye all week and I remembered this place my ex and I went to in 2003. It’s at the end of Hwy. 49 at Hwy. 89 and it is a MUST if you’re in the neighborhood! Best Steak…bar none!

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Cattle Barons Supper Club

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OMGosh! What a Ribeye! How are we going to eat all of it?

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Uhhhh…we both did!

And, in the same building, they serve HUCKLEBERRY PIE! It’s got a little bit of a bite to it just the way I like my berries!

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Huckleberry pie? Well, we split it. It’s the delicacy of the area!

Tomorrow? West Glacier to hike the Giant Red Cedar trail before Jenni flies home…boohoo.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

 

We finally made it here today and it’s been a dream come true for us both but only one of us knew how outstanding the whole park and surrounding areas are. The great news is that now both of us know! Even though the “Going-to-the-Sun” Road isn’t open yet (probably not until July but they really don’t know when because of snow), we drove up about fourteen miles along the West side of Glacier.

But before we even get to Glacier National Park, we drive from Kalispell, Montana because it’s one of the prettiest drives anywhere and especially with such a magnificent destination awaiting our arrival!

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Driving from Kalispell to Glacier National West Gate seeing these mountains is life changing!

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Yeah!

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Truly majestic!

Jenni was a happy young woman when we got to the Park entrance! She looks so cute in this chair!

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Inside the Park, we drove up to Lake McDonald Lodge built in early 1900’s.

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Lake McDonald Lodge (front)

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Lake McDonald Lodge Great Room at entrance

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Lake McDonald Lodge (back facing lake) where Montana and I had our picture taken last year. (tear)

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Lake McDonald

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Cabins for rent overlooking Snyder Creek

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Rushing waters of Snyder Creek emptying into Lake McDonald

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Montana in Montana resting at Lake McDonald one year ago!

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Raging waters that feed Lake McDonald near McDonald Falls!

Tomorrow? More Glacier but from the East side! St. Mary’s, for sure!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! JUST DO IT!

Every inch of this trip has been absolutely incredible… better than even MY wildest dreams! I’ve been blessed with new kindred spirit chirrens and friends at every turn and  I feel like I’m flying and it feels GREAT!

We headed for Nevada City and its twin Virginia City, Montana this morning as they are   places I always wanted to visit but never made could make it there. This year…it WAS going to happen!

The Old West towns of Virginia City and Nevada City sprung up in the mid-1800 as gold rush boom towns which, like most, petered out after the gold stopped flowing. After years of abandonment, it was the Boveys who took Nevada City under their wings to restore. And, as a cowgirl at heart, I wanted to immerse myself in the history of these towns. What we ended up doing was meeting some truly incredible people as we meandered through these “frozen-in-time-towns.”

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IDAHO just south of Montana

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These hills looked like velvet!

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Rocks, baby!

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They looked like sheep scattered on the mountains!

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NEVADA CITY & VIRGINIA CITY OR BUST!

NEVADA CITY, MONTANA:

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Railroad cars from that time

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This passenger car looked kinda spooky!

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Frozen in time for sure!

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Old soda fountain

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VIRGINIA CITY, MONTANA:

Bale of Hay Saloon touts itself as being the oldest watering hole in the US! We met new friends here (Hi guys!) and told tales for hours! It was great fun! I think I’m in love with this town!

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VIRGINIA CITY: BALE OF HAY SALOON…OUR FIRST STOP!

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Inside  the Bale of Hay Saloon

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Telephone company!

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Inside Telephone Company

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Not made for looks! Made for warmth!

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Yeah! Cowgirl Heaven!

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New chirred! Evelyn Schmelling–psychic poet. Welcome aboard!

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I asked her to write a poem for me. This made all three of us cry. It was definitely from Ava. Evelyn didn’t know about Ava at the time she wrote it! Yup. Got me another one!

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Way to top off our visit was with this sign! Loved it!

And, if today hadn’t already been the most outstanding adventure so far…for me…EVER, Jenni and I saw a rainbow around the setting sun! I’m so glad she was with me to see it and capture the best picture of it possible with her phone camera. If you look closely, you’ll see two layers of color above the mountain. My camera couldn’t even come close. We were both in shock and awe of this Post Script to our day and the prelude of our tomorrows hiking at Glacier National Park!

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Tomorrows? Three days of exploring and hiking Glacier National Park! The bitter sweet part of these next days is how wonderful it is to have my girl, Jenni, experience it with me but the other is that she goes home as I head toward Canada. “Healing road” was the name of the album I bought in Taos. And that it has been for all of us who venture out to find love in our hearts for our great country and the wonderment of its backroads!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Montana in Montana at Glacier National Park 6/2016:

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I’ve always loved seeing how the roads to/from destinations take on a different perspective much like how the Impressionists studied the same view in different light. Monet must have studied, drawn, painted Notre Dame 50 times for many hours to get the impact of the change in color and depth perception. That’s how I feel as I drive south on the I-15 to LA and back again. Wow! How the topography changes!

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North I-15 toward Vegas Baby

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North I-15 closer to Vegas Baby

The good news about my trip from LA back to Vegas Baby is that I, nor my car or TomTom, were abducted. It was smooth sailing out of town but I’ve left my heart. It’s okay, though, because it was never mine but belongs/belonged to others. JD has my heart and I’m so blessed to have his mama and daddy in my life for them to give me such a gift.

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JD – my beautiful, old soul, step-grandson (although I claim him as my grandson)

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JD & me. Wow. I miss him so much! And, yes, I’m very tired even after lots of sleep and relaxation. I guess I’ll get caught up when I’m home and that’s okay by me!

My beautiful, talented daughter, Ava, continues to bring new Chirrens to me. I’d met Kev in a Messenger long-distance way through Ava’s friend, Elisa Furr, who I visited recently in Branson doing her Celine Tribute performance at the Legends in Concert. Kev had a great deal to say to me that night from Ava. No great surprise to me, Elisa or anyone else who knows how vocal she’s been these last five years!

As Kev lives between LA and Vegas Baby, we’d planned a real visit. Boy oh boy! What a visit! He walked in with confirmation messages from Ava that only a very few of us know about…like the name I gave her at birth, that she and Mom called themselves the  “September Girls” because of their birthdays being in that month, that Edwin (my dad), Carl and others were all there in a great big family reunion!

Ava told him to ask about the rocks. I said I was a rock-aholic and Mom, Carl, Ava and I had always collected rocks. But Kev said she was now telling him about a stick or pole that stood upright in the rocks and it hit me! The Zen Memory Garden I built for Ava!

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Focal Point is the Heart-of-Pine standing tall with the help of the rocks Carl brought back from his mine 45 years ago.

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Kev said the “Pole” pointed toward a star. Yes it does! Sirius…the star which got my attention by tapping out morse code like signals to me each night that first year!

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Kev asked about the “beach” and shells. Well to the left of the triangle are the shells Mom, Carl, Ava and I had collected over many years of going to our favorite Florida beach.

I hauled no less that 400 pounds of sand and 600 pounds of pebbles up the hill to create this in her memory. All the pebbles scattered in her garden represent the love she has for others and they have for her. The space in the sand triangle is the time she and I had…way too short but amazing and precious forever.

And when I thought it couldn’t get any more amazing, Kev says, “Carl says, ‘I’m there too!'” Yes! Carl has a memory garden as well. Kev says, “It’s below Ava’s…like down a hill.” Yep! Nailed it again! It sits just below her garden down a the hill to his left just like in the last picture taken of us three.

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The last picture taken of the three of us in March, 1984. Twenty-eight years later, Ava was gone too in the same month this was taken.

But it’s all good because Christ has told us that (paraphrased) “in my Father’s house, there are many rooms, if it were not so, I’d tell you.” We’re not to know everything because if we were, we’d know more than just 10% of the brains function or more than 3% about DNA or the miracles of two cells joining to form children or pets.

I believe Mother Earth is a living, breathing entity which must be respected. When she exhales, we get volcano;, when she inhales, we get earthquakes; when she gets hot flashes, we get rising temperatures (not to discount our own donations to this very real reality). How do I know? Because if you study geology, history (ancient and more recent), you can’t help but see the truth. Plus, God has told us so. Every thing is precious.

Next, you may ask? Canyons and cowboys, oh yeah! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS! YOUR PICK!

Today’s adventure ended up being about 250 miles round trip and only 180 pictures to cull! I’m surprised that I took that many because it was a dreary, rainy, low cloud, foggy day. But, as I’ve said, coming back gives a different perspective from going and the second trip from Kalispell toward West Glacier was just as exciting as yesterday’s!

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Logan Pass makes going from the West to East side of the Park extremely interesting and tricky as the roads are 1920 narrow with only short rock walls to keep you from going over the 6600+ foot precipice at the top of the Pass. There are other higher peaks but not ones you can drive. They have to be hiked.

At this time, the Pass is still closed and, frankly, after taking Hwy. 49 as a shortcut to Saint Mary East Glacier entrance, I’m glad. I was struggling with the fog, rain, hairpin curves, disappearing road, heights, drops and my vertigo to the point that I’m stiff as a board from the stress of that dang road but I DID IT! BTW, there are no pictures from this part of the trip! LOL

I called my BFF and told her what I’d experienced getting to the Visitor’s Center and how I was hoping the Going-To-The-Sun Road from the East entrance was as uncomplicated as the West was. And, other than the snow, rain, fog, curves, disappearing road, hairpin curves, heights and drops it wasn’t as challenging as Hwy. 49…but I was only twelve miles in. Believe me, the rest of that road will make a believer outta ya!

View near the East Glacier entrance (headed West).

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Saint Mary Lake

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Love me some rocks!

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And really BIG rocks that look like mountains with snow on the top but it’s really big rocks with glaciers on top overlooking Saint Mary Lake.

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Now this moment of wild flower love is dedicated to my mom. It was wild that I drove through snow and 34 degree temps with all the wild flower blooming going on.

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Now I’m headed back toward the East entrance (going East).

 

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And, as it happens in nature, there was a HUGE fire that took out a lot of trees but nature abhors a void and the new growth is coming back with a vengeance. Did you know there are a number of plants which rely on fire to release their seeds like the jack pine? (Thanks for teaching me that, Mom!)

This picture shows a magnificent waterfall (the white on the right) and the remnants of the glacier on the left. I think I took 15 shots to get this one pic.

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There’s more evidence of the fire on the East side than West.

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Personally, I love the fire remnants juxtaposed against the lush life of the green on the mountain looking over  the lake.

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Yeah, ROCKS!

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There’s a peek at the little rock wall built at the Park’s inception to prevent cars of the 21st century from dropping thousands of feet! LOL

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Next, I drove to Browning, MT in the Blackfoot Reservation where there’s a cool shop I’d visited before called the Blackfoot Trading Company. The ladies there were so nice. The recommended I have a quick bite here at the Junction Cafe. They have a killer hamburger on flatbread!

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Then home again, home again, jiggly jig! Now driving West on Hwy. 2 giving me a great view of the Flathead River you can’t grasp going East!

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Yeah, it’s all about the water and the rocks for me…even at The Southern Comfort Cabin!

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It’s off toward Auburn, California tomorrow as I’m expected there on Monday and it’s could be a bit of a drive (to say the least) considering the distance and the weather promised! Oh well. It’s the journey! All about the journey!

HAPPY TAILS!

 

Today’s post is dedicated to (West) Glacier National Park via  Kalispell, MT! As before, a thousand pictures is worth a million words! This is amazing country and too much dialogue just diminishes the view! Enjoy! I sure did!

I’m staying in Kalispell, MT to enjoy getting to know a new town but to drive back and forth to Glacier. I know, that sounds crazy but when I travel a back road, I get a different perspective of the views depending on the direction I’m taking. For example, traveling East to West through Zion National Park looks more remarkable to me than West to East. The difference to me is that dramatic and I love experiencing this when I go anywhere.

I started my day with breakfast at the Montana Club and Casino. No, I didn’t gamble on anything other than their California Omelet & I won!

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The inside decor was so awesome! I sat there enjoying the view as much as I did meeting another southerner who had moved to Kalispell 17 years ago as I did my breakfast. I’m going to get back before I leave, for sure.

The Main Street area of Kalispell is adorable! Check this out!

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Leaving Kalispell up Hwy. 93 to Hwy 35 to Hwy 2 (about 35 miles toward West Glacier (western entrance to the Park) was a culmination of thirteen years of dreams of getting back here. Yeah, you could say I was excited!

With the rain forecast, I really didn’t expect to take over 250 pictures today but Mother Nature provided me such great beauty in the clouds sitting on top of the glacier capped mountains. With each twist and turn of the road, I got a different perspective of the clouds and the mountains they were snuggling.

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One of the Forks of the Flathead River.

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Then, we entered Glacier from the West entrance where you’ll find Lake McDonald and the Lodge built on it in 1913. I couldn’t go inside because they were getting it ready for inspection for their season opening tomorrow. Go online and check it out.

Where’s Montana? Montana is in Montana sitting near Lake McDonald!

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Lake McDonald

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Lake McDonald Lodge original renovated Tour Buses. I took these in 2003 to tour the Going-To-The-Sun Road when I was here before and it was so awesome.

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This creek is one of the many that feed Lake McDonald and it runs right beside the lodge and some of the cabins for rent there.

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Who is that standing by the rear of the Lodge where it overlooks Lake McDonald?

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And here too! It looks a great deal like Montana!

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Rear view of the Lodge from the boat dock.

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One of the cabins for rent by the creek at Lake McDonald Lodge.

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The next video and photos are near the end of the stretch of road open today.

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Because only sixteen miles of the Going-To-The-Sun Road was open today, I explored the only other road available. One is called Camas Road. The next photos are views from it.

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North Fork of the Flathead River.

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And the scary cool part of my journey today was taking a rock road into an area not named nor generally travelled especially this time of the year. I wasn’t sure why I kept going on this one lane road because the views weren’t spectacular and Montana was signaling with her funny little wince that she wanted me to turn around. I did because she was insistent and she’s got a better sense of smell than I do and she sure didn’t like something.

It took me a few minutes to even find a spot to turn around and found this “money shot!”

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Tomorrow, we’ll be driving past the West entrance going east on Hwy. 2 hugging the southern portions of the Park to get to the East entrance. Not sure how many miles are open on that side tomorrow but I heard that Going-To-The-Sun Road will be open on Saturday, the day I leave.

HAPPY TAILS!

After getting a full nights rest last night, my now clear head realized that I’d “bought” 3 days from my zealous driving methods. As I have this realization, I’m thinking, “I’m in Montana…my favorite state…and only six (6) hours away from my second favorite National Park (first being Ashley National in Utah)…Glacier…! DANG! I’m going!”

I got so excited knowing I’d be there again after thirteen (13) years AND for three days that I got a renewal of spirit. I couldn’t pack up the car fast enough!

This blog is purely the joy of the drive of western Montana from Livingston (just North of Yellowstone near Bozeman) to Kalispell (just south of Glacier National Park).

It’s a stunning drive and I wish I had a better camera but these photos will give you a taste of what you have to look forward to when you make this trip!

First photo, about an hour north of Livingston, when I spy glacier capped mountains! I just can’t get enough of this stuff!

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It’s true! The grass is greener on the other side! This is the greenest grass I ever saw!

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And, just a few miles up the road, this prairie looking contrast.

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Both rolling terrain and pasture. BTW, these rolling hills used to be mountains! So were the rocky crags you’ll see along I-90.

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This is so different from North Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolinas, Kentucky, Virginia and, now that I think about it, most of the states northeast of Georgia!

This photo is taken to the left of the highway (I-90 N/W).

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This photo is taken to the right of the highway (I-90 N/W). Interesting contrast in a relatively short space apart. My head was constantly pivoting left to right!

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Turn off of I-90 onto the road to Kalispell.

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Getting to the good stuff!

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Drool! Pasture, lush forest AND glacier capped mountains!

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YEAH! That’s what I’m tawkin’ ’bout!

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Had to put this one in too…just because!

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They sure look naked compared to the glacier capped mountains in Grand Tetons, don’t they? These are north by the whole state of Montana from the Tetons in NW Wyoming.

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Flathead Lake is HUGE! It would make our Lake Burton look like a mud puddle! The Flathead River feeds this lake both named for the Flathead Native American  Tribe whose reservation is in this area.

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The last two really are from an area immediately before Flathead Lake but I loved the clouds, sky, mountains separated from greenest fields by dark green tree line.

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This one just because.

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Tomorrow, Glacier National Park!

HAPPY TAILS!