Archive for the ‘Glacier National Park’ Category

Wildlife Photos, Yes! … and Scenery!

October 23, 2015

Glacier – Part 7 (are you serious?)

Tuesday September 15 – Travel day…

Check-out time at the condo is noon… enough time to squeeze in one last nature walk. Especially since we just exit the front door of our condo, cross the street, go behind the opposite wing of the resort and we’re at the entrance to the wildlife reserve that is part of the Lodge at Whitefish Lake.

Bring the bear spray! Megan reminds us. She had done this walk with Aaron earlier in the week and seen the physical proof of the presence of bears.

Eric leads the way..

Eric David Ben and Rhonda

Eric David Ben and Rhonda

Ben is skeptical of seeing any wildlife, after all, we are in the middle of – traffic. Human and car. After about 10 minutes on the trail you curve away from the highway. The rest of us had already done this hike, about 5 times, since the whole loop from start to finish takes about 15 minutes. There are deer – we have proof! On my first trek in here with Aaron and Megan we captured some photos

Yes, those are deer

Yes, those are deer

It takes a watchful eye …

IMG_1685

A zoom …

IMG_1686

just the right lighting …

Aaron's photo wins the prize

Aaron’s photo wins the prize

and a perfectly posed deer (trained for the tourists? Is there a tip jar or something?)

You call this wildlife? I have deer in my back yard!

Yes, but do you have trees gouged with bear claw scratches?

IMG_1705

IMG_1704

This plaque explains it:

IMG_1703

Terrifying! This is why you bring bear spray on this nature hike. (Okay so the scratches have been healed for like, 50 years?…)

Hiking back out now

Megan Aaron and Kelly

Megan Aaron and Kelly

What a bonus that you can access wireless internet on your phone through the whole hike!

Almost back out now…

IMG_1752

I make Adam and Meredith pose for one last photo:

IMG_1763

Time for goodbyes. Boy were they quick. The complimentary resort airport shuttle pulled up and the kids loaded on, Hey, wait for me!

Aaron is the last one on

Aaron is the last one on

I – quick! Hop up into the shuttle and snap this photo (much to their annoyance, by now, I’m sure)

IMG_1786

Goodbye Kiddies! To the Kalispel airport they go – to fly back to their far-flung lives in New York, Atlanta, and Boulder.

No worry though, I’ve a helicopter standing by so I can take off and hover over them all the way to the airport, you know, to make sure they make it there safely…

Uh, actually, David is in his truck, behind the wheel, with the engine running. Get in your car and let’s go, Jody. We’ve got a 7-hour drive back to Idaho Falls and we’d like to make it there sometime today.

So off we go – in our two vehicles, Megan and I in my car – following David and Eric in David’s truck. (Scott had left much earlier in his rig)… Dang! I’m driving! How can I take photos, then?

Well, I did snap a few photos of our trip home. This first one, behind David at a stoplight on US 93 through Whitefish.

Downtown Whitefish

Downtown Whitefish

We drive back the way we came…from US 93 south onto 83 … there’s wide open highway here and the mountains are beautiful…I grab my phone and quick – snap a photo!

wide open spaces!

wide open spaces!

Several miles later…

IMG_1769

We pull over at Seely Lake Town Pump to gas up and grab a quick bite. The four of us are crammed around a booth eating when Megan notices this sign between the windows above us:

IMG_1785

Haha! Parent’s worst nightmare… get back in your car with a jacked-up kid and a puppy…

Back on the road now. Hey Megan – I’m driving but look how scenic it is! I hand her the phone – take a photo Megan! and somehow switch the camera to video. She takes the phone….

Awwww…could have been a great video, Megan!

No, Mom. She is not interested in taking photos or videos on the journey home. She is interested in being home.

Well that’s about it with our trip to Glacier. I know I promised you photos of scenery so here’s a couple more from the drive home. I just grabbed the phone and held it up and shot – with my car on cruise control and David at a safe distance ahead.

IMG_1768

IMG_1772

What? Since these were ‘Glacier’ Blogs, you were expecting photos of wildlife and scenery taken from, say, inside Glacier National Park? Well, to be honest, between the conflicts with college and NFL football games, crowds, parking problems, seasonal closures, flu, and downright logistics of planning activities for a herd of 11 people, I think I need a do-over on my trip to actually see Glacier National Park.

Blog about Glacier with ‘Wildlife’ and ‘Scenery’?

October 16, 2015

Glacier – Part 6

I wanna hold ’em like they do in Texas, please
Fold ’em, let ’em, hit me, raise it, baby, stay with me…

Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker’ song? Shouldn’t your blogs about Glacier include photos of, say, wildlife and scenery? Why, yes. You do have a point there…

It’s our last night in Whitefish on our family trip to Glacier – we’re hanging out at the condo after a memorable soak in the hot tub, as you know, consuming leftovers from our previous meals out. Which, dinner at Tupelo Grille last night was fantastic …

How to spend our last evening together? How about a game of Texas Hold-em?

Meredith claims she has never played poker. So Aaron writes her up a cheat sheet on what hands beat what – from the ‘high’ card to pairs, to two pairs, three of a kind, full boat …

We deal the cards out. Eric makes a bid…

Eric plays tight

Eric plays tight

We see the flop.

Meredith is confused.

Hmm, so my cheat sheet says...

Hmm, so my cheat sheet says…

So does three of a kind beat 2 pair?

Bidding goes around …

Meredith goes all in

Meredith makes 'all-in'

Meredith makes a move

Call!

Full boat! Dang. She takes a ginormous pot

Scott, David and Aaron stunned by Meredith's all-in

Scott, David and Aaron stunned by Meredith’s all-in

Soon David is out. He goes to bed. Meredith and I are raking it in; she’s egging me on in my obnoxious arrogant winner behavior with girl power pump fists.

Then Aaron takes Meredith out. She hangs around, starts tearing little ends off her cheat sheet, chewing on them … uh oh … Out flies a spit ball across the table at Aaron. I’m laughing uproariously, egging Meredith on. She’s chewing again … this time the spit ball is directed at Adam – it lands against his chest and when he brushes it off it leaves a dark wet splotch on his shirt. Ha ha ha!

Well, the mood at the end of any poker game is generally sour, per my experience, you know, except for the big winner(s). I manage to break a little above even in this game, but spit balls help deal with emotions involved in bluffing, bullying, outbidding or even out folding others out of their money. In my case, both outcomes of winning or losing turn me sour. I feel bad taking other people’s money but worse losing it. Loser!

Okay, so we’re down to the last day of our trip: Travel day. Tuesday, September 15. I pretty much have to promise you photos of wildlife and scenery, don’t I? After all, wasn’t this series of blogs supposed to be about our trip to Glacier National Park?

‘Hot’ Tub Cougar Adventure

October 10, 2015

Glacier trip – part 5. Okay so where were we? Oh yeah, in the ladies room at Bulldogs in Whitefish with Fabio …

The 11 of us had been sitting around a big tall table at Bulldogs devouring hamburgers and sandwiches, drinks and beer, slaw and fries, when Megan and I made a trip to the ladies room.

The ladies room at Bulldogs is plastered with Chippendales (and I don’t mean chipmunks)

IMG_1726

The two stall doors are rated, and one of them is ‘R’

Okay, Megan, this is not your stall

Okay, Megan, this is not your stall

Do not look at these photos

Do not look at these photos

No photos (Noooooo!) of the hot naked full frontal male posters in my stall. Well, okay ladies. How about a thumbnail size of the one photo I took of the scene in front of me as I sat on the stall with my pants down trying to pee? If you are reading this blog on your i-phones or i-Pads, do not expand or zoom in on the thumbnail sized photo.

But I can very safely post a full size photo I took of the area around the bathroom sink and mirror.

G-rated, right?

Ladies, do not direct your attention on the faucet.

Faucet

Cougar snapping faucet photo for female entertainment

If viewing this blog on your i-Phone or i-Pad, scroll right on through this photo and continue reading. Do not stop to zoom the photo for a closer look of the faucet area.

What are you doing, Jody? Hmmm. Well, see where your mind goes after you spend 5-10 minutes in the company of hot naked men…

Okay, whew!, so our group heads back to the condo after lunch. I had been keeping an eye on the pool area from our patio – one thing we hadn’t done yet was hang out in the hot tub. It was usually occupied. But today, this afternoon – hey, it’s empty! Let’s go for it! Our own private hot tub party! Megan, quick, get your bathing suit on! I rustled the rest of the bunch. David, Eric, Scott, Meredith, Ben, Rhonda… we were all getting our suits on.

Megan and I got to the hot tub first. Hey! What’s this? A bachelor party? Sure enough, in the time it took us to get our suits on, a half dozen young buff males had descended on the hot tub. Oh well, there’s room for us. We’ll take over this end of the tub, they can have the other end.

Hot tub bachelor party

Hot tub bachelor party

Soon Meredith, Scott, Eric and David had joined us on our end. It’s a party! Let’s order drinks from the poolside bar!

We flagged the waitress and she took our drink orders. The bachelor party ordered drinks too.

Except when the waitress arrived back with the drinks she couldn’t open the gate. I hop out to assist. So does one of the hot young bachelors…

IMG_1872

Oh, but there’s too many drinks. Another young hunk joins the effort…

Cougar sandwich

Cougar sandwich

My heart is racing. My goose bumps are tingling.

Whew! What a rush. I’m so young and alive!

I must not let my hand brush his thigh

I must not let my hand brush his thigh

For an instant I’m … 24! (Or 34.) (Uh, 44.) (Okay, 54)

So there. I had to share with you my very hot sexy cougar Glacier experience. And I’m pretty sure, no matter how young I might feel at any particular moment in the future, I’ll likely never again be as young as I was in that hot tub cougar sandwich moment.

So… Do you want to hear about our Poker game?

Are you serious?

Hey, you think I’m done with my ‘Glacier trip’ blogs? No way. Living in the present is over-rated.

‘Big Mountain!!’ – (uh, downtown Whitefish? …)

October 3, 2015

Glacier- Part 4 – Monday, September 14. Our last full day of vacation – for the 11 of us in a condo at Whitefish Lake Lodge. We had gone into the Park the past two days, how about something exciting and different today? Whitefish Mountain Resort! (or “Big Mountain’). I had done my research. Big Mountain is, of course, a fabulous winter ski resort, but offers fantastic summer fun, too! Take the lift or tram to the top and enjoy panoramic views of all of Glacier National Park and into Canada! Take the 3-hour 7-zipline tour, where you hike and zip across and down the mountain. There’s the alpine slide, or ropes course, or tree top climb, hiking, restaurants, and mountain biking! I pushed hard on the group over breakfast and had them all convinced to go.

I even pulled out my i-phone, Googled ‘Big Mountain’ and read aloud to the group, “Open now!”

So the 11 of us piled into three cars and drove to Big Mountain. As we pulled into the resort I was thrilled to see there was plenty of parking. We piled out – looked around – glanced at the gloomy looking Mountain looming in front of us. No human activity whatsoever. No chair lift ascending the mountain. Empty glass ticket booths. What?

“It’s closed, Jody.”

What the heck. I finally did corner the only other person at the resort as he walked to his car. What’s the deal here? “Big Mountain Resort is only open on weekends beginning in September.” That’s not what my i-phone said!!

So we piled back in. (Okay, so we saved 800 bucks on zipline tickets alone…) Our 3-vehicle caravan pulled out and drove back, past our lodge, into downtown Whitefish. Parked by the Whitefish Depot. “Hey, let’s check out the trains! And I hear there’s a free museum in the Depot.” Eric had taken charge. I didn’t take any pictures, of Big Mountain or of the Depot. I was out of the mood for pictures!

Here’s a link to the Whitefish Train Depot which contains a nice photo of the Tudor Style Depot. The train station is the busiest Amtrak stop between Seattle and Minneapolis. It is also home for the Stumptown Historical Society Museum featuring railroad and community artifacts. I was fascinated with the kerosene powered iron (no ironing for me, I would for sure catch myself on fire) and the fish in the display case with a coat of beaver fur (labeled as one of the first lake trout (!!) you know, it had to keep warm somehow…)

In the lobby between the depot and the museum you could enjoy a Nordic ski experience, just right for Ben and Rhonda:

Hey, What's that orange arm doing there?

Hey, What’s that orange arm doing there?

Megan joined in too, having her best skiing experience ever

Hey,

hey, couldn’t you have edited out all that i-Phone garbage?

Try your hand at fishing!

Ben, you caught that huge fish with a stick?

Ben, you caught that huge fish with a stick?

Way

Way to go, Rhonda…

The depot was just two blocks from all the shops and restaurants downtown so we left our cars parked where they were and headed in that direction – in different groups. Ben was looking for a place to play pool. Don’t know where the others headed to, but all that money we didn’t spend at Big Mountain (the cost of chair lift, plus zip lines, times 11, plus bike rental, alpine slide, food and drink, plus…) was burning in my pocket. So Megan, Rhonda, Meredith and I went shopping. Fine souvenirs (mostly clothing) were purchased by all! Very happy! We dumped our loot off at the car and are running to meet the others now, for lunch.

Megan and Meredith in downtown Whitefish

Megan and Meredith in downtown Whitefish

Shopping makes you hungry! So, where to eat a late lunch? Let’s see… there’s 11 of us. Hamburgers sound good. Scott was Googling restaurant reviews on his phone. We asked merchants in the stores for suggestions.

So where do you get the best burger in town at 2 in the afternoon? Why everybody agrees… Bulldogs!

But, please don’t use the public restrooms in Bulldogs.

Just like, while sitting on the toilet in the stall, don’t open this box right next to you …

I absolutely am (not?) going to open this box.

I absolutely am (not?) going to open this box.

Of course I opened it…

Is that you, Fabio?

Is that you, Fabio?

Ah, but of course, this encounter with Fabio and his friends had no lingering affect on me whatsoever, nor did it make any difference in how the rest of the day played out…

Right?

Going-to-the-Sun Road, are we?

September 28, 2015

Glacier – Part 3 … Sunday, September 13 – our second full day in Whitefish. Our friend, Scott, had arrived Saturday evening so now we are a group of 11 with 3 vehicles. Of course we’re driving back into the park today! Eric had the map out and was presenting several options. Drive up the west end of the park to the Lakes and do a hike! Or drive on Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan pass and do a hike! Megan is coming with us – she can do the Trail of the Cedars Hike! Wait a minute – What? The Green Bay Packers play football today? Who do they play? The Bears? Of course they do – you expect Adam to miss a Packer’s game?

Okay … So seven of us enter the Park in two cars – David, Eric, and Scott leading in David’s truck, followed by Aaron driving my car with Kelly up front, Megan and me in the back. We had just entered the park, when suddenly Megan and I both feel car sick. No big deal. Just suck on these cherry menthol cough drops, Megan. Okay, let’s open the windows and suck fresh air into our lungs, wind-whip our faces to cool down. Uh, so, that’s not working … oh boy, no cell phone coverage to alert David ahead, ‘Houston we have a problem…’ I grope around in my pack, jerk out an Albertson’s grocery bag, shove my head into it just as I start heaving, violently. Luckily the bag didn’t have a hole in it. The contents of my stomach pooled into a balloon shape in the bottom of the bag. I pinched it closed with my fingers so as to contain the smell, but now Megan is gagging violently and casting me looks of terror and disgust. Aaron and Kelly remain dead silent in the front as Aaron continues driving, staying right on whatever route David’s truck was leading us on.

Miraculously, David pulled over at McDonald Lodge. I had puked about four times by now, surely my stomach was empty! So I get out and greet the group with a big smile. I’ll be fine. You bet I will. I want to do that Trail of the Cedars hike with Megan and drive to the Logan Pass summit! Uh, I’ll just make a quick trip to the bathroom … and meet you all in the gift shop! Okay, well, there’s nothing in the gift shop we want to buy but do you have a plastic bag, Miss, perchance?

The group congregates out front. (Scott took the picture.)

Kelly, Aaron, David, Megan, Eric in front of McDonald Lodge ... Time to regroup!

Kelly, Aaron, David, Megan, Eric in front of McDonald Lodge … Time to regroup!

Okay, so you all go ahead (Scott, Eric, Aaron and Kelly) … David teams up with Megan and me – we’ll be along shortly – you know, probably meet up with them at the summit. I just need to sit for a bit in the Lobby – gaze around… I look up at the (now familiar) chandelier…

Does that enormous dangling light fixture make you dizzy?

Does that enormous dangling light fixture make you dizzy?

I’ll just settle my stomach with a coke …. uh, oh no, better skee-daddle back to the ladies room right quick, uh, maybe walk faster…fly into the ladies room… oh no! Stalls are full! No problem (as I lean over and hurl in the sink, sickening the kind lady next to me washing her hands…)

Okay, so we’re going back to the condo …

Turned out not to be such a hardship for David, going back to Whitefish – he just joined Adam and Meredith, Ben and Rhonda downtown for some Packers football and beer and a few pool matches against Ben.

My stomach did settle finally – so about mid-afternoon Megan and I stretched ourselves out on lounge chairs by the pool.

IMG_1696

Sipping cokes. Watching the clouds. Feeling the wind on our faces. Laughing at the two young kids commanding their mother’s constant attention while they jumped and frolicked in hyperactivity in and around the pool, one inevitably hurting himself with a big whale of a cry, sending the mother flying out of her chair to investigate the ‘boo-boo’ and to comfort. I remember those days when our kids were little. Sweet. Busy!

Meanwhile, Aaron, Kelly, Scott, and Eric drove the Road-to-the-Sun to Logan Pass. I hear it’s not the easiest drive even on healthy stomachs. Aaron drove – clenching the wheel, maneuvering the car around deeply ascending hairpin curves along the outer shoulder of the road against oncoming cars, imagining how far down you’d roll if you slid off the edge, and how you don’t want one distracted moment where you send your whole carload tumbling …

I’m just saying … my stomach situation probably wasn’t ideal for the drive on Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass. I do have photos of their trip, though. Scott took them …

IMG_1781

IMG_1780

IMG_1779

The week after we were there, one of my Facebook friends drove to Logan Pass on Going-to-the-Sun Road and posted her photos on her FB page and, what the heck, they were mine for the vicarious experiencing. Thank you Josara Grosshans. I’m totally there!

12029559_10207304401875586_8863641576637895981_o

Driving

Driving up Logan Pass

Looks a bit chillier than when we were there a week earlier, but what the heck. Open the window and let the cool air caress your face!

Getting back to our group of four on Logan pass, there was no parking the truck to get out and hike. The lots were not only full, there was a line of cars waiting for spaces to open up. Our group circled around thinking they might find parking in another spot, only to return to their original place further back in line. We read in our Park literature after we got back that parking at the popular hikes in the Park is very difficult between 10:30 am and mid-afternoon (if you can’t park, you can’t hike!). How lucky we were yesterday to find two open spaces to park for our hike to Avalanche Lake! There is a free park shuttle service that provides access for visitors to visitor centers, trailheads, campgrounds and lodges along the Going-to-the Sun Road. What shuttle? Yeah, well this year the shuttle service started July 1 and ended a week ago, September 7. So, unable to park, and out of patience to wait in line for a spot to open up, our group of four ultimately turned around at the pass and drove on back. No problem! Aaron and Kelly joined the rest of the clan downtown, while David, Eric and Scott met Megan and me at the poolside restaurant/bar where I was now able to choke down part of a hamburger.

All in all, it was a great day. Four of the group made it up to Logan Pass. Megan and I relaxed and enjoyed resting by the pool. David held his own against Ben at pool. And the Packers trounced the Bears 31-13.

For an added bonus, David had thrown his ‘Cheesehead’ in the back of the truck when we were packing. Now to celebrate the Packer’s win!

Do

Do Green Bay Packer fans really wear cheeseheads?

The sunset was beautiful too.

Sunset over Whitefish Lake

Sunset over Whitefish Lake

One full day left! Big plans for us all tomorrow too, you know it.

Glacier National Park – Avalanche Lake … uh, and Go Dawgs!

September 26, 2015

Part 2 – Saturday, September 12, 2015 … 10 of us in the condo planning activities for our first whole day of vacation … of course, we must hike to a lake in Glacier National Park! No??? What? It’s a huge weekend of both professional and college football? Yes, it most certainly is. Son, Aaron, and his best friend, Kelly, fraternity brothers and University of Georgia alumni, HAVE to see today’s game of the Georgia Bulldogs vs. Vanderbilt. Well, Aaron, I doubt there’s any sports bars at any of the ancient rustic lodges in Glacier.

Actually, Aaron had warned us ahead of time of his urgency to watch the Georgia Bulldogs’ second game of the season against Vanderbilt (which historically has been a wily, unpredictable opponent). I intended to maybe catch a bit of the game and to at least pack in my suitcase some Georgia logo merchandise to wear for the occasion:

Our official Georgia Bulldogs apparel, all of which I forgot to pack in my suitcase for the game against Vanderbilt

Our official Georgia Bulldogs apparel, all of which I forgot to pack in my suitcase for the game against Vanderbilt

Oh well …

Daughter Megan was keen to see Glacier but not at all excited about a strenuous hike. Contrast with my brother Eric, a.k.a. ‘Mountain Goat’ who was eager to hike to the highest lake in the park. He pops up early Saturday all perky and ready to go:

We know you’re a cat lover, Eric, but “Uzzi Kitty?”

In the end it all worked out beautifully – Aaron and Kelly and Megan stayed back at the resort, while the other seven of us drove our two vehicles into Glacier National Park. First destination: Lake McDonald Lodge. It took about half an hour to reach the entrance to the Park – then another 30 minutes on Going-to-the Sun Road alongside Lake McDonald (the largest lake inside Glacier National Park) to Lake McDonald Lodge.

Lake McDonald Lodge was built in 1914. The lodge is reminiscent of a Swiss chalet:

Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald Lodge

with a hunting lodge atmosphere:

Eric gazing up at the beams in the front lobby

Eric gazing up at the beams in the front lobby

IMG_1638

Because no roads were built to the lodge until 1921, its front faces the lakeshore to greet guests who arrived by boat from Apgar landing. For some, this hotel was the final destination, while others traveled from here to explore the park on horseback. In 1929 Going-to-the-Sun Road opened to Logan Pass from the west.

View of McDonald Lake from Lodge lakeside balcony

View of McDonald Lake from Lodge lakeside balcony

From McDonald Lodge we continued six more miles on Going-to-the-Sun Road to the Avalanche Lake hike. We didn’t prepare ourselves for the difficulty of finding one parking space, never mind two. We circled around in all the filled lots (hey, you can’t get out and hike if you can’t park your cars!) But we got lucky. Suddenly, two cars pulled out simultaneously, just for us, it seemed. Thank you, Universe!

At the trailhead you start on a handicapped-accessible loop called Trail of the Cedars, which is just enchanting, peaceful and gorgeous. (Perfect for Megan!) You branch off the loop to continue the 5-mile moderate round trip hike up to the Lake. Here we are, headed up to the lake …

Eric, David, Ben and Rhonda off to see the wizard

Eric, David, Ben and Rhonda off to see the wizard

In an ancient forest of towering cedars and cottonwood trees.

Paradise

Paradise

IMG_1648

Are we there yet?  Even Eric's getting a little tired.

Are we there yet? Even Eric’s getting a little tired.

At Avalanche Lake!

David and Jody

David and Jody

Adam and Meredith

Adam and Meredith

Ben and Rhonda

Ben and Rhonda

A Mountain Bluebird (Idaho’s State Bird) visited us while we picnicked and rested.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird

A panoramic view of the lake on a video:

Walking back now. It’s a magnificent hike:

IMG_1665

IMG_1666

IMG_1669

Warning signs in Paradise:

Yes, we understand  the visual

Yes, we understand the visual

I didn’t get even close to the banks of the surging creek

Jody and Adam

Jody and Adam

Ben and Rhonda

Ben and Rhonda

Things in Paradise turned topsy-turvy

Whoops!  Is something wrong with this picture?

Whoops! Is something wrong with this picture?

We’re back on the Trail of the Cedars now, completing the loop. I tried to capture in a video the incredible height of a black cottonwood tree in this forest of ancient giants:

Well, my best effort anyway. The growing conditions are ideal because of the moist Pacific air trapped by the mountains that settles over the Park.

The undergrowth looks semi-tropical up here in northern Montana, just south of the Canadian border.

IMG_1672

After we finished the hike we drove on back toward the condo. When we were back in cell phone range we were receiving texts from Aaron. The game wasn’t over yet! But Georgia held a strong lead. By the time we were back, the game was over – Georgia beat Vanderbilt 31-14!

Great day overall! Although there is so much left of Glacier to explore … our visit is clearly too short, but we have two more full days! Tomorrow we’ll drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road at least to Logan pass and back – do a hike somewhere along the way….

Right? Uh…

Whitefish, Montana

September 25, 2015

Visiting Glacier National Park has been on our bucket list for years. Back in March we decided this was the year to do it. “We’ll go in September, when it’s less busy, the weekend after Labor Day.” I booked the condo, at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, for four nights, starting Friday, September 11. Great. Booked the flights to Kalispell, MT, for our kids, six tickets total, from New York, Atlanta and Boulder, respectively. “Hey, what’s this extra security fee?” Great. They’re all flying across country on September 11. (Good one, mom.)

Turns out, the flights were fine. Adam and Meredith flew out of Newark (where Flight 93 originated 14 years ago), where they participated in a moment of silence to honor the victims and heroes of September 11, 2001. While the kids were air bound, we drove the 7-hour trek from Idaho Falls up to Whitefish – in two cars, David and Eric in David’s truck, with Megan and I following in my car eight car lengths behind. I didn’t want to lose them! I made David swear he would not speed past 85 on the freeway (I-15 North) or pass three cars at once (his specialty) on the long stretch of two-lane highways (Highway 141, 200 then 83) in Montana that lead north through the Flathead Indian Reservation to Flathead Lake and up to Glacier.

I didn’t take any photos of the scenery on the drive up, since, uh, I was driving. And we gunned it. Stopped for gas once and then, after about 5 hours of driving, pulled over at Seely Lake, MT, for lunch at the ‘Chicken Coup’. Yum! (Well, we filled our gullets anyway.) Our driving route to Whitefish took us right past the the Kalispell Airport, and sure enough, four of the six of our clan beat us there. We had no room for them in our cars anyway, so they waited for the last two of our group to arrive on their flight and then the six of them took the free airport shuttle to the Lodge twenty minutes away.

We all converged on the resort about the same time. Here is a view of the lake from our condo:

Whitefish Lake

Whitefish Lake

and the Restaurant, Patio Bar, and pool at the Lodge, overlooking the lake …

IMG_1782

Friday evening we grabbed dinner in Whitefish. Downtown was hopping and the restaurants were jammed. We were lucky (just winging it) to get a table for 10 at Loula’s Cafe, a couple of blocks off the main drag. The food was good, appetites were sated, and after dinner we returned to the condo and turned in early. (Most of us, anyway. That’s my version, and I’m sticking to it.) Hey! We (I) had a big agenda planned for Saturday. Going into Glacier National Park for sure, hiking ….

Concerning Saturday… We could book our group of ten on one of those Red Bus Tours that escort you to magnificent sites throughout the park while seasoned park veterans provide informational and historical narration!

What a fabulous way to see the park! Let's do it!

What a fabulous way to see the park! Let’s do it!

The famous Red Busses serve as an “ideal way to see and learn more about Glacier National Park. In fact, the vintage 1930s buses are part of the human history and heritage of the park. As much of the park’s scenery is vertically oriented, the roll-back tops are perfect for providing full views of the stunning mountains, and the area’s signature Big Sky. The guides are seasoned park veterans, who are here because they love the park and enjoy sharing the park with visitors.” (to quote information in the link)

Book our group on a Red Bus tour? Of course we didn’t. Although a group of us did see one parked at McDonald Lodge.

Here’s two more photos offering you a foreshadowing of what was to come on Saturday….

A cat brandishing an UZZI

Huh?

Huh?

and a sour, wrinkly Bulldog you’d better beware of:

IMG_1797

So what’s this blog about, again? Weren’t you up there in Whitefish to visit Glacier National Park?

Yes, that’s the idea …