Sunday, May 31

Land & Water

Our third day in Glacier National Park we managed a 3 mile hike and a 10 mile (or so) boat ride. First up, the trek to Rocky Point - interesting because it took us through an area that was part of a 57,000 acre wildfire in 2003. Although you can still see the damage it's quite amazing how the area has recovered - also, the trail had some nice views of Lake McDonald and the surrounding mountains.

I have no idea what this was.


Next up - we rented a small motorboat, packed lunch and spent an hour and a half puttering around Lake McDonald. The lake is glacier fed, very cold, very deep (478 feet) so we put forth some extra effort at remaining upright and in the boat. Had a nice afternoon.

Don hard at work


Saturday, May 30

Big Trees & Crystal Waters

Not a great weather day (raft trip got rained out) but we managed almost 7 miles of hiking. We started with the Trail of the Cedars - which wandered through an impressive grove of ancient Red Cedar and Hemlock trees and along the banks of Avalanche Creek. The Cedars trail then joined the Avalanche Lake Trail for what the Park Service calls a "moderate" trek (for us old farts it seemed a tad more difficulte) to glacier fed Avalanche Lake. The lake sits at the base of 8694-foot Bearhat Mountain, which rises almost 4800 feet above the lake - it's an impressive setting that is hard to capture in photos.

On the Trail of the Cedars.


Avalanche Lake - this first picture (although not a great photo) is included to give you a sense of the place. Those three white streaks in the center left are 1500+ foot tall waterfalls. The gray blotch is a avalanche field - I actually saw some action there, sounded like a freight train on the move. The white stuff to right, extending down to the lake in snow. The lake itself is crystal clear.

Avalanche Lake



Friday, May 29

Very Few Words

Arrived at Glacier National Park earlier today and are settled in at our campsite. Tomorrow (if the weather cooperates) we plan to hike and do a whitewater raft trip - we're hoping for a little less excitement than we had on our last water adventure.

Won't try to describe the sights so far (impossible) and pictures do a better job anyway - these are from our first couple of hours in the park.


Before arriving at Glacier we took a little side trip to the Hungry Hourse Dam. Going to the dam site and a unrelated loop around Flathead Lake added nearly a hundred miles to today's total mileage. We obviously are getting very good at finding the long way.


Thursday, May 28


We've been told several times in the last couple of weeks that it's "a little early in the season" when talking about the weather or why something isn't open yet. Today while wandering around Lakeside, Montana, we got this confirmed - apparently summer has not yet arrived and is waiting for us to move on before it does.

Despite the absence of summer, it was a pretty nice day - sun and near 70. We walked around this little vacation town on Flathead Lake and had a nice dinner. Tomorrow we plan to drive around the lake and then head for Glacier National Park.

City park in Lakeside


Wednesday, May 27

Big Larch on Seeley Lake

Up at the crack of dawn this morning (well maybe it had been craked for a bit) so I could get the van serviced in Helena. Then we headed North towards Glacier National Park stopping tonight at Big Larch campground and we are the only ones here. Will probably be in Glacier on Friday - but, as usual, that depends on what we find between here and there.


Tuesday, May 26

Look Up!

Spent the day walking around downtown Helena and found these examples of why you should "look up" - especially if you are among older buildings - or you will miss some very interesting stuff. These buildings were all in a short two block pedestrian mall.


Now - look up!


And because you are such a loyal reader you get these two bonus pictures - that have nothing to do with anything in particular. Enjoy!

Just an old building
Old fire tower in Helena - the colors are my doing.


Monday, May 25

Let's Pause A Moment

Custer National Cemetery


Sunday, May 24

Little Bighorn

After a quiet night out in the boondocks we are now in Billings, Montana and will spend the night in the parking lot at a Cracker Barrel - hey, both "campsites" are free, but the food is better at Cracker Barrel.

Just outside Billings we stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument which preserves the site of the battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. If you're my age we most often called the battle "Custer's Last Stand" and what I found most interesting is that site was called Custer Battlefield National Monument until being changed to its current name in 1991 at which time the National Park Service started a conscious effort at also honoring the Indians that fought and died on this battlefield. Today you see two monuments - on "Last Stand Hill" is the stone monolith honoring Custer and his men - and only a hundred yards away, the "Peace Through Unity" Indian memorial (dedicated in 2003) now stands. The story is finally complete, as it should be. Very well done by the Park Service.




Saturday, May 23


Cold and rainy weather returned after the decent day a Devils Tower yesterday. We're now in Montana but the only two pictures I have for the day are these. Hopefully things will improve tomorrow.

Our free campsite for tonight


Friday, May 22

Devils Tower Hike

Today's hike was a tad over four miles. We hiked from our campsite to the Visitor Center on the South Side Trail and then did the Tower Trail which loops around the base of the Tower. Some pretty impressive views - up at the 857 foot tall Tower, and down over the river valley 1267 feet below the trail. Nearly 5000 climbers from around the world climb Devils Tower each year - today we saw about a dozen doing their thing.


Don out front


Here is the best picture we managed to get of some climbers (four are in this picture). It's a little blurred because of the magnification necessary - they where at about the halfway point on their climb.



NOTE: If you go to the MapShare page and use the slider on the map to zoom way in, you can see today's hike.

Thursday, May 21


Tonight we are in the Belle Fourche River Campground at the base of Devils Tower. We've had better equipped campsites (no electricity or showers here) on our travels - but here, it's all about location, and it's not an overstatement to use the word spectacular for this place. Tomorrow (weather permitting) we will do a couple of hikes - tonight we will just enjoy the view.


Public Service Announcement

Readers with good memories may recall that we were in Wyoming a week ago, well . . . . we're back! After our little detour into Nebraska and South Dakota we're now at Devils Tower in Wyoming.


Arriving back in the "Forever West" state we stumbled across a great investment opportunity for anyone that has some extra money burning a hole in their pocket. So I thought I do this little PSA.

If only those rusty front porch chairs had been rockers Don and I would have jumped on this. Hurry now, our loss can be your gain - owner said she can rewrite the town ordinance to allow pets for the right buyer.