Week 4 commencing 23rd June 2012 
We
took a long and somewhat circuitous route up to Bigfork in Northern Montana in order to take in as much scenery as possible and by the time we got to our apartment we were feeling pretty done in. The apartment is beautifully situated above an unoccupied home beside Flathead Lake. It had a nice view and was pretty much as we expected except that it was obviously owned by a fishing and hunting fanatic. For a start all the walls were covered in trophy heads, fishing memorabilia, preserved birds and even a full size mountain cat of some kind or other. The only videos and DVD's were about hunting or fishing.... about 40 in all. The toilet maintained the same pattern with a significant dunny library of hunting magazines to keep one amused during a visit. If it wasn't so amusing it would be a little freaky.


Vintage fishing tackle, mountain cat and Canadian Geese


Bighorn Sheep just outside our bedroom door


This fella had the best spot for watching the television set


A fascinating collection of very old fishing tackle

We were rudely and abruptly awakened by the loud hammering of hail on the metal roof above our bedroom, early next morning. Sheets of hail crashing down, big time!!

I threw on some clothes and protective headwear, ran downstairs, and out into the laneway. Jumping into the Jeep, I drove it across the lane and parked it under one side of a neighbour's carport. There was a full white carpet of ice outside and it looked like it had been snowing. Some of the hailstones were 20mm in diameter and quite big enough to put dings all over the roof and bonnet of the car. I'll have to check that out when it's light. I think the insurance contract has a $1,000 excess so let's collectively keep our fingers crossed. The HUGE verandah attached to our apartment is partly under a large pine tree. You ought to see all the debris that ended up on the verandah as the result the hailstorm. It will be at least an hour's work to shovel and sweep it up !! And today was supposed to be one of our very rare "rest days". It aint been very restful so far!

Lynn told me to come back to bed but it's 4.15am and you know me.... once I'm awake I'm awake. So here beginneth 23rd June in Bigfork MT.

In the morning I went to retrieve the Jeep from across the road. However I couldn't inspect it because it was absolutely COVERED in sprigs of pine needles, nuggets of pine bark and HUNDREDS of small pine cones/nuts. It's a helluva mess. So it looks like I now have to try and find a long hose (like where?), then put in at least another hour's work before I can even BEGIN to inspect for damage. And today was supposed to be a rest day! Anyhow Lynn managed to get her hands on a someone's hose and after a good rinse we could see at least half a dozen hail dents on roof and bonnet. Is this going to cost us?? Only time will tell.

Lynn had a great birthday here in Bigfork. We went for a scenic 120 mile drive around Flathead Lake (named after the Indian tribe and not our Aussie fish). We stopped and had our picnic lunch in a lovely pretty spot under some pine trees right on the edge of the lake. It was very peaceful and we enjoyed a couple of hours rest whilst scoffing some sandwiches and fruit washed down with a small amount of Aussie wine which is always easy to buy here in the US. We've found it best to stick with the stuff we know because each time we've bought Californian wine in a supermarket or restaurant it hasn't been to our taste. Obviously we don't know the local wine scene so now we're playing it safe.

As we headed away from the lake and back to Bigfork we spotted a deer doe and fawn in a field beside the road. I think they were Mule Deer. I stopped the car and crept up, firing off photos as I approached. Amazingly I eventually got to within about five metres and although the animals were in in the worst possible situation (half sun and half shade) I was able to get a couple of photos worthy of inclusion in this web page. 


I couldn't believe how close I was able to get to mother and foal


Momma mule deer is far from happy about my close proximity

Later that evening we went out for a very nice dinner punctuated by a series of phone calls from our children. Thanks for remembering your Mum's birthday and working out the time shift details as it really made for a lively dinner.  Then we crossed the road to attend another live show at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse. We saw the musical "Nine to Five" which Dolly Parton wrote, composed and then made famous on Broadway many years ago. 


We thoroughly enjoyed "9 to 5" in the Bigfork Summer Playhouse


One of the most spectacular scenes in this very engaging play

Today we set off early to drive through Glacier National Park and back along the romantically named "Going to the Sun Road". Friends have told us that this is a scenically spectacular drive and they certainly weren't exaggerating. The pity is that our photos don't really do it justice but Lynn and I both came to the conclusion that Glacier National Park provided us with about the best scenery we've ever seen. On many occasions it simply took our breath away.


The eastern entrance to Glacier National Park


Lynn offers to take me for a ride in this 1930 model tourist bus


A very large and beautiful lake just inside the eastern entrance


The Park road follows lake for some miles then heads skywards

No doubt the following photos may seem a little repetitious but after sorting through about 100 photos taken on the day, frankly I was reluctant to omit any of those which follow. Of course snow capped mountains are a big novelty for most Aussies and any mountain that actually looks like a real mountain is a VERY BIG deal. I therefore ask Kiwi, Canadian, American and Austrian readers of this Newsletter not to snigger at our childish delight.


Impossible to be blas about fantastic  scenery like this


You can well imagine that I am firing off scores of photos


The look, sound and force of these rapids was awe inspiring


Tourist buses giving passengers a shower under a water cascade


I think I've run out of rosy prose


Wonderful scenery in Montana's Glacier National Park 

Another novelty for Lynn and I was the old 1930's buses that take visitors for excursions through the Park. They gave me a sense of great nostalgia. Not that I was around in the 1930's but I well remember lots of trucks, buses and cars from the twenties and thirties on the street when I was a young boy.


Wonderful scenery in Montana's Glacier National Park 


Wonderful scenery in Montana's Glacier National Park 


Wonderful scenery in Montana's Glacier National Park 


Wonderful scenery in Montana's Glacier National Park 


I was lucky to get really close to this Rocky Mountain Goat


Wonderful scenery in Montana's Glacier National Park 

As we approached Logan Pass we entered a dense cloud and for the next 30 minutes we had to crawl along beside sheer precipices at little more than five miles per hour. Sure there was a little low wall but I mean REALLY LOW!! And it doesn't help that Lynn has a serious phobia when it comes to being on mountains, especially when close to drop-offs.

The thing about the "Going to the Sun Road" is that the road only reaches a height of 6,646 feet. However one is constantly surrounded by many mountain peaks so it feels much higher. And when you start driving through clouds it sure feels like you're REALLY high.


Creeping through cloud up near Logan Pass


Lynn begs me to finish so she can then get out of the cold


I borrowed this lovely Glacier NP photo from another source


Wonderful scenery in Montana's Glacier National Park 

Even though it is late June and the weather has been abnormally hot, there is still significant amounts of melting snow around the place and this in turn means lots of cascades, bubbling torrents and pretty little waterfalls. It helps to give the scenery an alpine fairyland ambience.


"Hey Lynn.... here's a place for you to refill your water bottle"


We found the place where all the old red tour buses hang out

Well, Week 4 has been a very busy and fun filled seven days and they aren't over yet. I therefore invite you to click the button below for more stories and photos from that period.


Click button for our visit to
Yellowstone National Park