Where I left a bit of my spirit. Extraordinary Montana: Part 3


riverlove
The love of my life right now

I nestled into my warm sleeping bag on a very crisp (puffy jacket kind of crisp morning!) making sure I was tucked below the rocks far enough so no one from the road could see me.  The rock ledge was just wide enough for me to lay.  In this spot I spent a few mornings drawing, writing, napping and sitting in wonderment about this little spot I found.  My mind instantly stopped racing about all the things I wanted to do and see while in Glacier.  In an instant, nature stopped me in my tracks and erased all other things from my mind.  The flow of the swiftly moving water came around the bend pillowing over a few large embedded rocks and then dramatically slowed down as if to lazily pool in the curve of the river.  That is where I was tucked.  Into the curve of the river where the water took it’s time dancing around the eddies hanging out before moving on down stream.  I so wanted to jump in!  Just to be one with the river for a brief moment.  I could picture myself being alive 150 years ago, laying in this same spot.  No cars going by up above on the road, just me in the water swimming and being free…

 

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The water here is so clear and crisp.  If I had the guts I would have taken a dip but it was very cold in the mornings and I was happy and comfy in my sleeping bag.

I listened, I mean really listened, to the beautiful sounds of nature all around me.  The flowing water, chipmunks scurrying, all sorts of birds who were busy calling out into the morning and the wind blowing through the river valley.  Imagine the most picturesque nature montage from a movie then times that by a million.

There are some things I want to hold sacred so I am going to end this post here.  I do not want to provide details to exactly where along the road this place is.  Maybe one day you will go there with me. 😉

Have a beautiful weekend 😀

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Extraordinary Montana part 2! Respite and testing bear spray…seriously dudes…lol

 

 

 

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Morning on Lake McDonald 🙂
Goooood Moooorrrrrnning everyone!!!!!!  That is how I felt waking up to this view a few weeks ago.  Excited and hungry for exploration!

Glacier is stuck in time in the most beautiful of ways.  Established as a park in 1910 Glacier has quite the impressive stats.  Here are a few facts about Glacier NP courtesy of the NPS website.

History

  • Established as a park on May 11, 1910
  • Established as Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in 1932
  • Established as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1974

Water

  • Number of named lakes: 131
  • Total number of lakes: 762
  • Largest lake: Lake McDonald at 9.4 miles long; 1.5 miles wide; 464 feet deep; 6,823 acres
  • Number of streams: 563

Land

  • Elevation at Logan Pass: 6,646 feet / 2,025 m)
  • Number of mountains: 175
  • Highest mountain: Mt. Cleveland at 10,448 ft / 3,190 m)
  • Number of glaciers: 25 named; all shrinking in size
  • Largest glacier: Blackfoot Glacier 0.7 sq. miles

Plants and Animals

  • Number of fish species : 24
  • Number of species of mammals: 71
  • Number of species of birds: 276 documented
  • Number of species of plants: 1,132 vascular and 858 non-vascular

Most impressive my friends…Most impressive!  Lake McDonald is TWICE as deep as the great Lake Erie!  Crazy when you think about that, eh?!  I cannot say enough great things about all the friendly, patient and knowledgeable people who work in this amazing national park!

I arrived in northwestern Montana in the very late hours of the night.  I didn’t want to spend $200 on a hotel room so that night I slept in my car in the cute quiet neighborhood of Whitefish.
(Side note:  I have GOT to find a way to convert my little car into a comfortable place to sleep!)
After I woke up and nabbed a much needed cup of coffee, I headed straight to the west entrance of Glacier.  I was a bit early and if you are the dishonest sort then you can drive right past the self-registration area and into the park.  I however can be honest to a fault so I patiently waited for the park rangers to open the drive-up windows and spent the well worth it $80 for my year-long national park pass.  I get so excited about theses things!  I feel like I have some magical SUPER power that no one else has (except for the thousands of others with same pass… lol) like this is a ticket to my all dreams and adventures!  A national park pass is my ticket, the national parks are what I dream about!

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Dudes I slept in my car…no judgement…lol!
My folks have been here numerous times and told me of a few great places that I absolutely had to check out.  My friends Dingo and El Cap also gave me a few must see places so I did have some idea of where I wanted to go.  This park is so huge and the suggestions were only a fraction of what the park has to offer one’s senses!  I wandered on in and came upon Lake McDonald first and couldn’t believe the size of that sucker!  HUGE!  Surrounded by glacial mountains, big pines and whispy cloads floating above.  I pulled over to snap a few pics and really man I could have stayed there all day!   Seriously people, it would take years to really discover this park on your own.  Not just because there is SOOOOO much to see but also because each place that you stop to see along the way just captivates you and you want to spend a lot of time there.  Spend time to take pics, watch the wildlife, listen to the music of the streams, feel the wind and soak it all in nice and slowly.  Kind of like savoring a great cannoli combined with a delicious cup of coffee…Mmmm!  Well it is breakfast time here and I’m hungry 😉

 

 

I drove around for a little bit and after about an hour was I dying to brush my teeth, shower and rest in a comfy bed.  Sometimes when traveling I just need to lay my head in a bed.  I would never give up camping, hammock or tent, but sometimes you should find respite in a space bigger than a little tent!  I stumbled upon Lake McDonald Lodge.  It is this giant beautiful inn that takes you back in time with all the carved wood work, nooks and crannies that give this place a sense of mystery.  I inquired about vacancy but the cheapest room on short notice was $250.  I was so tired and in of a deep cleaning that I almost said, “Heck why not?”  However,  my practical side took over and convinced me to find some place cheaper.  The lady at the desk gave me a list of all the inns in the park and I called every single one of them.  I finally found a spot at the Village Inn at Apgar.  Now keep in mind I was super tired, in need of a shower and a solid nights sleep and therefore was a bit cranky when I found out a few things the lady didn’t mention on the phone about the hotel.  I checked in and they gave me my card to a first floor room.  It was cute and quaint but it didn’t have a/c (there was a box fan in the closet) nor a telephone in case of an emergency.  The manager actually told me that if I needed help immediately then I should bang on my wall to alert my neighbors.  I was like, really dude?!  You only get cell service if you have Verizon.  I did complain a little because none of this was mentioned when I booked the room via telephone.  (When traveling alone it is always safety first.)  So after a bit of battle they gave me a room on the second floor that was less noisy and a bit more secure.  I didn’t want anyone crawling through my first floor window.  (The windows have flimsy locks.)

After I showered and scrubbed my teeth I was ready for an ice-cold beer and snacks. I was way too tired to put any effort into eating a proper dinner so I moseyed on down to the little market and picked up a six-pack of local IPA brew, some sugar snap peas and cheese.  (I fell of the vegan wagon after an amazing french dessert in Oregon…but I am back on it and my body is happy again!)

 OH. MY. STARS.!  That was exactly what I needed!  I settled into my chair out on the balcony and just zoned out for quite a bit…lol.  How could you not?!  I was also inspired to share a video for the first time.  Yikes!  But here ya go!

 

 

(side note: this guy running the coffee shop this morning as the best playlists.  I don’t even need ear plugs!)

After vlogging (is that even a word for video blogging?..lol), I crawled into a nice big comfy bed with comfy pillows and totally drifted into a deep deep slumber.  HEAVEN dudes, heaven!  I woke up so wide-eyed and refreshed that I did not want to leave my hotel room for the next several days but at $180 a night , I did just that but not before brewing TWO cups of coffee simultaneously!!!  For an obsessed coffee lover like me I was so stoked that I had a cup of coffee in each hand.  I drank those two and then brewed two more!  BLISS!  While drinking my coffees…hahaha, I took a time lapse video.

 

The clouds were sparse but still it was fun to tinker around with time lapse.  I really could have stayed there for days on end.  Oh, to have unlimited funds and live the life of luxury but I don’t want nice hotels and comfy beds all the time.  I want to feel the elements and sleep under the stars, I much prefer that.  After that I packed up my room and crossed the parking lot to a giant wooded area designated for camping.  To pop my tent was only $20 a night.  There weren’t any showers but there were nice bathrooms and potable water.  Hahaha!  I spent that night testing out bear spray.  Note to anyone who has never sprayed bear spray before.  DO NOT spray it toward a tree!  Even if you are good ten feet away because that stuff comes out like a canon, bounces off the tree and right into your eyes and throat!  My eyes burned a little for the next half hour and I swear my throat was going to peel off in layers.  The lessons we learn while out on adventure! 😀

Up next, the alluring beautiful spot I found along the McDonald River.

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow