Monday, July 15, 2019

Adventure 16/50 : Glacier National Park, Avalanche Lake, and the long way home

** Hey readers -- I'm catching up with a bunch of "adventures" over the next couple of weeks. We've been so busy doing things, I haven't made the time to do much writing. So enjoy this last story from our adventures in June. **

On our third day in Glacier National Park Wil and I got up early to go on a hike on our own. A staffer in the Glacier National Park Conservancy store had recommended the Avalanche Lake hike to us, so we slipped out of the cabin early and were parked near the trailhead before 7am. We were relieved to find the area deserted...


... very different from Sunday! We walked up to the trailhead, seeing no one.


At only two miles to the Avalanche Lake, it's a popular hike... even with bears...


We set off, climbing gradually into the forest.


It was glorious and quiet -- apart from the sound of Avalanche Creek, rushing along next to us. 




The creek seemed really high -- not surprising with the summer thaw. We reached an area where the creek seemed to have broken its banks and spread into a little clearing ... submerged trees and water right next to the trail.


The trail itself was clear -- no chance of getting lost -- though it was really uneven and quite rooty in places.


There were also a lot of blown-down trees in places, but nothing blocking the trail. 


After a while the trees thinned and we got some views into the valley:



a little more walking...


and then -- wow. We reached the lake ... and had it all to ourselves!


We sat on the shore quietly for nearly an hour while watching the sun rise over the ridge.


I couldn't believe how clear the sky was, how smooth the lake was, and how quiet it all was!


We followed the trail along the shoreline for a while, but a few people started arriving so we decided to leave the lake for them.


Our hike back to the trailhead was pretty uneventful ... apart from the DOZENS AND DOZENS of people heading out to the lake! What a difference an hour makes!

Back in the car, we stopped along the way to view the river again:




and then stopped in Apgar for ice cream next to the lake!


Later that night -- our last night in Glacier -- we had an all-fried-food dinner at Packer's Roost, a tavern in nearby Coram, MT. 


And, of course, we added to the decor:



The next morning we started to make our way back to Seattle. Not another single-day stretch, thank heavens... but a gentler schedule with a nice stop at the Swinging Bridge:


The trail was really uneven and had lots of stairs ... and, wow. This bridge. (Hard to see, but you can see it through these trees...)


I went out onto the bridge and it, indeed, did a lot of swinging!


 And there were beautiful views of the river from the bridge:


Our destination for the day was Sandpoint, Idaho, where we stayed in a wonderful AirBnB hosted by Cindy called the Rock House. Wil and I stayed in a room with a gorgeous mural:



The house was comfortable, well appointed, very quiet, close to downtown, and Cindy, the host was really friendly. Full disclosure: I had never stayed in an AirBnB with a host present and had been anxious about it. But Cindy put us all immediately to ease!

Sandpoint was fun; we had a great dinner, went for a long walk, and hit the mellow nightlife scene. The highlight? This crazy sunset sky:


The next morning we drove to Winthrop, where we enjoyed the Western Town:


Drank cider:


Admired the scenery:


And stayed in a cabin at the Methow River Lodge & Cabins where I would have loved to linger:

"You're the big one on the end."



view from the dining room table

view from the back porch
The next day we drove the rest of the way home, hitting a terrible rainstorm, but arriving safely! 



Sunday, July 14, 2019

Adventure 15/50 : Glacier National Park and Lake McDonald Boat Cruise

** Hey readers -- I'm catching up with a bunch of "adventures" over the next couple of weeks. We've been so busy doing things, I haven't made the time to do much writing. So enjoy these stories of our adventures in May and June. **
De Smet image courtesy Flathead News
For our second full day in Glacier National Park we went on a morning boat tour of Lake McDonald. We drove to the Lake McDonald Lodge to meet the boat.


The lodge is lovely -- in the way old national park lodges always are. A big lobby with a soaring ceiling:


 Huge logs make up the columns:


And a nice outdoor veranda with a view. 


We would be sailing on the De Smet, a 57-foot wooden boat built in 1930 by Captain Swanson for the Glacier Park Transport Company. She was constructed to carry passengers on Lake McDonald and this lake has remained her home ever since.


When it came time to get on the boat, there was an orderly rush, and we claimed seats in the bow.



The ride was narrated by a naturalist, who talked about the trees on the shore, the fire damage, and the geology of the area.... but she also kept quiet for large portions of the hour-long cruise so we could just enjoy the scenery. Which is what I'm going to do.






After our lovely, peaceful cruise around the lake, we went into the lodge and had lunch at Russell's Fireside Dining Room before heading back home.

Russell's before they opened for the day
After lunch the four of us went on a short hike along a river:


High water meant we had to turn back rather than complete the loop, but we did enjoy stretching our legs a bit!


Our Lake McDonald Boat Cruise was a perfect little adventure -- and a great second day in Glacier National Park!