Sunday, September 13, 2009

WOW - A Whole Week's Gone By!

WOW - time flies! It has been five days since we last posted - and I am blaming it on the lack of internet. We have been in those zones of no internet or cell service or neither - as often happens in these remote areas and campsites. BUT, this morning when I 'booted up' - there it was. So, here I am.

We last left you after our activities on Labor Day. Tuesday was another golf day - at Whitefish Lake Golf Course in Whitefish, MT. The course was beautiful and reminded us very much of the Park City Muni course - green, treed, in the mountains with the ski area in the background. On this type of course Gary is always left saying "where is the ball"?!?!

Aww .. where is my ball this time?

After golf and lunch we drove around Flathead Lake - the largest natural fresh water lake in the US! It reminded us of Lake Tahoe and we were surprised to learn that Flathead Lake was larger. We found a nice little state park on our way, where we just had to stop and have our mid-afternoon snack!

Flathead Lake

When we finally pulled ourselves out of bed Wednesday morning - and after a breakfast of ham steak and eggs! - we headed to the Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake in West Glacier. On this 5+ mile hike we enjoyed all nature has to offer. The beginning of this hike is through the cedar-hemlock forest along Avalanche Creek, which tumbles through contoured walls of red stone, formed during a period when the sea here retreated. In contact with oxygen, iron-bearing minerals in the mud formed the bright red mineral hematite that colors the rock. The years of water running over them have also made very interesting contours.

Water is a wonderful artist

This area is so abundant with water that the trees do not form deep root structures - they have very complex root structures, but all on the surface. Therefore, they fall over easily exposing these root structures in fascinating 'art pieces'.

Looks like this tree just completed the Komen 3-Day Walk

The ultimate goal of this hike is Avalanche Lake, which is glacier-fed with beautiful falls in the background.

Hugs at Avalanche Lake

Thursday was a travel day, which was a good thing after our long hike on Wednesday. We said good bye to our campground in West Glacier - and our $1 million+ neighbors in the Prevost Bus - and headed to Waterton, Canada (the Canadian portion of Glacier National Park).
Our Million Dollar neighbors. That's Magic in the background

On our way we traveled through East Glacier (Lodge was interesting, but kept moving), across the Continental Divide for about the third or fourth time and through the Blackfoot Indian reservation. [A little personal story - traveling through the Blackfoot Indian reservation made me think of my Grandpa Rich. When my Aunt and I were much younger and ran around in Phoenix barefoot all the time - Grandpa would always tell us "we were members of the Blackfoot tribe"! For years I thought he just made up that name since the bottoms of our feet were always black!]

Roosevelt Memorial at the Continental Divide

Thursday afternoon we pulled into our new campground, where we had our pick of spots - an advantage of traveling 'off season'. Gary wandered around until he came up with a nice spot on our own private pond -
Our "room" with a view

After getting set up, we headed into Waterton to hit the 'information center' for maps and ideas about activities in this area. We were a little late as they just closed (reduced hours - a hazard of traveling 'off season' - so had to settle for 'investigating' the Prince of Wales Hotel and a drink (no more vodka in stock as this is there last week end open - another hazard of traveling 'off season'!). The Prince of Wales Hotel opened in 1927, is a National Historic Site and like most of the Lodges in the Park (both US and Canadian) it was built for the Great Northern Railway to attract people to use the railway by coming to the Park as a destination on the train. The hotel is perched on a bluff with fabulous views of Waterton Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Prince of Wales Hotel

Waterton Lake

Friday - boy, I hope we have more frequent internet from here on, because remembering all this activity for this many days if VERY taxing!

OK - Friday. We hit the road fairly early to head back into the US and the East side of Glacier Park - to the Many Glacier area. After finding our way to the Many Glacier Hotel (another built by the RR) and the boat dock, we were on our way on another boat trip. After our experience on Lake McDonald, we were a little dubious - BUT, this trip was fantastic! The guides were very informative and the scenery was to die for. We first crossed Swiftcurrent Lake - and viewed the Hotel from the Lake.

Many Glacier Hotel from the lake

When we arrived at the opposite side of the Lake we hiked a short .25 mile over a small hill to reach Lake Josephine, where we boarded another boat to take us to the other side of this lake. Then we hiked about 2 miles into Lake Grinnell - another glacier fed lake with beautiful falls.

The falls above Grinnell Lake

After a leisure walk part way around the lake and a snack - we headed back to the boats. When we arrived at the first dock at Lake Josephine we had about an hour until the boat arrived - so, we decided to just walk back to the Hotel, which was about 2 miles. Our goal was to 'Beat the Boat' - and we did. Our reward for winning when we reached the Hotel was a wonderful cheese fondue, martini and non-alcohol beer - with a view of course!!

Our just rewards

It was time to leave the Many Glacier area and the US, again, and head back up to Waterton, Canada (had to get to the border crossing before it closed at 6PM or we had a much longer trip back to the Bus). After our long day of hiking and boating, we decided to have dinner in the Townsite of Waterton - the cutest little town - instead of cooking back at the Bus. So, we found the restaurant at the Bayshore Inn and had a delightful dinner on the Waterton Lake - and met Brian from Whistler, who was going to look into any housing for the Olympics he might be able to find!!

We headed back to the Bus at just the right time of night for all the animals to be coming out. Deer are in abundance around Waterton!! They come right up to the car to check you out!

Oh no!! Not another tourist with a camera

Young buck on the banks of Waterton Lake

WOW - we are finally to Saturday (yesterday)! This was another golf day - at the Waterton Lakes Golf Course. Pretty funky course! It is described as a links style course - I would say 'interesting' - Gary says "nicely maintained public course". The true value of the course is the views - location, location, location!

A great view from the Waterton Golf Course

Blind shots required elevated platforms to see if the green was clear

We definitely followed a bear (or two) around the course - we know this because of his "trail" on the course - but, never did see her/him/them. This is probably a good thing - BUT, we sure want to see a bear!! This course was good to me, as I think I finally found my drive again. Anyway, after lots of fun here, we went back to our favorite spot in Waterton Townsite - the Bayshore Inn - and watched a bit of the Notre Dame game and Tiger 'birdie' his way through the third round of the Cog Hill FedEx tournament while we ate a late lunch.

It was time for another drive - out to Cameron Lake. It was that time of day again - and the best part of this drive was the parade of the mountain goats!! I will let the pictures tell the story -

Mountain Goat family road trip

Mom rounding up the kids (blaaaaaah, blaaaaah)

There are two things I have learned this past week - 1) in Montana - no mater the size of the road - the speed limit is 70! And, 2) - The Canadians are much more efficient at the border crossing than we are!

Well - this brings us to a lazy Sunday morning. We are just catching up, enjoying our pond and getting ready for breakfast! Miss you all - and hope you are enjoying our trip as much as we are! Tomorrow we head to Banff, and hope to have better internet/cell coverage so these postings can be more frequent. Mainly because I can't remember all this 'stuff' for this long!

HOPE to talk to you all again soon - Elizabeth & Gary from the Magic Bus!

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