Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Scuba Flathead Lake

I read a very interesting article in today's Missoulian News online about 'diving' in Flathead Lake. I have never dived (that is with oxygen and a wet suit), so I hadn't considered that Flathead Lake offers scuba divers an exceptional experience. With water as clear as Flathead, I would imagine that it is a hoot! The article mentioned...

“When you dive and live in Montana,” Mackaman said, “that's what you got to do - dive in cold water.”

Although there is no tropical splendor to explore beneath the water's surface in Montana, there are plenty of other mysterious and intriguing discoveries to help divers forget the frigid water temperatures.

Flathead Lake, for instance, has a sheer wall that drops from 30 feet to 150 feet, and when you swim along it, it is like flying, said Bonnie Stelzenmuller. In Lake McDonald, she said, there's a underwater forest with standing trees. According to Stelzenmuller and her diving companion, Ken Clizbe, in Flathead Lake there are lake trout so huge, they weigh over 50 pounds. The fish are so bold and so curious, they dash around and rush at divers like miniature sharks, she said. (Now that's more my style of enjoying Flathead Lake).

So my friends, if you're into scuba diving, here's one more reason to visit Montana - Dive Flathead Lake! See the entire story here...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Snow on the Flathead

Winter has arrived!

Last night (Oct. 29, 2006) the Flathead valley received our first snow of the season. Although technically it is still Fall, Winter has now been formally announced. The valley floor only saw an inch or so of the white stuff, but higher elevations may have received from 6 to 12 inches. This will be welcome news for the ski resorts (Big Mountain and Blacktail) as they usually open by Thanksgiving, but have no appreciable snow as of yesterday.

Flathead Lake does not freeze over most winters, although the bays often cover over with ice. This is due to the sheer volume of the lake and dynamic wind patterns. According to the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station, the lake did freeze over in the winters of 1978-79 (all winter), 1987-88 (all winter), 1988-89 (March only) and 1989-90 (January only).

What makes this snow and cooler weather such an anomaly is that on Saturday we experienced a perfect Montana Fall day. Beautiful blue skies, sunshine and the thermometer climbed all the way to 60 degrees. Twenty-four hours later, the temperature had dropped 40 degrees and snow began to fall from the sky. I LOVE Montana!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Going-To-The-Sun Road Closed

It was announced yesterday that the upper stretch of Going-to-the-Sun Road has officially been closed for the season.

From the Loop on the west side and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side of Glacier National Park, the road is now closed as a result of icy road conditions. This closure is earlier than the planned Nov. 1st. date.

The lower portions of the road, 23 miles from the W. Glacier entrance to the Loop on the west side and 13 miles from St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the E. remain open to motorists.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

K-9 Cop Found

In my post two days ago I mentioned "Eddie the K-9 Cop", a Border Patrol dog who was lost. Great news... Eddie was found Wednesday, ending the Border Patrol's search for their search dog.

Border Patrol agents found Eddie close to where he had last been seen and his leash was tangled in brush. Eddie was found in good condition and is now back with his handler.

Personal note: Our family is a dog and (multi) cat family; we adore our animals and feel terrible when we hear of a story like Eddie's. COnversely, when the story has a happy ending, we share in the joy. Our 4-legged family includes a Great Pyrenees and our adorable cats, Puff & Pooh.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Flathead Photos

The editor of the Bigfork Eagle newspaper wants your photos (Bigfork is a community at the NE corner of Flathead Lake).

The newspaper plans to start featuring a space for reader submitted photographs. Each week, they will choose the best photograph and run it in the paper with a caption and a photo credit for whoever took the image. Any person of any age can submit whatever he or she wishes. Submit photos to editor@bigforkeagle.com.

So, hit them with your best shots, and share your photos with the community.

Going-to-the-Sun Road Update

Status: A portion of Going-to-the-Sun Road will close to vehicle traffic on 11/01/2006. Glacier Park officials will close the alpine section of the road from the Loop to Siyeh Bend to vehicles for the season so that crews can prepare Sun Road for winter. Removal of guard rails at numerous locations to avoid avalanche damage and road signs, exhibits, and trash bins will be removed while crews install snow poles and clean culverts. Going-To-The-Sun Road will remain open to hikers and bicyclists as weather conditions permit.

Thirty-nine miles of the road will stay open to vehicles in the fall. Including 23 miles from the West Glacier entrance to the Loop on the west side and 15 miles from St. Mary to Siyeh Bend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hunting Season

The general hunting season starts Oct. 22, this Sunday, and it "should bring a bumper crop of nice bucks and bulls", according to Jim Williams, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks wildlife manager. If you are planning a late season visit to the park, you don't have to wear bright orange clothing. Hunting is not permitted inside the park and Glacier National Park reminds hunters it is illegal to transport game through the Park except along U.S. Highway 2 (lawfully taken and tagged game only). All other roads are off limits.

Lost dog (Polebridge area)

Not just any dog, but a Border Patrol dog got lost in the woods earlier this week. Eddie, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection “K-9” pooch, was on patrol when he was reported missing. Eddie was last was seen in the Trail Creek area, near the Canadian border on the western edge of Glacier National Park. This is a wilderness area where grizzly bears and mountain lions roam.

Eddie is a black and tan German shepard that weighs approx. 70 pounds. A "?” is tattooed inside his right ear. If you find Eddie, U.S. Customs and Border Protection would like its canine cop back; call (406) 862-2561.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fall in NW Montana

Although most of the tourists are now in hibernation, this is the time of year when bears are very active in the park. They are gorging themselves and putting on fat to get them through their long winter nap. In addition, this is a time of year when - if the sun is at the right angle - the mountains look like they are on fire. Fall colors, crisp weather and active wildlife make for an excellent time to visit Glacier Park before the snows close Logan Pass.

And don't forget to drive down to Flathead Lake while you're in the area. Personally, I love the Flathead at any time of year, but I really like seeing it in the Fall. These are the views you see on postcards... snow-capped mountains dotted with fall colors overlooking a serene and beautiful lake. With the tourist traffic gone, you will see sights that you miss when fighting to survive in traffic. For a special treat, drive down the eastern side of the lake to Woods Bay and stop at the Sitting Duck Saloon. You'll meet locals and can enjoy dinner out on the deck overlooking the lake.

There just isn't a more beautiful part of America than NW Montana in the fall. Fall comes early to the higher elevations and new snow is already appearing on the mountain peaks, so pack up the family, bring plenty of film and head over to Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Global warming?

Maybe - maybe not...

Glacier National Park was carved from the earth by huge glaciers during the last ice age. As recently as 100 years ago (a blip in geological terms), photos and maps show that there were approximately 150 glaciers in the park, but today most have retreated or vanished. As we all know, warming and cooling of the earth occurs from time to time. Today we are alarmed about the "global warming" trend that is now affecting the earth.

It is not the purpose of this blog to argue pro or con of this subject; my goal is to just talk about "what is". To share what I have learned about this beautiful part of Montana. If the earth is indeed warming to a degree that may affect life as we know it - I am helpless to affect that. I have hope that scientists will discover the true reason for this phenomena and advise us as to what we should do to avoid disaster.

In a similar vein, Flathead Lake faces issues from an expanded population and potential pollution problems. We have issues with non-native fish overtaking the less aggressive indigenous species. And we are challenged by many of the same problems that every community in America is facing. My point is that I do not wish this blog to become a forum for the global warming discussion, or become a platform to argue local growth policies. This is about Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, and what you might want to know before you pack-up the car and head north.

Trust me, there is "love at first sight" because I fell in love with Glacier and the Flathead the first time I visited here. I was fortunate enough to move my family to the area a few years ago and my love affair with Glacier and Flathead motivated me to begin this blog. If you are planning a trip to this part of the country, I think you will discover enough information on our websites and this blog to make your vacation memorable and fun. THAT is my goal.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Welcome to The Flathead

Glacier National Park is located in the Flathead Valley region of NW Montana. The goal of this weblog is to provide you with enough information to make your visit more meaningful. Glacier has been called the "Crown of the Continent" and Flathead Lake is a jewel in that crown. Anyone visiting this part of Montana must see the Flathead along with Glacier. These two natural attractions are certainly two of the most beautiful places in this wonderful country of ours. If you are planning a vacation to Montana and have some questions, or want to share your experiences with others, please add your comments.

Macdonald Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana

On our website, it says that Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake are the best kept secrets in America. We invite you to explore these sites and see why we believe that Paradise is located in NW Montana. Clicking the picture above will take you to our Glacier National Park website where you can view other photos of Glacier Park we have captured during different seasons of the year. Enjoy!