Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all!

Good morning and a very special Christmas wish... I know I should be hog tied and dipped in tar for spending time on the computer on Christmas morning, but my excuse is that I am the only one yet awake and I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

This is such a special day - and a significant day for people all over the world. It matters not if you are in Minsk, Melbourne or Missoula, Christmas is a day to reflect and celebrate. I have been lucky to have celebrated Christmas in a half dozen States and a couple foreign countries, but nothing seems as right as Christmas in Montana. Okay, yes... I'm a tad partial.

Yesterday morning it snowed, the air was brisk without being too cold, the sun shown all day and our family spent most of the day together doing what families do on such occasions. This morning I'm waiting for everyone to awake so that we can take-up where we left off last night... enjoying each other's company.

Regardless of where you woke up this morning, I hope your Christmas day is safe and everything you want it to be. From my family to yours, we'd like to wish you a very...

Merry Christmas!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mack Days - They're Baaaaaaack!

Calling all anglers and spouses of anglers who want their share of $81,100 in cash and prizes (and fish)! The annual Fall Mack Days fishing tournament on Flathead Lake, starts Friday, September 28th and runs through Nov. 11.

The purpose behind this tournament is not to promote Flathead Lake, Montana's jewell needs no help in this area. This is a joint effort by the tribes and the state to control the non-native predacious lake trout (Mackinaw) population in Flathead by fishing. The fishing contests are the key to letting anglers be the solution to the mackinaw problem.

Lake trout can be caught using spinning gear, flies, flat fish, spoons, jigs, and cut bait. Get the best fishing tips here.

Mac Days is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks. Get all the details on their official website.
Enjoy and good luck!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We are approaching my favorite season… Fall.

Wait a minute, I have to be honest with you (and with myself), but I am inclined to say that with the approach of every season in Montana. Our very distinctive seasons offer the best of everything to everybody, but fall is different. I especially like fall because it follows the hottest part of the summer and our yearly “fire season”. By the time fall gets here, I’ve been waiting for it for weeks.

Not just a reprieve from the dog days of summer, fall brings those cool, crisp mornings and the most beautiful, vibrant sunsets of the year. The lawn doesn’t need any more attention – even the weeds are taking a breather. It’s a time when you can work outdoors and never break a sweat. Fall is the time to bring in the firewood, and get the house prepared for winter. These are chores I happen to like doing, much more than cutting grass.

Fall is an anticipatory time as we have so many fun and festive holidays in front of us. From Halloween and Thanksgiving heading to Christmas and New Years, fall is the harbinger of our traditional family fun season. When you throw in some football, cold beer and pig roasts, it just don’t get better than fall… it just feels good!

On top of this I look around and see snow appearing on the mountain peaks, the Aspens are starting to turn gold and vivid colors are dotting the landscape. A few days ago my wife and I watched a young black bear wander through our property foraging for food in preparation for winter’s hibernation. The Blacktail deer’s coats have already changed color seemingly overnight. I’m glad to be alive and living in Montana.

Fall is one of the best times to visit NW Montana and take in Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake. The roads are less crowded as most of the tourists have returned home. At this time of the year you can find yourself alone in the wilderness, soaking up nature’s majesty – yet civilization (beer, football and pig roasts) is just around the next corner.

PS: I feel the need to apologize for my hiatus; this was a surprise for both of us. Since I last posted I traveled to Florida for a family wedding and reunion, then a trip to Salt Lake City on business. Hopefully my wanderlust has been satisfied for 2007.

Oh and BTW, that photo of the buck above was taken earlier this week. This young fellow and three of his lady friends were hanging about in my front yard and I just happened to have my digital camera at the ready.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Going-to-the-Sun Road to close early

It seems that we are still recovering from the torrential rains of last November's storm that dropped 11 inches of rain on Glacier National Park. Road crews were able to make enough repairs to open Going-to-the-Sun Road on time this year, but because of the extensive damage, more work needs to be done before the snow flies this season.

If you were not aware, entire sections of the road on the east side of the divide were completely washed out by the storms. It is always a delicate dance to perform road repairs around the tourist season and Glacier's unpredictable weather. To get a jump on things, officials have decided to close the upper portions of the road on September 16th.

The park will remain open, but visitors will only be able to drive as far as Avalanche Creek (approx. 15 miles from the west gate). On the St. Mary side of the road (east entrance), visitors will be able to drive to Siyeh Bend.

Fire News

Whew! This was a challenging fire season this year, but it appears that the major fires that were affecting the park are now contained. We would all feel a little better if we had a few days of drenching rain, but conditions have improved and the fire crews seem to have everything under control.

Planning a Trip?

Fall in the park is a magic time of year and fall begins at different elevations. If you are planning a trip, now is a great time to visit Glacier National Park. Remember, you need to get here before September 16th. if you want to travel to Logan Pass and drive the entire length of Going-to-the-Sun Road.

If your trip to Glacier is cut short due to the road closure, not to worry... the other jewel in the "crown of the continent" is Flathead Lake, which is a short drive to the south. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Glacier & Flathead Fires

They say "it ain't over till it's over", and I'll not dispute that, but it appears the main fires that were affecting Glacier National Park area and Flathead Lake are at least under control. Yes, I know that a change in the weather and other variables can whip these fires into a new and even greater threat, but being the optimist that I am, I think (hope) we may be seeing the 2007 fire season wind down.

This is a photo of Hidden Lake about three weeks ago, prior to the rash of fires that erupted in our area. Below is a photo taken from the same observation point just last week when the fires were most active. Visibility was very poor.

A little rain, cooler temps, and higher humidity has finally helped the firefighters get control of some major fires. As of today, the Brush Creek Fire (west of Glacier) is now 90% contained and Skyland Fire (east of Glacier) is 51% contained. These are two of the main fires whose smoke was affecting Glacier National Park.

If you want to get the latest information on these fires, visit the InciWeb website.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wildlife in their habitat

On any given day, unique wildlife experiences can be had anywhere in Glacier National Park. On the other hand, you could miss seeing any of the more “exotic” creatures like Bears, Mountain Goats or Big Horn Sheep just by virtue of bad timing. The problem is they will usually see you coming before you see them and most critters will avoid making your acquaintance.

One way to be sure of seeing some creatures that are not afraid to show themselves is to park your car at the Logan Pass lot and head up the hill for the Hidden Lake hike. This is a pleasant hike where 90% of it is “paved” with a well-maintained boardwalk.

You can almost always count on seeing plenty of Big Horn Sheep and mountain goats are everywhere. The goats have no fear of people and will walk past you or share the view from the overlook as pictured above with a mama and her kid.

These pictures were taken just two weeks ago in the Hidden Lake trail. Note that as hot as it has been (July set a record as the hottest Montana July on record), there is still snow & ice in many parts of the park.
We are heading back to Glacier later this week and hope to have some great pictures and wonderful tales to share with you in my next post. Until then, stay safe and enjoy life!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


In my last posting I sounded like a restaurant critic (which I am not) and today I may sound like a Park Ranger (which I also am not). If you are in our beautiful area right now, you need do nothing but look out he window to know that there is a forest fire burning somewhere nearby.

Unfortunately, it does not mater where in the valley you are because we have a number of fires burning in different areas. Today I learned of a valuable online resource, which I was not aware of; Inciweb.org posts information on incidents nation-wide. Our family lives in the "West Valley" area and we are concerned about a fire that is raging to the north of us (Tally Lake area). The Brush Creek Fire, located about 29 air miles west of Whitefish, MT, is now estimated at over 4,300 acres.

The wind shifted overnight and thick smoke has come crawling down our draw and it is actually making it difficult to breathe and see. There is a mountain range in front of our home that is almost completely invisible this morning. According to Inciweb.com, there are 114,264 acres burning in Montana right this very minute in 12 "active incidents".

Last Saturday during a visit to Glacier National Park, we drove by the Skyland fire raging on he east side of U.S. 2, which has been closed a couple of times since then. Highway 2 is open to 2 way unescorted traffic with a speed restriction in the area of the fire. Travelers also can expect short stoppages on Marias Pass while helicopters are flying over the highway when dipping from a water tank.

One of the (few) downsides to living in such a beautiful place as NW Montana is the annual threat of wildfires. Unfortunately, they are inevitable and it can be argued that they are beneficial to balancing the ecosystem, but it is one of those things where the theory of any benefit is outweighed by the proximity of he fire.

There is no need to panic or even change your travel plans if you are planing to come to this area for a visit. Wildfires happen and are part of life here in Montana. Most important is the fact that the best firefighters in America are battling these blazes and we are in good hands. A mention of these brave men and women in your prayers just might be the thing that tips the scales a little quicker.

Oh and BTW, there's a campfire ban in effect so if you are planning to camp at one of the many campsites here, check with the locals to see what restrictions are in place.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sitting Duck Saloon...

What happened?

On the east shore of Flathead Lake in Woods Bay is a little tavern called the "Sitting Duck Saloon". It is the Montana version of the "neighborhood bar"... small, cozy, friendly, great food and the bartender and waitresses treat you like family. One huge advantage of the Duck is its dock that will accommodate a bunch of thirsty boaters. While you are out on the lake, you can turn into Woods Bay, tie-up at the Sitting Duck and have a great Montana experience. Well... it used to be like that, but of late, the Sitting Duck - just plain sucks.

Now THAT was hard for me to say.

My wife and I have been boating over to the Duck for years. It was always a wonderful afternoon on the lake to put-in at Somers Bay and cruise down the shore and hang a left over to Woods Bay. We'd tie up at the dock, order a frozen margarita and sit outside on their multi-level deck overlooking Flathead Lake. The food was outstanding for a small restaurant; our favorite meals were the fish & chips or the prime rib on weekends. Inside, the Duck is outfitted like a hunting lodge with moose, caribou and a mountain lion hanging on the walls, a roaring fireplace (in season) – the Duck just oozes ambiance.

Quite honestly, boating over to the Sitting Duck was one of our most cherished summer routines, which we tried to do a few times every week. Sometime last year, it all began to unravel. The Duck was sold, and it appeared that the new owner was going to make a bunch of changes. Some of these "improvements" were good like a new dock addition, new TV monitors placed around the bar, and some not so good - like price increases on the menu and for drinks. But hey... that's progress, right?

I don't know the whole story behind the sequence of sad events, but the Duck began to have serious problems. First the restaurant was abruptly closed (I heard it was shut down by the food police, but I do not know if that is true), then it seemed that the staff was changing weekly. No longer having a restaurant, someone had the idea to sell hot dogs and bratwurst cooked on a grill out on the deck.

I must tell you about yesterday and (what will probably be) our LAST visit to the Duck. Until we hear that something has drastically changed, we'll not be tying up at the Duck's dock (say that fast 10 times) again any time soon.

We found an open slip around 4:00 PM and walked up to the deck to order a couple of hot dogs. "SIX DOLLARS", I complained to the teenage-looking cook, "for a hot dog"? "You do get a bag of chips with that", he countered. Ah, well that makes it a bargain, I thought, and ordered $12.00 worth of hot dogs (for those of you who play the lottery regularly, that's $12.00 for 2 hot dogs).

Without boring you with the entire sequence of blood-pressure-building events, here's the short version... The bartender (another new one) had no personality, no smiles for paying patrons and he mumbled responses such as "the margarita machine's been broke for a long time". The $6.00 hot dogs right off the grill were cold - as in not cooked and condiments came in a plastic squeeze pouch. I had to hunt down the teenage-looking chef (who was smoking at the bar) to beg for mustard and it seemed like it took ages for him to loot through the kitchen before rewarding me with 2 additional squeeze packets of yellow mustard. The bathrooms were dirty... according to my wife; there was no paper in the ladies room.

Hey, I am NOT a restaurant critic and such comments are actually outside the purpose of this blog. However, watching one of the best establishments on Flathead Lake literally melt down in one season is truly a sad event. The Duck was one of our favorite haunts all year round. The restaurant used to close for a few weeks in winter so the staff could take vacation and we always drove down for a great meal when they reopened. Anytime we have out-of-town visitors, the Duck was always one of the places we took them.

This blog is about NW Montana's Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake and all the wonderful things to see and experience when you visit. The Sitting Duck used to be one of those places we liked to recommend, and I have done just that in this blog and on our website. Unfortunately, the Duck has been deleted from my to-do list. Hey, if all you want is cold beer, cozy decor and a great view of Flathead Lake... do the Sitting Duck. That's about all it has going for it these days.

BTW, I do not know the owners - they may be wonderful people, I have no axe to grind and mean no one harm. I guess I'm just so disappointed about the Duck's demise - and getting burned with cold hot dogs... I just had to tell somebody. If you hear that the Duck’s been sold again, or something has changed, please leave us a comment. I miss the Sitting Duck already.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Glacier Park - New Fire Alert

Baby mountain goat above Hidden Lake

Old friends from out of state visited yesterday, and of course, it was my duty to introduce them to the splendor of Glacier National Park. They received the royal treatment. We drove Going-To-The-Sun Road from the park's west entrance to Logan Pass where we hiked the beautiful Hidden Lake trail.

I am still sorting through a remarkable collection of photos from our visit, and will post some here in the next day of two. I'd love to share them with you now, but my bride and I are about to tow our boat south for a day on Flathead Lake. Summers are short here in the Flathead and with upper 90's temps forecasted for today, we don't want to miss this opportunity. More to follow...

One word of caution regarding Glacier Park travel. There is a fire raging on the east side of the park. Official have already evacuated a lodge and closed a stretch of U.S. 2. The Skyland fire was burning about 400 acres early yesterday, but we learned that approx. 1,000 acres was estimated after the fire blew up in the afternoon due to high winds and our dry weather.

This is a picture of the fire we saw from U.S. 2 prior to the road being closed. I'm sharing this with you in the event you have plans to visit Glacier in the next few days. Either enter Glacier from the west entrance or call the park to make sure U.S. 2 on the east is open.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

iPod Tour Guide?

I just discovered the coolest thing...

There is a company called TourCaster, that is offering tours of cities and National Parks by way of a download for your iPod. I'm sharing this with you because one of their downloads is for Glacier National Park.

Whether you are driving Going-to-the-Sun Road or hiking, TourCaster can be your private guide! Their audio tour blends unique stories and experiences of Park Rangers and the Chief of the Blackfeet Nation with music and nature sounds, offering the most informative guide available. This is really a cool service where you will hear how the park's jagged peaks, sheer cliff walls and its lovely glacial lakes were formed.

Tourcaster is a service that provides downloadable audio tours for your iPod or MP3 player. Each downloaded audio tour comes with multiple mp3 files and a map. The audio tour is as entertaining as it is educational. 65 minutes in length.

Using this service, you can download to an MP3 player, or burn a CD to play in your car. If you're planning a trip through Glacier, check out this tour. Learn more...

PS: TourCaster offers this service for cities and attractions around the globe, so if you're planning a trip to Amsterdam or Yellowstone - or anywhere in between, this is a cool service!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Flathead Cherries

They're baaaaaack!

The Flathead Valley is known for many exceptional things. There is of course, our world-class Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park, local wines, huckleberry products and of course, our famous Flathead cherries.

In a matter of days, the first batch of these cherries will be seen along the road being sold by residents and growers from their temporary fruit stands. Don't even think about passing one of these stands without buying all you can carry.

The president of the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers, Mr. Dale Nelson, says that growers are looking at three to four million pounds of cherries this season. Considering that we average 2.7 to 3 million pounds in a typical season, this is great news. Especially after a severe wind storm we experienced in June, there was some concern as to what impact that might have on this year's crop. The cherry harvest is expected to start next week.

My bride always comes up with new and tasty dishes and even some outstanding "adult beverages" she's made from cherries and vodka or brandy. Whether you want the best tasting cherry pie you've ever experienced, can preserves - or just eat 'em as God created them, Flathead cherries are another extraordinary feature of the Flathead Valley experience.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Going-to-the-Sun Road is OPEN!

They're finished plowing!

Today's the day! Going-to-the-Sun Road is officially open to vehicles today, July 1st. All 52 miles of this scenic highway is open. You can reach Logan Pass from the east (St Mary) or from the Highway 2 west entrance to the park.

Be aware that you may experience some delays as the road repairs resulting from last November's storm will not be finished for a while. With this in mind, why don't you consider letting someone else drive while you get to enjoy the scenery?

Also new today is Glacier Park's new free shuttle service. The new shuttle will provide two-way service along Going-to-the-Sun Road between Apgar and St. Mary Visitor Center. This is not a tour, although tour services are still available, the shuttle is a travel option and it is free. Park the car, grab your camera and let someone else watch the road. Get all the FAQ's about the free shuttle here.

Read more about:

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Montana Facts & Trivia

In my previous post, I offered some well-known (and some little known) facts about the state of Montana. There are few places on this planet that offer more to do, see and experience - and does it in such a wonderful way. Today I'll share some more MT minutiae that will cause you to appreciate America's treasure.

Whether you want to experience a world-class rodeo or ride white-water rapids, you can do it all in Montana. They call it "Big Sky Country", but not everything in Montana is big. Were you aware that we hold the title of the world's shortest river? Yup, the Roe River's (near Great Falls) length varies from 58 to 200 feet. The source for this small river is Giant Springs, the largest freshwater spring in the United States. And another thing, did you know...

Speaking of natural water, Montana's rivers and streams provide water for three oceans and three of the North American continent's major river basins.

Montana is the only state with a triple divide allowing water to flow into the Pacific, Atlantic, and Hudson Bay. This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park has 250 lakes within its boundaries.

The Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in America.

Only one North American gemstone is included in the Crown Jewels of England and that is the Montana Yogo sapphire.

The highest point in the state is Granite Peak at 12,799 feet.

Montana's official animal is the grizzly bear.

The state motto "Oro y Plata" means gold and silver.

The name "Montana" comes from the Spanish word mountain.

The state flower is the Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva).

The state tree is the mighty Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).

State bird is the Western Meadowlark.

No you know why they call Montana the "Treasure State". Discovering everything that Montana has to offer could take a lifetime. From dinosaur digs to sky diving, you'll have a fantastic visit... I promise!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Travel Montana - Get the facts!

Summer is a busy time for millions of tourists who flock Montana to see our magnificent scenery and experience things one can only dream about in most parts of the country. If you are planning to vacation here, you are already aware of many of the things that make Montana such a unique destination, but...

I'll bet there are a few more interesting things about our beautiful state that you didn't know. As an example, did you know that geographically speaking, Montana is the USA's fourth-largest state, while our population is fourth-smallest? The 2005 resident population estimate was 935,670.

Oh sure, we have Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake that I write about every week, but here's some more facts about our state that you may not know:

  • In 1888 Helena (state capitol) had more millionaires per capital than any other city in the world.
  • 46 out of Montana's 56 counties are considered "frontier counties" with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile.
  • An average square mile of land contains 1.4 elk, 1.4 pronghorn antelope, and 3.3 deer.
  • No state has as many different species of mammals as Montana.
  • Montana has the largest migratory elk herd in the USA.
  • Elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber the humans.
  • Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48.
  • Moose, numbering over 8,000 today, was thought to be extinct in the Rockies south of Canada in the 1900s.
  • Miles City is known as the Cowboy Capitol.
  • Virginia City, established in 1863, is considered to be the most complete original town of its kind in the United States.
  • The Old West can be rediscovered at the Charles M. Russell Museum Complex in Great Falls.
  • George Armstrong Custer and his troops made their last stand at Little Bighorn.
  • Montana is home to seven Indian reservations.
  • Montana only has one Area Code
  • Montana holds the world record for the greatest temperature change in 24 hours. In just a day's time the temperature rose a whopping 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

Come back tomorrow for part II of this posting. I'll bet there's a few more things about this Big Sky Country that you don't know!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Man injured by grizzly

I know they look cute...

This video was filmed last week in my neighbor's back yard. A cute little black bear just begging for someone to come closer and pet it or give it food.

WRONG! They are bears... wild animals who can feed on YOU! Just this week another poor soul wandered too close to a grizzly and her cubs and was mauled. In Grand Teton National Park, a grizzly bear attacked a man today, causing moderate injuries, after the man apparently surprised a female bear and three cubs feeding on an elk carcass. Read the story here...

The message my friend is "don't get close to the bears"! They are magnificent, beautiful creatures, but they see you as food or a threat - not a friend who can pet or feed them. While you hike Glacier National Park's trails, remain aware - and if you do see a bear, give them a wide berth.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Flathead Beacon?

There are no lighthouses on Flathead Lake, but there is a "Flathead Beacon".

A new online & offline publication is available to Western Montana's greater Flathead Valley. According to their mission statement, "The Flathead Beacon is devoted to delivering thought-provoking news and commentary to the greater Flathead Valley. Printed every week in tabloid form and updated daily at flatheadbeacon.com, the Beacon encourages its readers to participate in discussions about their valley".

The Beacon was delivered to our home last month, which was how I first heard about it. Then this morning, I received a Google alert regarding a story about "Fishing Without Barriers Day", and the source was the Beacon.

Now that I had a link to their online offering, I spent some time visiting their site. I loved it! They do a splendid job of keeping up with what's going on in the Flathead and provide a quick reference for entertainment and things to do, along with light and interesting commentary. The seem to do a good job of following local news and stories of interest to citizens. I recommend you pay the Beacon a visit and add them to your Favorites - you'll probably find them a good source for what's happening in our beautiful valley.

Also, they encourage the community to get involved and comment on stories and add your 2-cents where you feel its needed. Visit the Flathead Beacon here...

Ponder this aside....
Why do we say "put your two cents in"?

But it's only a "penny for our thoughts"?
.....Where's that extra penny going to?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Boating on Flathead Lake

Won't you join us...

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day to experience Flathead Lake the BEST way... by boat. Readers of this blog know that I believe that Flathead Lake is probably the finest lake in America (and yes, I am partial). For any of you who might doubt that claim, I invite you to climb aboard our boat and join us for a day on the lake.

It was a magnificent day. The weather was perfect, the water was calm and the scenery breathtaking. Blue skies, puffy white clouds and snow still clinging to some of the peaks made for a photographer's delight. I am not a professional photographer and our movie was shot from a moving boat - AND we didn't do but one take as we cruised from Somers Bay to Woods Bay on the eastern shore. So if you find fault with some of the jerky film.... at least the price of admission was fair.

I made a few feeble attempts at fishing, but was not rewarded for my efforts. When the depth monitor & fish finder showed some activity, I dropped a line and hoped that a hungry fish would take my lure, but it was not to be. Fishing on Flathead usually requires more attention than I was willing to devote Sunday.

Read more about our weekend excursion on Flathead Lake...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We borrow Glacier Park from our children...

Montana has many names. Our most famous nickname is "The Treasure State". You will hear Montana called, "Big Sky Country," "Land of Shining Mountains," "The Mountain State," and "Bonanza State."

Upon seeing Glacier National Park for the first time (or hundredth time), most people will remark about its supreme beauty, the majestic mountains, beautiful streams, wildlife, etc. and comment that they feel different - Glacier casts a spell on you.

I was doing some Montana research online this past weekend and as most projects go, I was led down many trails and diverted from my original mission. However, one click took me to a website that had a collection of Indian sayings and prayers. I thought of Glacier Park as I read the quotes and the most meaningful I share below...

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.

Ancient Indian Proverb

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

Chief Seattle, 1854

And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell, and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of things in the spirit,and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

Cree Prophecy

I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, But rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.

Sun Bear of the Chippewa Tribe

Glacier National Park has been revered by the Plains Indians for eons. Human activity in the Glacier Park area dates back 10,000 years; ancestors of the Blackfeet, Salish and Kootenai Tribes.This year millions of tourists will make a pilgrimage to visit Montana. If you are one of those lucky souls, remember the words of those Indians that came before us...

"We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day means different things to everyone. For some it is merely the official kick-off of the summer season, while to others it is a solemn day of remembrance. Back in 1982 on this day, the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC was officially dedicated. As a Vietnam Veteran, I was very pleased and proud to see my fallen brethren finally honored. That was a difficult war for America and seeing that memorial for the first time gave me comfort that I had not felt since returning in 1973.

Memorial Day is a time to give thanks for the brave men and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom. They died so that you and I could live our American Dream. The History Channel has a great video about how Memorial Day evolved. I recommend you take a few minutes and watch this Memorial Day video... and remember.

If today finds you beginning your vacation at Glacier National Park or Flathead Lake... welcome to Montana, we're glad you came to visit. Take a moment today to give thanks for all the men and women who gave their lives so that you and I could enjoy this day in a free America.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Camping Suggestions

If you are planning to camp during your visit to Glacier National Park, your first choice is probably to stay inside the park. However, spots get reserved early and sometimes getting a campsite where you want to camp is a problem. Click here to see Glacier National Park Campground Status - updated regularly.

Experienced RV'ers know that KOA is usually a good place to park the rig and their website stays up to date with vacancies and local information. So if the park's campsites are not available during your visit there are still many other options available to you. Another great website to check out is the Campground Owners Association of Montana (COAM). Each RV park or campground listed has a long history of great customer service and knowledge about the area of Montana.

If you are looking for camping facilities or motel accommodations near Flathead Lake, see these suggestions.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Think wine? Think Flathead...

Flathead for wine?

When you visit Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, you may want to plan some time to stop by the Mission Mountain Winery on Flathead Lake if you are a wine lover.

The American Wine Society recently awarded Montana’s Mission Mountain Winery a Gold Medal for their 2004 Merlot Reserve. The Merlot was selected for this prestigious award from field of over a thousand wines from around the world. Wow, this is BIG news for our sleepy little community!

Oh and BTW, Monster Red is the Flathead Lake Monster’s favorite red wine. If you haven't heard about the Flathead Lake Monster, better see this!

Glacier update...

Most roads are now open in Glacier National Park. Although they are still plowing towards Logan Pass, almost all other roads are open to vehicles or at least hikers and bicyclists.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Glacier Park

Today is Glacier Park's birthday... on this day (May 11th.) in 1910, Glacier National Park was formally established by the U.S. Congress. It was just a few days ago when we recognized that Glacier National Park and Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta formed the world's first International Peace Park (see post).

No one has yet informed me if we're having a party or handing out birthday cake, or doing anything to celebrate this occasion, but being reminded of this is a good thing. It is nice to be reminded that people long gone recognized that this was a special place and needed to be preserved for future generations. It is hard to think of many things our government does today that look that far into the future.

In a time when companies are judged by their quarterly performance and governments seldom look past this year's budget, it is refreshing to remember that forward thinking people - thought about us. Were it not for such decisions, Glacier National Park might be an exclusive gated community today available only to the wealthy. Instead, it belongs to me - to you - and every American citizen.

Okay, that almost came close to being a political rant, and that is not the purpose of this blog. This blog celebrates NW Montana's most cherished prizes, Glacier National Park and the beautiful and pristine Flathead Lake.

Come visit us and see what our forefathers protected for you!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Flathead Lake Cherry Festival

If you want to experience a fun time for the whole family in the Flathead Valley this weekend, pack up the car (boat optional), and head to Flathead Lake for the cherry festival!

This weekend, the Flathead Lake cherry orchards should be in full bloom as the trees have blossomed a week earlier than typical. Most orchards on the south shore of the lake have been in bloom for about a week, but the northern orchards near Yellow bay will show an explosion of the white blossoms this weekend.

The annual cherry festival, which began in the 1940s, will be held at Yellow Bay on Saturday, May 12th. starting at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Yellow Bay Community Hall. Food and a bake sale, raffles and various vendors and music music will all be part of this fun festival. Proceeds will help maintain the hall Yellow Bay hall.

Officials say that growing conditions for Flathead cherries this year are optimal and if continue, the Flathead should have a bumper crop this season. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Make it a Flathead Lake weekend!

Get the jump on tourist season

Fish, Wildlife and Parks of Montana maintains 50 state parks throughout Montana. Most are open year-round unless snow blocks their access. The traditional opening day for eight of these state parks in the mountains of western Montana is May 1st.

There is no charge for Montana residents to enter a state park. All you need is a Montana license plate, but a $4 car licensing surcharge is voluntary. For nonresidents, there is a $5 per vehicle charge for day use. $15 per night to camp is the same for locals or out of state visitors. The parks that are open now include:
  • Beavertail Hill, off I-90 east of Missoula
  • Granite Ghost Town near Philipsburg
  • Lost Creek near Anaconda
  • Placid Lake, south of Seeley Lake
  • Salmon Lake, south of Seeley Lake
  • Finley Point, east shore of Flathead Lake
  • Thompson Falls
  • Lake Mary Ronan, 7 miles west of Flathead Lake will open May 31st.

Glacier National Park update... Snow is being plowed and good progress is being made repairing the Going-To-The-Sun road from the flood damage received in last year's late fall storms. Subscribe to this blog to get updates and news about Glacier Park.

PS: To see our local weather and forecast, bookmark this page for AccuWeather for the Flathead Valley.

Glacier Park Anniversary?

...and maybe something else you didn't know!

Actually, this is a belated anniversary wish as it was 75 years ago (yesterday May 2nd.) that Glacier National Park and Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta were joined together to form the world's first International Peace Park.

Glacier Park was first created by earth's geologic upheavals about 17 million years ago and it took until 1910 for President Taft to establish Glacier as the country's 10th national park (what took them so long?). Evidence of human activity in the park dates back over 10,000 years; possibly ancestors of tribes that still inhabit the area today. Blackfeet Indians roamed the prairies east of the mountains. The Salish and Kootenai Indians lived and hunted in valleys to the west and east of the mountains to hunt buffalo.

More recently, Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed in 1932. The road is considered an engineering achievement taking 11 years to complete, and is a National Historic Landmark. It is one of the most scenic roads in the USA and one of the main reasons people flock to Glacier National Park every year. Glacier and Waterton Lakes have been designated as Biosphere Reserves and were recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1995.

If you are planning a trip to Glacier Park this summer, you may have missed the anniversary celebration, but you won't miss having the time of your life and a rewarding nature experience. There really is nothing quite like NW Montana when it comes to things to do and places to see on vacation. Experiencing Glacier National Park and points of interest like Flathead Lake will remain forever in your memory as the trip of a lifetime.

I promise!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bears no more

A hundred years ago, way back in the 70's, the National Lampoon magazine ran a spoof about the "Last Whole Earth Catalog", a hippie bible for living off the earth. The pun was that the Whole Earth Catalog was issuing its last edition. Then another last edition and so on... The Ntl. Lampoon called their piece the "Last, no S%$# Really, the Last Edition of the Whole Earth Catalog". I guess you have to be familiar with that to fully appreciate it, but I was reminded of that with today's post.

My last two posts were about bears - you'd think I was trying to scare people away from visiting Glacier National Park with all these bear stories. I promised myself that I would move on to other interesting topics and leave the bears alone. Then today I see a story about a man and his daughter who ran into a grizzly last year while hiking in the park. This was headline news around here and remains a remarkable survival story, as this fellow was severely mauled by a grizzly.

What I stumbled upon today was a follow-up slide show with audio narration released by the Los Angeles Times. This is a remarkable 'must see" story and I encourage you to spend a few minutes looking & listening to this amazing narration. Go here for the grizzly story follow-up...

Hopefully, this will be my "Last, no S%$# Really, my Last Story about Glacier Park Bears". Well at least until a new bear story comes to light :-)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bears... (update)

Yesterday I talked about bears being active now that their hibernation season has passed. In this area of the country, one must always be "bear aware", whether hiking in Glacier Park - or behind one's home. Just today I found a story of an Idaho man who was mauled by a grizzly in his back yard, just feet from his home.

It appears that the carcass of a moose was just out of eyesight and a grizzly was making a meal of the carrion. When this fellow went outside to get his Great Pyrenees dog, the grizzly was chasing the dog and turned on the man. He was badly mauled and bitten, but was able to reach his home and get medical attention. You can read the whole bear attack story here...

We hear of such stories every year and most of us always think "that can't happen to me". Well, it CAN and taking extra precautions in bear country is something that we just have to do. So when you take off down a path in Glacier National Park, stay alert for bear signs and treat every blind turn as if a mama and her cubs were standing there waiting for you. Make noise, let her know you're coming. Carry pepper spray and know how to use it.

My purpose in relating these bear stories is not to scare anyone or make you rethink your trip to Glacier. Quite the opposite... I want you to experience this marvelous place and remain safe while you're here. Millions of people visit every year and most never even see a grizzly, let alone have a bad encounter. So like the Boy Scout's motto says, "Be Prepared".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bears... They're b-a-a-a-a-c-k!

Around these parts, bears are plentiful. In fact, NW Montana has the highest population of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. And now they have awakened from their winter slumber, and are on the prowl because they are hungry - very hungry. I has been my experience that bears only bother people when they are grumpy. Unfortunately, they are always grumpy.

They're beautiful creatures to see in the wild, but the are NOT cuddly and cute. Bears awe wild, dangerous, unpredictable creatures and common sense says that you give them a wide berth.

My family lives "out", about 10 miles from Kalispell, Montana. We have many homes, farms and ranches all around us, but we also get visits from bears quite frequently. They are such a problem that for seven months of the year, I have to keep my trash cans behind a bear-proof electric fence.

Just today, two stories hit the wire that illustrate what a problem bears can cause in our area.

Grizzly bear captured after livestock attack

A 425-pound grizzly bear, captured Sunday by a Blackfeet wildlife crew after attacking livestock near Kiowa, was released without incident in Glacier National Park near Polebridge on Monday, park officials said.
This was the 6-year-old bear's first capture and first known offense, officials said. Both grizzly and black bears have been sighted this spring, and officials are reminding visitors... see rest of story

Train kills two bears north of Whitefish

KALISPELL — A train struck and killed two young male grizzly bears about a mile north of Whitefish, state wildlife officials said Tuesday. The collision occurred early Monday along Whitefish Lake, said Tim Manley, a bear-management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.... see rest of story

The point of this post is to remind you to be bear aware. When you visit this beautiful area, remember to keep a clean camp. Glacier National Park regulations require that all edibles, including pet food, food containers and cookware, be stored inside hard-sided vehicles or in food lockers. Garbage should be placed in bear-resistant containers. A little awareness and preparation will ensure that your visit is a memorable one.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Only a few days left to get "Lucky"

"Lucky" is the name of the Mackinaw Lake Trout worth $35,000 to a lucky angler if they catch him. Although other tagged fish are worth $100 and $500, even the freebies are fun to catch.

If you are new to this blog, I'm talking about the annual "Mac Days" fishing tournament now in progress at Flathead Lake. The lake's trout population numbers in the hundreds of thousands and they are not native to Montana waters. The purpose of this semi-annual tournament is to help reduce the Mac population. The emphasis is on catching huge numbers of fish.

For all the rules and to read up on who is catching what and where, visit the Mac Days website. Mac Days is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Good luck to all you fishermen on this last weekend. Save some for me!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Work at Glacier National Park?

Are you kidding me?

I don't usually post PSA's (public service announcements), but if you or possibly your children are looking for something to do this summer... tell ya what I'd do... If I was a young man on summer break with no family or heavy obligations, I'd spend a summer working at Glacier National Park.

What a hoot that must be. Man, what I would have given to have known about such an opportunity when I was a young fella. Living and working at the park (IMHO) would have to be second only to being a park ranger.

Anyway, I received an email alert today about "Glacier Park, Inc. Properties" now hiring people for the summer season and that's what prompted this post. Maybe I'll reach a young person who would just love to spend their summer making a few bucks and living in Paradise.

If you're interested, or know someone who might be, visit their website at http://www.gpihr.com/ and complete a short online application. An application may also be requested by calling 406-892-6719.

I don't know the people doing the hiring and have no affiliation with the company. I just happened to see the message about them hiring and thought how much I would have loved such an experience. So there, they got some free publicity, but more importantly, maybe this will catch the eye of a young person who is looking for a unique experience this summer!

Maybe when I retire.....

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Glacier Park in the spring

Spring is my favorite season for visiting Glacier National Park because on the right day one can have the ultimate experience. What I'm about to describe is best experienced a few weeks down the road when more of Going-to-the-Sun Road has been opened for vehicles.

Picture a bright sunny day with a Montana blue sky and puffy white clouds. You gaze in any direction seeing beautiful snow covered mountains, but you are distracted by an unearthly roar. Looking below you see a raging crystal clear river swollen by the melting snow pack, racing its way down a path that was cut into the rock eons ago. As the river charges toward Flathead Lake, along the banks, you see beautiful wildflowers blooming in a sea of magnificent colors. This is no dream of heaven, this is Glacier Park in the spring.

Many of the most spectacular photographs you will see of Glacier National Park are captured during this time of year. This is when it all comes together. Although most of the park services including campgrounds are still closed, this time of year provides the ultimate Glacier viewing experience. This is also time for the grizzlies and black bears to leave their dens and because they are ravenously hungry, they are on the move and can be seen in more places.

Plowing Going-to-the-Sun Road begins any day now and the road is usually opened for vehicle traffic in late May or early June. It is too early to predict this year's opening, but I will update this blog and our website as soon as I learn more. Currently about 12 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel. You can drive 11 miles from the west entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge, and 1 mile from the (east) St. Mary entrance to St. Mary Lake. The rest of the road is closed due to the weather. However, if you are up for a hike, or want to cross-country ski you can travel beyond the closed gates.

Whatever you do... if you visit Glacier National Park in the spring - don't forget to pack a LOT of extra film!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Montana Sucks!

Are you kidding me?

Well yes, but I must tell you a funny story. My bride and I fell in love with Montana the first time we crossed the state line. Granted, eastern Montana is not as striking as the western part of the state with the mountains, dramatic landscapes, Glacier Park, Flathead Lake, etc., but as a whole, this is one beautiful state. Maybe that's why it is called "The Treasure State"... but I digress.

Soon after my bride and I moved to Montana we were out at a local restaurant and a young fellow walked into the restaurant wearing a tee shirt with the words "Montana Sucks" emblazed across his chest. We were appalled that someone actually felt that way about Montana, and that they would advertise such feelings on a tee shirt. However, as we were leaving, I got another view of that shirt and written under the bold headline were the words, "Now go home and tell all your friends".

I couldn't help laughing at the clever statement. We had been here long enough to know that if most Montanans had their druthers, they'd rather that things stayed the same and fewer tourists would choose this as a destination. For a state that gets a large portion of their revenue from tourism, this is a conflicting sentiment, but an honest one to be sure.

As it happened, I loved the tee shirt's slogan. It was the kind of thing that offers both a shock from the headline and then a smile from the caption. I just had to get me one of those. After doing a thorough Google search for such a tee shirt, I discovered that no one was selling such an item online, there were no copyright or trademarks associated with that phrase (yet). I had a brainstorm!

You can probably guess what happened next. Being a closet geek possessing an acceptable sense of humor, I created a website and partnered with an online printing company to create some tee shirts, ball caps, bumper stickers and other items I thought might be of interest to people of a similar mind. The Montana Sucks website was born.

I was not delusional about this little venture and did not expect that this tee shirt site would make me a wealthy man. In fact, I really didn't do anything to promote it except link it from a couple other related websites, but as a result, I did get that tee shirt I wanted. Over time, my website sold a few shirts and bumper stickers, but I was surprised how many people wrote to tell me how funny they thought my "tongue-in-cheek" website was and that it was probably doing more to generate awareness for Montana than what the state's tourist bureau was doing. I doubt that, but always enjoy hearing form people who got a chuckle from my site.

Two things happened this year that substantially increased the traffic on that site and caused me to sell a bunch of shirts and bumper stickers. A reporter from the local Hungry Horse News stumbled upon my site and wrote a story about it this past winter. You can read Cristal Jones' article here...

Then a few weeks ago an AP reporter researching a story about Californians moving to other parts of the country, found my site and interviewed me. The mention of my website in her story was a mere couple of sentences, but the article was syndicated and picked up by almost every newspaper and online news service in the country. USA Today, MSN, Google and newspapers from the Boston Globe to the Kalispell Interlake were running "my" story. See Angie Wagner's (AP) story here...

Wow!... the story hit the wire yesterday and the fallout I received would make you think this was breaking headline news. I received so many emails it took me until late last night to respond to most of them and I'm not finished yet. In addition, I sold more tee shirts and bumper stickers yesterday than I did since I launched that comical website. My 15 minutes of fame lasted all day! In fact, I'm now stretching that 15 minutes to day two... as I've already had more visitors this morning than I see in a typical month and its not yet 7:00 AM.

If you have ever visited Montana, or live here, you know how ludicrous such a statement is... "Montana Sucks". Montana is the jewel of the lower 48, boasting scenery and natural beauty that one never tires of. I brag to my friends in other states that I experience more beauty taking out my trash than most will see on a typical vacation. So yes friends, Montana does suck... now go home and tell all your friends.

Oh and BTW, you just must get yourself a tee shirt and a bumper sticker - help us spread the word! Visit my sleepy little website, Montana Sucks.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Calling all fishermen!

In the event you just awoke from a comma, you must know that the first BIG event of spring is underway now. Mac Days is sponsored by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, we told you it was coming in an earlier posting here.

The good news is that $35,000 is still up for grabs! That specially tagged Lake Trout is still eluding fishermen. According to their website, tag number “985161000031890” is worth $35,000 if it is the first tag caught and checked into the contest. Get all the rules here...

A new local blog for following what's happening and finding out who is catching what, click on over to Mo Fisch's Fishing Report.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

To our Irish friends...

As a fitting tribute to our Irish friends on this Saint Patrick's Day, a few of my favorite Irish Blessings.

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

May the grass grow long on the road to hell for want of use.

May your day be filled with blessings
Like the sun that lights the sky,
And may you always have the courage
To spread your wings and fly!

Here's to a long life and a merry one;
A quick death and an easy one;
A pretty girl and an honest one;
A cold beer -- and another one!

May you live forever
And may the last words you hear be mine!

May you be buried in a casket made from the wood of a 100 year old oak...
That I shall plant tomorrow.

May you live to be a hundred
And may I live to sing at your wake!

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

Our friends the Irish are indeed a colorful lot, and today is a special day to honor Saint Paddy and Irishmen everywhere. Enjoy and have a fun and safe Saint Patrick's Day.

Oh and BTW, best of luck to all the anglers on Flathead Lake this fine day who are competing in the "Mac Days" fishing tournament. May you all hook that Mackinaw trout that is tagged with a $35,000 prize!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring is in the air

A couple of things today...

Spring hasn't quite sprung yet, but it sure seems that old man winter is on the run. Less than a week ago, I still had 6"-10" of snow in the front of my home and 4' snow banks. In a matter of days, the temperature rose and steady rain has virtually eliminated all but a few stubborn snow banks. I have never seen so much snow disappear so quickly.

This warmer weather will be appreciated by the hoards of fishermen who will descend upon Flathead Lake this weekend for the opening of "Mac Days". If you remember a few posts ago I told you about this bi-annual fishing tournament, but this year the grand prize is a whopper! There is one Lake Trout swimming in Flathead Lake with a tag worth $35,000.00! Oh yeah, that's enough to convince my bride that she needs to take up fishing.

Lastly - for you parents of teenagers, with the weather warming up and thoughts of spring... that also means that every high school in the country will be holding a prom in a couple of months. Many of those schools (or PTA/PTOs) are planning an after prom party. If you have a prom-age teenager, or know the parents of one - do them a favor. Prom night is one of the most dangerous times in a teenager's life and holding an after-prom party is one thing we can do to save some kids' lives. My wife wrote a book on how to plan and stage a fun, safe after prom party... check it out and send the link to every parent of a teenager you know. It just might save a life.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Polebridge Iditarod Follow-up

The race is over, but it may take weeks to wipe the smiles off the faces of those who attended the 26th. Annual Root Beer Classic sled dog race in Polebridge, MT.

My daughter and I put the truck in 4-wheel drive and followed the North Fork Road to Polebridge last weekend to attend this wonderful event. We had a marvelous time watching the dogs, talking to the mushers and seeing the teams cross the finish line.

If you missed it, be sure to put this on your "must see" calendar for next year. This is a fun event and worth the trip. Read more...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sled Dog Race at Polebridge

Did you see the movie "Eight Below?

Would you be willing to brave Montana's harsh winter weather at high altitudes riding atop an open sled for 15 miles to win a bottle of root beer?

Drop whay you're doing this weekend. Dress warmly and head to Polebridge! Because the 26th. Annual Root Beer Classic sled dog race will be held this Sat. & Sun. (March 3rd. - 4th.). The race will begin and end at the Polebridge Mercantile, who offers fresh pastry & a whole lot of fun! If you are not familiar with the area, Polebridge is north of Columbia Falls abutting Glacier National Park.

Mushers and their sled dog teams will race a 15 mile trail along North Fork Road and Hay Creek. The race begins at 10:00 AM and the grand prize is.... yep, you guessed it, a bottle of root beer!

As "dog people", my wife and I attended our first Polebridge sled dog race last year and we had a blast. This was a really cool (no pun intended) event and will give you a flavor of Montana you may have never experienced. There will also be skijoring races, so if you have no idea what that means... better come out to Polebridge this weekend.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mac Days on Flathead Lake

Photo compliments of MacDays.com

2007 Spring Mack Days Ahead

You may be wondering, what is a "Mac" and why do they have days named for it? Mac is what the locals call Mackinaw trout. The Mac Days are part of a bi-annual fishing tournament is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks.

March 16th. - April 14th. - and over $22,000 in Cash & Prizes will be given away at the end of the event plus an added $35,000 tagged lake trout prize. That's over $57,000 in cash and prizes!

Get all the details and see the rules page for more information. Believe it or not, you can win nice prizes if you catch just one fish. Equally as exciting is that there will be no entry fees charged for 2007 Spring Mack Days, but you do need to complete an entry form. Do that before March 14th. you will qualify for the Early Bird Prize of $100.

If you aren't a fisherman now, this might be a good time to start!
Get all the details here.


What makes Glacier and the Flathead Valley so special? This is a question posed by The National Geographic Society to the residents of northwest Montana via a story on Missoulian.com.

I couldn't resist responding to this question with the following excerpt, "All one has to do is gaze upon Flathead Lake and the answer to what makes this area special needs no words." Readers of this blog or anyone who has visited Glacier National Park or Flathead Lake know that the same can be said for all of northwest Montana.

Mere words fail me when I am trying to describe the natural beauty of this awe-inspiring part of the country. I think that is because there is a "feeling" that emanates from here that one must experience in person to fully understand. Beautiful photos and flowery words just don't complete the experience.
Back to Geotourism, in a story on Missoulian.com, they wrote, "The society - so well known for its colorful glossy magazines and detailed maps - plans on taking the information it gleans from local residents to create a new mega-map for the 10 million-acre transboundary area that includes the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park."

The idea is to create a “MapGuide” and interactive Web site that will help launch something the society is calling geotourism throughout northern Montana, southwestern Alberta and southeastern British Columbia. What's geotourism?

According the society, it is “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place - its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.” Read the whole story here...

I thought this was a fitting follow-up to my previous post, "Getting lost in Montana". Also, along the same lines, see "The essence of Montana".

Friday, February 16, 2007

Get lost in Montana and...

Find yourself

"Until we lose ourselves, there is no hope of finding ourselves."
- Henry Miller

In this hustle-bustle high-tech world of ours, nothing helps us reconnect with ourselves better than revisiting nature. Leave your iPod, cell phone and worries in the car and take a trail into the woods. Discover wildlife, majestic trees, and flowing streams and rediscover - maybe for the first time - what the world is really about.

Meandering through Glacier National Park or floating aimlessly on Flathead Lake does this for me. Severing the ties to the rest of the world, abandoning technology and mindless roaming puts me in a place that has no adequate description - you must experience it for yourself. Like pictures in a magazine, no matter how beautiful, they do not compare with the experience of actually being there.

Okay, followers of this blog know that I am in love with NW Montana and specifically the two places for which this blog is named. If you have not yet visited this "Last Best Place", it needs to be on your list - high on your list. Few experiences in your life will equal the feelings you will experience the first time you glimpse Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake. No, I don't work for the tourist bureau... just thought I'd share the happiness, peace, tranquility and appreciation of nature that this "Treasure State" provides me.

Want to find yourself?

Lose yourself in Montana!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The essence of Montana

Polebridge Hey all, just a quick post today to point you toward an article that captures the feeling that Montana casts upon most who visit. I just stumbled upon a blog post that was most enjoyable and the author captured the essence of NW Montana in such a way that you must go read "Long Ago and Faraway The author begins by saying...

People who want to be philosophers or poets should come to Montana. The air, the water, the mountains, and the forests – at least one of these are bound to inspire reverence.
The rest of the post is equally eloquent and most enjoyable. If you want to hear about another person's appreciation of this beautiful part of the country, read this post. You will love hearing about the North Fork and Polebridge.

Oh and BTW, Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Global warming...

If you live in upstate New York where they are experiencing a winter storm that has dropped 100 inches of snow, you might feel like shipping that white stuff to Al Gore's global warming adherents. Likewise, here in NW Montana, Glacier National Park's Lake McDonald has frozen over for the first time in 10 years. Brrrrrrrr, where's the "warming"?

McDonald Lake's ice is not very thick and I wouldn't go walking across the 460+ depths. My wife and I have commented to each other that this winter has seemed cooler than in years past. We haven't received a great deal of snow, but I believe our snow pack is about average. However, we haven't had that many over 30 degree days that help to clear the roads of ice buildup. Also, it feels like the humidity this winter has been higher than average. My comments are not based on scientific facts as we have not been logging the temps and humidity readings - and I am no scientist. We just feel that this winter was different than the previous 4-5 winters.

I have no idea if global warming is a man-made phenomena or as some claim, just another cycle in the earth's heating and cooling. And that is NOT a debate I wish to entertain on these pages. I'd prefer to let qualified and competent scientists battle that one, and hopefully an educated decision will be reached and we can do what needs done to help solve the crisis - if there is one.

The older I get and the more I have witnessed politicians and big business make decisions and life-changing announcements, the more skeptical I have become. IMHO, one of the most profound quotes from a modern movie was Tom Cruise's comment in Jerry Maguire where he said... "follow the money". Before I choose a side on the global warming issue, I plan to follow the money and see who benefits most from the PR, hype and ultimate decisions that will inevitably cost you and me tax dollars and future inconveniences. I truly am neutral on this "problem" and I identify with both camps.

If our planet is truly threatened by manmade activity, I'll be the first in line to volunteer a helping hand. However, my lack of trust in those that tell me something is for my benefit supersedes my blind faith. In the meantime, I think I'll go cut a hole in the ice at Lake McDonald and go fishing.... before it warms up.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Whitefish Winter Carnival

Located to the west of Glacier National Park and north of Flathead Lake is the beautiful little town of Whitefish Montana. Whitefish is home to Big Mountain, one of the NW's best ski resorts (and best kept secrets - so don't tell anyone). Tourism is a huge part of the local economy and Whitefish caters to both tourists and locals who are devoted to all things Whitefish.

For the past 48 years, Whitefish has held a Winter Carnival and that event took place last weekend. This is always a great time with celebrations and events happening all over the area. Chainsaw carving ice sculptures, arts & crafts, a parade and a party happening at every saloon in Whitefish and on Big Mountain. If you're looking for some fun next winter, mark your calendar to attend the Whitefish Carnival.

My bride happens to be the Administrative Director for the NW Montana Humane Society and her group decided to walk some of their dogs in the Winter Carnival parade. Translated, that means that yours truly was conned into walking in the parade also. Apparently there was a sufficient number of dog walkers for the event, so I was instructed to walk our dog and pretend I was part of the group.

The picture above shows my bride (middle) and our Great Pyrenees "puppy" loitering about before the parade began. The lady she is speaking with was from the local Great Pyrenees Rescue organization.

Related Resources:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wolves, Elk & Grizzlies

My last two posts were disturbing and there is still no official word on what caused the death of the missing 3yr. old. According to the press, we will have more information in a few days.

As heart wrenching as that story was, today I discovered a heart warming story about life in the Flathead and hunting the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It is about a man who decided not to shoot a wolf.

Here in Montana, Wyoming and other western states, there has been a federally mandated wolf management program in place, which has been used to reintroduce the wolf to our area. Wolves are not welcomed by most ranchers and farmers and such programs are not popular with many people. I take no sides on this issue as I think wolves are beautiful looking creatures, but I also know that they are destructive carnivores. If my livelihood depended upon livestock, I'm fairly sure which side of the fence I would stand.
Regardless of your opinion, the Bigfork Eagle newspaper has a story about hunting in the "Bob" and one man's encounter with a wolf and a grizzly. A remarkable story, read "A wolf not shot"

Friday, January 26, 2007

Amber Alert (UPDATE)

Amber Alert Canceled for 3 Year Old Montana Boy

The State of Montana and the Flathead County Sheriff's Department canceled the Amber Alert on Saturday morning after the boy's remains were found. No further information is available at this time.

We received word last night that the boy's body was found. There is no additional news as to an accident or foul play. Our hearts go out to the family who must suffer this tragic loss and we are grateful to the hundreds of citizens who assisted with the search. Our prayers are with you all.


Local readers take note

We may live in Montana, one of the most beautiful parts of America, but living here does not shield us from the realities of life. One such example is this alert issued yesterday. Posting this message here is one little way we hope to do our part in helping to locate this little boy. Below are the details...

Amber Alert Issued for 3 Year Old Montana Boy Posted: Thursday January 25, 2007: 7:24 PM CST

The State of Montana is looking for Loic Rogers. An Amber Alert has been issued. The event occured at , Evergreen MT on Wednesday, January 24th at 7:00PM. Subject missing from relatives residence on Maple drive in Evergreen, Montana. Subject was outside residence awaiting parent. Parent went inside momentarily and when returned child was missing.

Search commenced soon after and is ongoing. Victim 1, Loic Rogers is described as being a 3 year old White male, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, 3'0 40lbs Wearing: Last seen wearing red, white and blue jacket, blue jeans, yellow,green and orange beanie hat, tan leather boots. There is no suspect or vehicle information available at this time.

If you have any information on this incident, please call 911 or contact the MT Control Terminal - Justice Help Desk at 1-877-ambermt that's 1-877-262-3768 or dial 911.

Amber Alert website
Kalispell Newspaper story

Thank you, and our prayers and good wishes go out to the family of this missing child.