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.

Geotourism?

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"