2013, Trip Six, The Northwest, August 12

Monday, August 12 Polson, Montana

Back in the USA! The border crossing was easy and the guard welcomed us home. First thing we did was to fill up the gas tank with gas that cost about $3.80 per gallon instead of the Canadian $5.50 per gallon.

Polson is at the southern end of Flathead Lake. Kalispell and Whitefish are two other local towns. The west entrance to Glacier National Park is close to the northeast corner of Flathead Lake.

Lake McDonald Falls in Glacier National Park-US

Lake McDonald Falls in Glacier National Park-US

Flathead Lake is the largest naturally occurring lake west of the Mississippi and along with the Rockies, creates a micro-climate here that is usually warmer than this part of the country. Cherries are a big crop in the area. (The people making the pronouncement about Flathead Lake consider Lake of the Woods and Red Lake in Minnesota to be north of the Mississippi.)

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald

We made a short detour to the Lake McDonald area of Glacier and took a short hike there. When we visited Glacier a number of years ago, we stayed on the eastern side in Many Glacier. Today, we did not take the time to traverse the Going to the Sun road. Construction was ongoing in two locations and a traversal going both ways would have taken way too much time. Plus, we saw it and this trip is about new places.

US 93 from the Canadian border to Polson is usually two lanes and frequently 70 mph. (We are done with kilometers but here where there are numerous Canadian visitors, the people who pass us are usually Canadian.) A group in Montana has taken responsibility to plant a white cross where a fatal auto accident has occurred. There are far too many of them. The Aug. 13 local paper describes another new accident where a six year old died on a section of road we had driven 24 hours earlier.

(On Tuesday, we counted 18 crosses in one 29 mile section of Montana state highway 35 going from Polson to Big Fork.)

Flathead Lake with one of its islands

Flathead Lake with one of its islands

We stop at a beach at the north end of the lake and again at a state park near the south end of the lake-it is 27 miles long-to relax and enjoy the view. Once again it is a nice day although periodic clouds come up. The temps are in the high 80s today.

We arrive at our Evergreen hosts in Polson slightly later than expected. The direction they gave us were fine, for some reason I had the location set in my mind-in the wrong location. So despite the directions, I had to call and discuss how to get there. The home is just off Flathead Lake and we spot deer in the wooded neighborhood.

I may sound like a broken record but once again we find gracious people waiting for us. We swap stories of our respective communities and past travel experiences.

We have heard from several sources, including Evergreen hosts in Victoria, Sequim, Cranbrook and here in Polson of ongoing efforts to return control of more western lands to American Indian tribes or First Nation tribes in Canada. I am sure we will be reading more about this as time goes on.

Ed and Chris August 13 9 pm

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