Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 5 – Glacier National Park

Day 5 – Glacier National Park

We were up bright and early to make our way to Polebridge, Bowman Lake and Kintla Lake.  The drive to the back door of the park is mostly on gravel roads.  By the end of the day the car was covered in dirt so much we had to stop and wash the windows, headlights and tail lights.   Polebridge is something else, consists of a small Mercantile with their own baked goods – really good!, The Northern Lights Saloon and a cute little outhouse with a window and air conditioning. 

On the way to our destination we stopped at the “Home Ranch Bottoms”, complete with internet and bar. 

From there we took a detour to "Red Meadow Lake" - supposedly moose were there - NOT.  It was a ride through the forest to the lake.  Once there the lake was calm and serene.  Quiet and peaceful.

Now on to Polebridge, Bowman Lake and Kintla Lake.  I wasn't sure what to expect at Polebridge but I was a bit surprised there were only a couple of buildings on the site.  The Northern Lights Saloon was recommended to us by locals for dinner.  It was quaint and layed back.  Turned out food there is excellent, but Friday night is Pizza and beer night with live entertainment.  After Bowman and Kinta Lakes we came back for pizza and beer.  I will say, the pizza was really good!
Polebridge is nestled between the Continental Divide and the Whitefish Range residing in the North Fork Valley.

Did I mention you do not want to run out of gas on this trek?  There was not one gas station once we left Columbia Falls until we returned.  Except, you could purchase gas in Polebridge for $6.50 a gallon.

Here's Brian having a beer and chatting with one of the locals while I perused the Mercantile and snapped photos.

Off to Bowman Lake (6 miles = 50 minutes).  The drive to Bowman Lake is a very slow, dusty, and bumpy ride on dirt roads, and passes through the tiny community of Polebridge and sections of the park that notably burned in 1988.   Gravel, narrow, winding, pot holes and rocks road not wide enough for 2 cars to pass at the same time. To say it was interesting when a truck pulling a camper was coming at you is an under statement.  Here is Bowman Lake.  The pictures do not do justice to the area.  The lake is surrounded by mountains, calm and a beautiful blue/green.  I failed to mention all of the lakes we have been to are crystal clear.  There are many strenuous trailheads one can take from this point.  We choose not to.  We still needed to get to Kintla Lake and back to Polebridge for pizza and beer.

Kintla Lake:  The clouds were rolling in, we heard thunder in the distance, rain was near  - so we did not stay long.  Kintla Lake is a lake in the northwestern portion of Glacier National Park in Montana. The lake is located in a rather remote portion of the park, close to the Canadian border (like 16 miles).

One way back to Columbia Falls we stopped to read the historic description on a log cabin.  Turns out there was a deer family grazing in the meadow and we didn't notice until we got out of the car.  They saw us but did not seem to care - at least the buck didn't.  I failed to snap the pic of the doe and fawn together.
Next.....  Many Glacier

Montana - Day 4

Continuing on…
Day 4: Today was another good day, the skies are blue, not many clouds, cool morning (46 degrees)and hot afternoon (High 80's).  We were up bright and early for a ½ day trail ride through the Great Bear Wilderness in Flathead National Forest.  U.S. Highway 2 separates this Wilderness and Glacier National park.  The Great Bear is located west of the Continental Divide which forms the eastern boundary.  The Great Northern Mountain (8,705 ft) is the highest peak in the wilderness which is dominated by dozens of other mountains, all part of the Rocky Mountain Front.  We were not allowed to take pictures while riding, it didn’t matter since we were among the trees, and we only saw a lone deer and some ground squirrels.  It was a nice and relaxing ride; it was just what we needed after two days of hiking.  Our guide was quite informative – she described the different pines: ponderosa, lark (this one I did not know about), Douglas fir, spruce and some more.  Aspen and birch trees are prevalent as well.  We saw remnants of fire along the trail.  Fire  plays a natural role in the Flathead National Forest ecosystem. It promotes vegetative and wildlife diversity and eliminates heavy fuel accumulations.  It also releases seeds from the pines for new growth. 

We stopped for lunch and could view National Glacier Forest from a distance.  Not much to see but a vast wilderness and trees.

Believe it or not, we then went on a short hike to Stanton Lake.  A local couple told us about this hike, said it was short (2.6 miles round trip) only strenuous for the first 1/4 mile - yeah right - it was strenuous for the first 1/4 and the first 1/4 mile coming back.  One must go down hill to get to the lake which means back up hill on the return.  I did not have my hiking shoes with me so I hiked in my faithful flipflops (I know not too smart).  Brian went part way and decided he was not going up any more hills. But I treked on with a partial bottle of water.  I made it to the lake with only one wrong turn where I had to back track.  I was hoping not to run into any bears.  On the trek back, I found a bottle of water Brian left for me with a note.  It was so sweet, I was rationing the little water I had left.  Enough hiking for the day. 

Off to have ice cream.  The cafĂ© in the park entrance has delicious ice cream.  Then ending the day with a visit to the hot tub!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Montana - Glacier National Park - Day 1, 2 and 3

Day 1: Not much to say since this is our arrival day.  Left home at 6AM and arrived to final destination, Columbia Falls, Meadow Lake Resort around 4PM Mountain Time.  Thanks to TSA I had to find a suitcase to return home with.  They somehow broke the zipper to the point we could not unzip my suitcase, we had to cut it open.  Found one at a thrift store for $3.00.  Just need it long enough to get home.
Note: Pictures do not do justice to the beauty of this park.

Day 2:  Hiked to Avalanche Lake (5 miles round trip) with ¾ all up hill and uphill it was!  But it is worth it.  There is a large beach area providing plenty of space to soak-in the scenery and have lunch.  The scenery is magnificent – many waterfalls.  The lake sits at the base of 8694-foot Bearhat Mountain, which rises almost 4800 feet above the lake. The mountain dominating the view towards the south is 7886-foot Little Matterhorn. There are several long waterfalls cascading hundreds of feet.  The first part of the trail parallels  Avalanche Creek which rushes powerfully  down a narrow gorge.  On the way back to Columbia Falls we stopped at a "whiskey tasting" establishment.  Small scale and made on site.  Owner decided one drunken night two things were needed to survive in Montana, whiskey and bullets. I tried 6 whiskeys and 2 liqueurs and naturally I made a purchase. The day ends with soaking in the hot tub to soothe aching legs and feet.
                           Avalanche Creek
                         Avalanche Lake
                            Whiskey Tasting

Day 3:  The primary reason to come back to Glacier National Park was to hike to Hidden Lake from Logan Pass.  This is a 6 mile round trip, where the first 1 ½ miles isn’t too bad and takes you to Hidden Lake Overlook then the trail continues for another 1 ½ miles to Hidden lake.  We saved this hike for last when we were here 2 years ago.  We were unable to complete it and actually it was a waste of time due to snow, rain and fog.  Could not see the lake if you tried, much less see the trail.  Much different this time, sunny, blue sky, no clouds.  Saw mountain goats, up close and personal along the way and Big horn sheep, along with ground squirrels (much cuter than the ones in Maryland) and marmots. 
                           Big Horn Sheep
                            Mountain Goats

The trail begins at Logan Pass (need to get there early to find a parking spot).  The trail begins as a paved surface for a short distance and then turns into a raised boardwalk which is about ½ mile long.  Then the trail goes through meadows and passes several small ponds.   Roughly 1.2 miles from the trailhead we reached the Continental Divide.   At 1.35 miles we reached the Hidden Lake Overlook where there are outstanding panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Along the way....

Hidden Lake from Overlook
The trail continues for another 1.5 miles down to the shores of Hidden Lake, which sits at an elevation of 6375 feet. Along the way the trail drops almost 770 feet on a rough and steep decline with many switchbacks.  The way back up is exhausting to say the least.  We took several rest stops along the way.  We were glad we did the trail, but would not do the last 1 ½ miles down to the lake.  Actually the view is much more beautiful from above.  Ended the day again with ice cream and hot tub.
We arrived...
The trek back up (1.5 miles).  My feet hurt so bad I had to take my shoes off at the lake and walk in the cold water.  Once we made it to the Overlook my hiking shoes came off and flip flops went on for the remainder 1 1/2 miles.

Stay tuned for day 4 and 5.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Latest Going On's in the Studio

I can't believe another month has gone by.  The days are flying by.  I have been busy creating artwork, selling at art venue's and getting ready for Artomatic Frederick.  (  I reached my goal of 12 "girls" in my new girl series.  All can be viewed on Pinterest ( .  The girl series is turning out to be quite popular.  I do take custom orders for a personalized girl as well.
 Here is a pic of some botanicals I did last month. 
These are on deli paper.  I was quite impressed on how well they turned out.  The middle one looks much better than the photo shows.

This is another piece of a UFA (Unfinished Artwork) which I finished.  It is waiting for my hubby to mount it in the frame.  This is a 12x12 Mixed Media on Canvas.
"Birds on a String" 

I took a one day class at the Queen's Ink with guest Artist Anna Dabrowska, a.k.a. Finnabair.  We made an 8x8 Mixed Media collage - not your average mixed media.  Here is a pic of mine (still needs some touch-up).  Lots and lots of layers with many different embellishments. 

Until next the next post ....
Enjoy your days and do something you love at least once a day!