Monday, June 22, 2009

Flathead and McDonald

We began Year Two of our travels on the road between Missoula and Coram, MT.

Our destination, Coram, is a small town just northeast of Kalispell and about five miles west of the western entrance to Glacier National Park.

Again and again during the drive, we commented on the beauty of "Big Sky" country.

We often compared the challenge of driving traffic-packed I-95 north or south of Philadelphia with the "country road" experience of the traveling the interstates of the West. What a difference!

Had it not been for the construction along several miles of Route 93, we would not have seen much human activity. The construction meant traveling on dusty gravel roads with orange cones guiding traffic through an interesting maze-like route.

And as if the maze is not challenging enough, there is the devilish placement of the cones requiring some tight turns with lanes just wide enough to s-l-o-w-l-y navigate the detours with our truck and fifth wheel.

But enough of the stress-inducing portion of the drive.

After we left Polson, we drove along the western side of Flathead Lake (below). "The Flathead,” lying just west of the Continental Divide, is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi and among the cleanest large lakes.

Our first venture into Glacier National Park brought us to Apgar Village, located about two miles inside the Park at the south end of scenic Lake McDonald (below).

The Lake is 10 miles long and is surrounded on the north, east, and south by mountains.

The sky on the day we visited the Lake was overcast. The appearance of the low clouds in the distance and the scene created by the sun that was only able to peek through the clouds provided a sense of being wrapped in a down comforter.

As I panned back, the feeling of isolation was reduced by the bright reds and yellow of the boats that appeared ready to break the surface of the calm lake.

Expanding the distance even further revealed the appeal of the Lake. The couple silhouetted against the lake were simply enjoying the solitude and serenity of the afternoon on Lake McDonald.

Kate and I were out of the photograph, but were sharing the same experience.

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