Big Sky Country
I was so busy trying to get out of the USA I forgot how beautiful my home is. Some good has come from this scary unprecedented experience. I’m walking more, cooking more, and traveling in the USA more than I have ever before. Of course we miss the norm, but it is important to remember that adapting instead of giving up or crumbling is a better alternative. Difficult times will come, remembering the joy little things bring us has been rewarding. Remembering that simplifying our lives creates lets stress. All those things have helped me cope during these difficult times. I won’t deny that one of the things I LOVE most has been ripped away from me but I managed to escape a bit while it was still possible and I have to say it was fun, safe and I’m glad I took the time to get to know our nation a bit more.
Many states including NYC where I reside were considered flare-up states. Since I took this trip so much has changed, some good and some not so great for us travelers. At the time and still today if the state you were traveling to was on the famous flare up list, you had to be prepared to quarantined upon your return. I couldn’t afford to do that working in the medical field so traveling safely or (as safely as possible) was very important to me. I nearly got back and poor MT was added to the list. 🙁 Now to adapt to the new rules and regulations b/c they just can’t seem to stay put for more than a week. I’m hopeful this shall pass soon so that we can all get back to our regular programming.
And now to my trip: Laguardia to Chicago, Chicago to Missoula MT. That was our flight itinerary. Arrived around noon, rented a car from #budget and started our beautiful drive to Kalispell where our hotel was located. Our drive was about two hours and it wasn’t that kind of drive you absolutely hated, on the contrary it was enjoyable with many tourist stops for lunch, souvenirs and even a cherry farm.
We ran into #bluebaylake on the way to Kalispell by total accident. I wanted to sit there for hours, take my shoes off or even go for a swim.
Montana isn’t just mountains and lakes. You’ll probably also enjoy the many cherry farms you’ll see while driving from destination to destination. We ran into a cherry farm about 15 minutes before arriving at our hotel. I think the cherries we purchased were the tastiest cherries I’ve ever had. To add to this pleasant stop, the owner, an older gentleman probably close to 90 years old was the most charming and wanted to take pictures with us as he picked out the rotten cherries from the conveyor belt. (see video below)
After settling in at the hotel and a quick shower we went out for dinner at a BBQ place but I won’t bother adding the location b/c lets just say Montana isn’t ready for BBQ 🙂
We were meeting two more of our friends that were arriving later that evening before starting our road trip to Glacier National Park the next morning.
Glacier National Park
At the time, Montana was not on the flare up state list and New Yorkers were allowed to travel there. However, some restrictions to the park were in affect. For example the North side of Glacier Park was closed to non-state residence. I was really bummed because I really wanted to visit Many Glacier but I didn’t have access. I will definitely take another trip to see it in the near future. Many Glacier is a must for hikers, but if hiking is not your forte, you can still enjoy the beautiful views of this Glacier by staying or visiting Many Glacier Hotel and ride the boat across Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes. Please note parking is limited so the early bird gets the worm. We were lucky enough to run into a state guard and then some locals that helped us cross a closed off road to take some pictures.
One of the most scenic roads in America, Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun-Road stretches from one end of Glacier National Park to the other, covering more than 50 miles as it winds past lakes, glaciers, forests and mountains. We entered the Going to the Sun Road highway but didn’t stay on it very long. We went on it to locate Lake McDonald. From what I had previously research there is very limited access to gas stations and hotels and we wanted to travel and explore outside the famous road a bit more. Having the time I would have totally traveled the 50 miles to see all Going-to-the-Sun-Road had to offer.
The Largest Lake in Glacier Park
When I first saw pictures of Lake McDonald #lakemcdonald I immediately created a tab and saved it. I knew it was a place I had to see with my own eyes. A lot of the images you’ll find via IG will be photoshopped to add dynamic effect as many photos are on IG. I’ll do you a favor and upload exactly what my eyes see. 🙂
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park, filled with blue, red, yellow and many other color rocks. It stretches for miles and has a beautiful boardwalk that gives easy access to the lake. You can rent water toys and spend the day here. The water was freezing so we just took a few photos and kept adventuring.
I’m adding a price list for you to select which water activity is best for you. Though I found the water to be too cold, it is considered to be the warmest, calmest lake in the park.
Trail of the Cedars
After exploring Lake McDonald and Going-to-the-Sun-Road, we ended up at Trail of the Cedars early the next day. Most of the hikes and adventures were roughly a 3 hour drive. (see map)
If you scroll down a bit to route 93 and look for Kalispell, that is where our hotel was located. Cute town with a little nightlife and nice restaurants which was perfect for an evening after hiking. A drive into the town of Whitefish was about 25 minutes. Keep in mind most restaurants closed by 10pm.
I think Trail of the Cedars was my favorite. After walking for about 2 hours, you come to this opening which left me feeling so rewarded. A nice hike with a final destination and view like this one is just that a wonderful REWARD. The trail leads you to Avalanche Lake and Oh My! It was a complete show. I can’t imagine what it must look like with ice caps but this is what I got to see and I wasn’t one bit disappointed. I’m sharing some photos of the walk, the video of what I encountered when I reached the opening of Lake Avalache and photos of my travel buddies.
I know we missed so much there was to see but we only got away for a few days. This state is definitely on the repeat list. After a night on the town for some cocktails we headed back to NY the next morning. Visiting Montana for me was refreshing literally. So much to discover and the locals were super friendly. I always love coming back home and being able to share my thoughts but to also be able to say that the people were kind and welcoming is a plus. A man let us in to his back yard / acres to take a few of the pictures you’ll see below. I’ll also list a few of the mountains/lakes and hikes I wish I had the time to see.
Thanks for reading…come back soon.
Upon my return, I’v love to visit:
Lewis Clark Caverns
Saint Mary Lake
and most definitely Many Glacier