This was ambitious!

Trip Start Jun 05, 2009
Trip End Jul 03, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kalaloch to Whitefish is 753 miles by US Route 2. The variety of landscape and the speed it changes from forest to orchard to alpine to mountain desert to wheat field on the top of the world is incredible. We encountered a very strange rain shower where the drops were few and far between, but enormous - as if someone was pelting us with waterbombs. We added a little bit on in a worthwhile detour to see the Grand Coulee Dam, which Dad was convinced he could remember from a song. The gorge leading to the dam was like a mini Grand Canyon, but with a completely flat and barren floor. Taking the US-2 to Spokane was a far more scenic, and not much longer route than the fairly bland I-90 to the south, which we came along on Wednesday. The scale of our ambition, and our leisurely departure (7am) came home to roost as we tackled the last 300 miles. I was getting tired and outside it was getting gloomy - which had pluses and minuses. The plus was that we spotted a little black bear trotting across the road, a slightly confused marmot, and several white-tail deer, grazing on the verges; the minus was that I had to slow down considerably to minimise the risk of hitting one of the above. We had a brief pause in Sandpoint, a lakeside holiday spot, for another burger and a cold cup of coffee, and finally rolled into Whitefish at 11.15pm - a sixteen hour day including the move from Pacific back into Mountain time.

Today was the long-awaited Waterton-Glacier National Park. We had the best breakfast so far (Mum was conservative, with eggs and toast; I was greedy, with corned beef hash; and Dad went fully american with lobster benedict!) Disappointingly the Road to the Sun was closed only 16 miles in, which meant we couldn't go up the Logan Pass, view the glaciers and cross over the park. We did, however, get some of those iconic mountains-mirrored-in-still-lake photos. I also tried out my new lens on some enormous butterflies fighting over a fragrant lilac bush. In the afternoon we drove across the Hungry Horse Dam and along the reservoir - a popular but far more peaceful area just outside the National Park. The forests on the shore are recovering from a major fire, we reckoned about 3 years ago. There were lots of crystal clear meltwater streams tumbling down the cliffs into little bays with beaches, campfires and americans doing the great outdoors. Even though they come equipped with RVs, pickups, tents, jetskis and quad bikes it still manages to have a real Huckleberry Finn feel. We're all a bit tired, but we're determined to pop into Whitefish and sample some of the output of the local micro-brewery. Off to Livingston tomorrow - Mum's looking out for Robert Redford.
RnH x

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