Our home base for the past two weeks has been Eagle Nest RV Park in Polson, Montana. Polson is located on the most southern shore of Flathead Lake. The Mission Mountains are to the East and form a magnificent backdrop to the lake. The lake is a natural lake but with the building of the Kerr Dam in the nineteen thirties it became much larger. Since we have a Kerr Dam in Virginia we Googled it and found out Kerr was a famous designer of dams for the Corp Of Engineers. We hiked down the 253 steps to get a better look. On our third full day in Polson the wind shifted from the north to the west and the smoke from the forest fires in Washington and Idaho blew in. The visibility was down to only a few miles and the smell of smoke was everywhere. The three pictures in the third row below were taken in the same spot on three different days to show how thick the smoke was.
We attended the Standing Arrow Powwow on the Flathead Reservation and had a great time. It was the first Powwow we had ever been to. The dancers and drummers, who also chant, are judged and win cash prizes for best in the powwow. The Powwow lasts for three days and they dance for hours on end, so many of the participants camp overnight on the grounds, some even in traditional tepees.
The East side of Flathead Lake has many cherry farms and there was even one right next to the RV Park. We attended the Polson Cherry Festival but the best thing we bought there was Huckleberry tarts. Huckleberries grow at higher altitudes and the season is just starting. Only problem is the bears love them too, so when people go to pick them in the mountains they have to be very alert for bears and many of them take pepper spray with them. Huckleberry Shakes are the best.
We spent one day at the National Bison Range and I did some birding along with looking for bison and antelope. The best bird I found was a roosting Common Nighthawk. (not a very good picture). The 19 mile wildlife drive provides some beautiful scenic views of the Flathead Valley and the Mission Mountains.
We have been to Glacier National Park many times but decided to visit again since it is such a majestic place. We knew it would be crowded and it was. We believe it is time they block the Going to the Sun Highway in the summer and just allow shuttle buses like they do in Zion and Denali. We drove all the way up to the pass and the parking lot was full with 20 cars waiting for parking places. We made a U-turn and went back down. We did stop at a few overlooks and were lucky to find three Mountain Goats, a young ram and ewe with a lamb. On our way back home we stopped at a typical rural Montana Bar for a burger and a beer.
We now head farther east in Montana to visit with my cousin Mike and his wife Jeannie.