In which we go on an airplane trip! (Ellie’s first. Evie, of course, is a veteran traveler).
It was only a about a 75 minute flight to Kalispell, MT, but SEATAC is a busy airport in the morning, and we had to fight Seattle-bound morning traffic on the way to the airport. This meant early rising and being at the airport early and lots of excitement and missed naps.
The upshot being that we had two very tired baby girls who were passed out before we left the airport parking lot in Kalispell.
Arriving on Friday afternoon we didn’t really do a whole lot except buy groceries and get checked into our air BNB. Actually, I suppose we didn’t really get checked in because there was no one to check us in. We just, I don’t know, walked in.
After getting our clothes and food put away, we headed out to walk around the town. After being stuck in a carseat/airplane all day, our girls had some serious sillies they needed to shake out.
The town of Whitefish is very small, but has a fairly large grassy park that the girls could run around in with trees that they could climb. Or rather, a tree that Daddy could climb, and the girls could wish they could climb. Our rule is if you can’t climb it yourself, you can’t climb it at all.
And they had trains to watch!
It’s a touristy, artsy little town, well worth walking around in, but overall geared towards taking your money.
On Saturday we headed out for Glacier National Park. On the way we saw our first real wildlife of the trip…
It rapidly became apparent that there were going to be some constraints on our trip. For one thing…
The park is HUGE! It covers millions of acres and crosses the border into Canada, and is home to five distinct climate and wildlife zones (Pacific Northwest, Alpine, Boreal forest, Grassland prairie and Rocky Mountain).
The park crosses the border, but the Canadian side of the park was on fire, (hence the hazy, smoky look to some of the pictures). We thought about going to Canada anyway, but there is only one road that crosses the park, known as “Going-to-the-sun Road,” and it was still blocked with snow from the winter. To get to the east side of the park, and from there to the Canadian side, we would have had to drive two hours around the south edge of the park. With two little people in car seats, that did not seem appealing. So we settled for exploring just the tiny little southwestern corner around Apgar visitor center and MacDonald lake.
So we set out hiking from the visitor center. Evie was leading the way with Mommy…
Using the map in her national parks book to help us find the trail.
Yes, that is a picture map of the entire USA. She was quite sure she could find the trail on it.
It’s okay, Evie, we love you whether you know how to read a map at four years old or not.
We stopped at a bike rental station, but all the child trailers were out, so we reserved bikes for the following Monday and moved on. Evie and Ellie did not want to move on. They were quite content to play in the kayaks at the rental place.
MacDonald Lake was gorgeous, albeit somewhat obscured by smoke.
And it came supplied with rocks to throw and trees to climb!
After a picnic lunch we decided to rent a rowboat, as they are relatively stable and safe for rambunctious four-year-olds, and the price was very reasonable, less than $20 for an hour.
It was lots of fun. Evie is very excited about going out in Papa’s boat later this summer.
It was a fun day, and we went to Confession and Mass for First Saturday in Whitefish. Afterwards we went out for supper, but this was a bit of a fiasco. Both girls were tired, and Ellie was so tired she couldn’t even eat properly.
Evie and Ellie discovered the mesmerizing wonder of front-load washing machine, a.k.a. cat TV.
But after a good night’s sleep, we were up and at it again, heading south this time to a museum called “Miracle of America Museum.” This is a private collection of vintage historic artifacts running from pre-colonial to mid-20th century American history and culture.
Essentially the folks who run it are glorified hoarders who spent a lot of time organizing their hoard. But they had a ton of interesting stuff. I find it interesting that the see-saw, metal merry-go-round, and metal slide are now museum pieces. Are you kidding me? I grew up with those!
That was a lot of time in the sun and heat for baby girl. She was plum tuckered out by the time we got to our picnic spot at Flathead Lake State Park (East).
So we had some lunch and then Evie went in the lake (as far as her ankles). Before long Ellie woke up and was so excited by the water that she didn’t even want to eat lunch. We couldn’t even get her to sit still for some sausage!
On the way back we drove through more absolutely beautiful countryside. We saw a couple of spreads that we would love to buy, and fell even more in love when we realized that they were within a mile of a Catholic Church!
Sure it only has Sunday services now, as far as we could see, but once we buy all the land, relocate the locals and move in the entire Kraeger clan the Catholic population will probably double and at that point we’ll rate a full time priest.
All in all, great Sunday. We went back to our room, nice and tired.
Monday we had to be up nice and early to be out there for our bike ride. Let’s just say, expensive, but BEST TIME EVER!
We are considering getting one of those trailers for home, although Puyallup is not very bike friendly. Most of the roads outside of downtown don’t even have a shoulder, let alone a bike lane.
Then back to Lake MacDonald for snacks and tree climbing.
After lunch we headed up Going-to-the-sun Road as far as the south end of MacDonald Lake. It was only a few miles but it was a long drive because they were busy resurfacing the road after winter damage. It wasn’t too terrible, though, because Ellie fell asleep and Evie enjoyed playing with her magnadoodle.
The Lake McDonald lodge was amazing! We were especially impressed by the fireplace.
I am pretty sure we are going to put one like it in our living room when we build our new house.
Lunch time outside the lodge, at the junction of the river and the lake.
That was another full day, and we topped it off with supper at Craggy Range Bar and Grill, which was phenomenal. We were very impressed with the burgers, which come with the top buns branded with the restaurant logo.
And then it was Tuesday morning. Time to go home.
Ellie, true to form, slept the whole flight.
Best traveling buddies!
Ellie, for one, is very glad to be back home where she can water her plants again.
The rest of us… Well, let’s just say there was something to be said about not having to drive in rush hour traffic. Kathleen got stuck behind these folks for about an hour on her way home from work last night.
And the worst part was they just drove like that for an hour and then sped up and drove away for no apparent reason. Silly WADOT!
That’s all for this week, folks. Have a great rest of your weekend, and remember to pray for us.