Thursday, April 7, 2011

Finally, after many years.

Our epic cross country adventure starts here.

Idaho was indeed beautiful but what I really wanted to see was Glacier National Park and Montana. My great buddy, Dollar, worked at GNP over the summer one year while we were in college and all of the stories he told made me wish I could go right then. Well it only took 10 more years before I had the opportunity to go. I'll admit that I was a bit sad leaving Salmon River country but the drive north to Montana was extremely scenic.

On the way up we passed through Missoula, MT, home of the Grizzlies. We had done some research and located a dog park in Missoula, the Jacobs Island Bark Park, situated right downtown. We had to park in a grocery store parking lot; not easy for a big truck towing a camper. Then we walked around the back of the store, across a bridge, and finally into the park. The only reason I mention this park is because immediately after we took the leashes off and let the pups out of the gated entrance, Samson took off and headed right toward the river. This is not normally a problem, but this river was down a bank; a muddy bank. When we finally got him out he was wet and muddy. We hadn't really budgeted time to clean the dogs after being in a park, but nevertheless, they enjoyed the hour running free.

We had already planned to stay two nights near Glacier and had made reservations at LaSalle RV park. The park was pretty full, surprising for early April, but we realized that many people actually live there year round, one of which I'll come back to later. The next morning we got up, had our breakfast and made our way to GNP. I was like a giddy schoolgirl. Going into it, we knew that not much of the park was accessible this time of year but I didn't care. GNP was the first of several National Parks that we had planned to visit this trip so we bought the annual pass for $80, a very wise investment. Anyways, immediately after we entered the park it began to snow. At this point we are on day 6 of seeing snow so this was nothing new. Dana is not the biggest fan of snow but I love it and it certainly makes for a beautiful backdrop.

As beautiful as it is, the unfortunate thing about snow is that it obscures visibility. In fact, as we drove the open 6 miles of Going to the Sun Road, we didn't see much of anything, although Lake McDonald was visible. Well not to waste the trip we stopped on the side of the road in the park and let the pups run around. As disappointed as I was, I can at least say that I've been to GNP now.

Dana could see the anguish and sadness on my face so in an effort to make me feel better she had plans to drag me to nearby Whitefish and visit the Great Northern Brewing Company. Ok, so that really wasn't her idea. Dollar brought me back a t-shirt from there; a t-shirt I still own and wear. Needless to say I was excited but that excitement quickly turned into horror as we walked to the entrance and read the words "CLOSED." I was besides myself but there was no other option except to push through the turmoil and seek another viable location. We didn't have to look far. Around the corner was shone a beacon of light that radiated from The Craggy Range Bar & Grill. We bellied up to the bar and began to sample the tasty assortment of beverages from around the area, including some from the Great Northern Brewing Company. The bartender was even from Georgia so we received extra-special treatment. We had a great meal and plenty of frothy refreshments to wash it down with.

Ok, so I eluded to a "special" resident of the LaSalle RV park earlier and will elaborate a bit more now. After we returned from the Craggy Range, we took the dogs for a walk around the campground. As we did, we came across a gentleman who was very interested in Samson. He started asking questions and became disappointed when he found out that Samson was a male. Evidently, he was looking for a "bitch", as he nicely put it, to mate with his high-percentage wolf content dog named Ghost. Now, I met Ghost and he was indeed more wolf-like than Samson so those of you who think Samson looks like a wolf, you have no idea. In any event we had no intentions of letting Samson mate with any animals at this campground.

The stay in the GNP area was nice but there was still more of Montana to see.

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