Sunday, August 30, 2020

Mosaic Monday #94: Family Fun

Hello everyone - thanks for returning after a week's break from Mosaic Monday! The visit from #1 Daughter and her boyfriend was memorable, and extra special since #1 Son is already here and joined in the frolic when he wasn't occupied with job search activities.  On their first day, it was already mid-afternoon by the time we got home from the airport, so we made no plans other than showing The Boyfriend around the house and property.  Vacation calorie intake began in earnest with a afternoon snack of huckleberry pie and ice cream.  (And of course, Head Chef prepared a dinner fit for kings - ribs, smoked turkey, cornbread, salad.)

As we planned the activities for their visit, the duo asked us to challenge them physically.  "Wear us out," The Boyfriend said.  So, the next day, the Montana workout began.  Kayaking on the river sounds simple enough, but it requires logistics such as dropping off one vehicle at the takeout point, and ensuring that the right gear is in the correct vehicle.  We managed to get all five of us out of the house on time, but the takeout point was not well-marked, and we arrived at our first destination, Polebridge, with 2 rigs.  Oh well.  Not the end of the world.  We snagged some home-made baked goods from the famous Polebridge Mercantile, settled all of us into one vehicle and drove the short six miles to Bowman Lake.  Its spectacular surroundings never get old.

We backtracked to the put-in point near Polebridge, and left the "kids" to inflate the kayaks and pack raft while Spousal Unit and I took his truck to the takeout at Coal Creek.  A Mercantile member of staff gave us directions, and in no time we had returned to inspect the boats and were ready to float nine miles of the North Fork of the Flathead River.  At this time of year, low water means rocks and log jams are nearer to the surface, requiring vigilance and carefully chosen channels.  Early in the trip, Spousal Unit and #1 Daughter collided with a tree and tipped over, but in such shallow water that it was not a major event.  It was a warm, blue-sky day and we made one stop to swim.  
We had hoped for smoke-free skies during their stay, and we got our wish.  Haze can make for interesting sunsets, but I would prefer my air without particulate!  That night we enjoyed tasty lasagne on the deck, with an ever-changing sky for entertainment.

On Day 2, Spousal Unit and The Boyfriend went fishing while #1 Daughter and I engaged in retail therapy followed by a picnic at the beach.  In keeping with the "workout" theme, fishing entailed a 2.5 mile hike (one way) to Lupine Lake, and paddling a pack raft as needed throughout the day.  Lifting a margarita at the beach was a little less strenuous!!!  The Boyfriend caught a half-dozen fish, and perhaps more importantly (from my perspective), he saw a bull moose on the way to the trailhead.  We call that visitor's luck!!!

Now, Day 3 would be the true test.  Destination: the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park.   13.4 miles and 2700 feet elevation gain.  I have written about this hike in a previous post, in which I note that we left the house at 6.45 AM in order to secure a parking spot at the Loop and catch a shuttle.  That was 2017 and this is 2020 - departure was advanced to 5.30 AM.  Glacier has become an extremely popular place, and the fact that half of the Park is closed has exacerbated parking issues.  Even with 45 extra minutes, we still experienced parking challenges!  But, as always, it was worth the anxiety. 

It was lightly raining as we began our adventure; later in the day, with the hot sun and dusty trail conditions, we would have welcomed that precipitation!  Immediately, the hike began to deliver on our expectations, with a mountain goat, massive cliffs, and abundant flowers along the Garden Wall.  It had been at least 10 years since #1 Daughter had done this hike, so both members of the duo could be heard exclaiming over the beauty, or shaking their heads at the wonder of the views.

Although this was my fourth time experiencing the Highline, we typically go earlier in the summer.  I was fascinated by the difference in the flowers one month later in the season. 

This hike offered another first for all of us - the Grinnell Glacier Overlook.  After seven miles, intrepid explorers have the "opportunity" to ascend more than 900 feet in less than nine-tenths of a mile.  In keeping with the challenge to "wear us out", it was a no-brainer.  The climb is mostly steady, but there are sections that are very steep.  I am pretty sure that we were pausing to catch our breath rather than letting other people have the right-of-way as they descended the narrow path that pitches straight down if you take a wrong step!  And here is the reward!

You may have already noticed the lack of other people in my photos.  Trust me, that requires some patience and some camera agility.  The Highline Trail is an incredibly popular hike; I would guess that we shared it with at least 250 people that day.  And yet, you can still reliably see wildlife - goats, marmots, bighorn sheep.  And this time, we saw a new animal for me - a pika.  No picture, but so adorable!

Shortly after our descent from the Grinnell Glacier Overlook Trail, we arrived at the Granite Park Chalet.  The west side of the building offered the only shade, and we sank onto the benches for a well-earned break.  Built 1914-1915 by the Great Northern Railway to provide comfortable back country accommodations, it was the last chalet constructed by the railroad.  Listed as a National Historic Landmark, it is one of only two back country chalets that have survived and it continues to provide lodging to adventurers from around the world.

Are you still with me?  Yep, now you know how the duo felt.  Four miles of down, down, down still remained to close out this hike.  But along the way, you earn fabulous views of the terrain that we had already traversed.  Can you see the faint line in the center of the picture below?  That is the trail to Grinnell Glacier Overlook.

Would a close-up help?

The switchbacks seemed endless and only the thought of the creek at the end kept the team moving.  Upon arrival, all of us threw off our boots and socks and plunged knee-deep into the glacier-cold water.  Aaahhh.  The Boyfriend didn't hesitate to go all the way in - after all, ice baths are de rigueur for athletes!  He was smiling even as he professed that the trail had "kicked his patootie".   Mission accomplished!  
Even pro athletes need rest days, and as master vacation planners, we had the forethought to schedule nothing for Day 4.  Some folks caught up on podcasts, or read a book.  The kids raided the toy closet and we played Scattergories, Sequence and Euchre.  I recently began a new cross-stitch project that will become a throw pillow for #1 Daughter and The Boyfriend.  What a treat to sit on the deck and stitch!  We closed out the evening around the firepit, with s'mores to boot.  
And suddenly, we only had one full day remaining.  Day 5 began with a short (2.7 miles one way) but technical hike to Leigh Lake.  Steep sections and rock scrambles keep your focus sharp!  (Spousal Unit and I completed this trail on May 9 and it was covered with snow.  So watch for a future post with comparison shots.)  For this post, I will just show you the family shot at the lake, courtesy of a fellow hiker.

From there, it's a short ride down the road to Kootenai Falls and the Swinging Bridge.  Once again, it was a warm day and the cool waters of the river were a welcome respite.  We marveled at the falls, once the site of filming for the River Wild.  The water flow seemed higher than normal, and I said the same, reflecting that it is odd for the time of year.  Upon further thought, it must mean that they are releasing more water from the dam upstream.  Check out the video.

#1 Daughter and I enjoyed ice creams as Spousal Unit drove home.  Ah, summer!  The duo treated us to dinner that night at the Kila Pub, and everyone was sleepy by the time we pulled into our driveway.  Sigh, the end of another family visit.  My only consolation is that I am sure the mountains will soon be calling them back!

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  1. What a great family adventure. Beautiful photos, lots of fun and plenty of new memories. Thanks for sharing Angie, have a wonderful new week.

  2. Nice to see you with your Family and the wonderful activities. Wish you a good week.

    Happy MosaicMonday.
    Greetings xxx

  3. are enjoying a yummy and beautiful part of the world.

  4. My goodness you're an active lot, I was worn out just reading about the hiking and kayaking etc. It sounds as if you all had a wonderful time together, how lovely to have so much in common with your kids.
    Glad to be back with you for MM again this week.

  5. Wow! That's a lot of hiking! I'm tired just from reading it. LOL. But beautiful, beautiful places. Sounds like a fantastic outing.

  6. What a fantastic week! You wore me out just telling us everything you did. So glad you enjoyed your daughter and her boyfriend's visit. The photos are all absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for taking us all along. I'll be back to link up tomorrow :)

  7. What a wonderful trip. So great to have places like this close enough to reach. We have mountains in Sweden but not his kinds of steep ones. I would have loved to go kayaking with you :) But I probably would not go the trail to Grinnell Glacier Overlook. To narrow for my taste :) Thanks for sharing your trip.

  8. Such an amazing and wonderful time and a terrific family outing, y'all sure had fun and we enjoyed the photos!

  9. What a wonderful post, thank you for sharing your family visit, hikes, the local animals and plants. You had so many beautiful views. Your cross stitch looks amazing too.

  10. I have no doubts that they will be back. You really gave them what they asked for. How beautiful all the wild flowers you got to see this time. Yikes!! Look at that little pencil of a trail. Congrats on you all making it to the great reward of a view. The cross stitch is great!

  11. That looks so wonderful!! Good food, wonderful scenery, great hikes and good company! That is probably one of my all times favourite quote. Thanks so much for hosting and letting me join in the fun.


  12. Oh yes, I would think those mountains and that incredible scenery will be calling your family to visit once again, very soon. It sounds as if you all have a fabulous time; more memorable memories to store away.

  13. The scenery in Glacier NP looked so glorious and made all the better by having your entire family there to enjoy it all! I'm sure they will be back soon. I love that quote by John Muir and it makes a wonderful pillow top.

  14. Hello Angie,
    It sounds like you all had a fabulous week. Glacier NP is beautiful, I love the mountain views, the waterfall, the critters and wildflowers are lovely. I am glad you had a fun time with the family visiting. The pillow are quote are awesome, one of my favorite Muir quotes. Thanks for hosting MM! Take care, enjoy your day! Have a great new week!

  15. Your pie looks delicious! What a wonderful time with your family.

  16. Glad you had a nice family adventure, thanks for sharing your family fun.
    I missed your linky last week, happy you are back

    much love...

  17. I love seeing your photos but I'm not sure I could survive a visit to your house! heehee! I would love to be able to hike some of those trails though. What beauty! And it IS amazing at what different wildflowers you see all through the summer months. It's the same way here. Happy MM!

  18. Wonderful family times and looks like a good tie was had by all, Angie. You must have been thrilled to have your children visiting.

  19. Great to have family times together. Looks like you had an amazing time which went all too quickly. So glad you can get out into the "great outdoors". We have been away too, catching some sun. Back to winter again here. Stay safe, happy travels and thank you again for the link up.

  20. PS: Great photos, thanks for hosting, Angie.

  21. You were missed last week and I was anxiously awaiting this post and details of the visit!! GORGEOUS hikes, rivers, and scenery. OH my I'm so glad you guys had beautiful weather to get out and enjoy plus wear out the young folk LOL what a thrilling post of adventure. Thanks for sharing.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  22. Wow, that is one tough boy friend!! What adventures you had for him. Family fun is right. Seeing a moose in the wild is amazing. The hikes, the fishing, the paddling. Wow.

  23. I don't think I've enjoyed a huckleberry. But the dessert looks delicious. After the weekend I'll be eating plenty of blueberries though. Amazing vistas today! And grand view framed through the chalet.

  24. Thanks for sharing the awesome adventure and scenery.Have a good week.

  25. Incredible beauty, and fabulous family time! I’m sure the boyfriend’s request to be “worn out” was fulfilled. The pillow top you’ve embroidered with the John Muir quote will surely call them back soon ! What a perfect gift,

  26. Oh my dear friend! Your photos and story had me back in time when we hiked to Granite Park Chalet and stayed overnight. Did you see any bears? I am sure your family were very happy campers! What a great trip!! Kit

  27. Angie, such beautiful photos are the area that you live in! The dessert looks delicious! I think you have a wonderful family from the pictures you shared.

  28. A great moment to be hiking in the mountains, nature at its best.

  29. Oh what a fun week with the family ~ an adventure with beautiful nature photography and yummy food too ^_^

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor

  30. All that hiking, climbing, paddling and burning all that energy makes me yearn for some of that huckleberry pie. I'm pretty sure they don't sell it in our corner shop so please send me a large slice Angie. Great photos.

    But how do you find time to blog?

  31. The chalet reminds me of the cabins that volunteers have built along our Sunshine Coast Trail. They, along with the outhouses, are still closed because of COVID but people are still hiking and camping in tents. Haven't done anything lately to photograph and create a mosaic. Hopefully I'll have something soon. - Margy

  32. you knew i would visit and you just had to put that picture first, shame on you!!! nice captures of your fun, you wore me out and all i did was read!!

    i enjoyed the video...the sound of the rushing water reminded me of the sounds of niagara falls

  33. Oh goodness Angie, what a fabulous time you had with your family.
    It was full on with activities, your photographs are lovely.

    Happy September Wishes.

    All the best Jan

  34. O my! What a fun trip.
    I love the country. It's absolutely breath taking!