I have got to say Montana is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been. I will however not tell very many people this because I do not want to ruin it.
We left Idaho and continued up route 90 and as you know always on the look out for a rest stop we found the first one across the state line. It was clean and shiney and had a couple of old Marines in a little red trailer selling drinks and cookies to raise money for Toys for Tots. Lovely way to start a day. We drove for a bit and came around a corner and saw this.
This was just the first stop of many along the side of the road. We did a lot of gasping! Things really are this beautiful. We travelled a long way north and east. Thru little towns and thru lots of land. The people that live out here have got to be hardy strong people. We commented at one point about where do they buy groceries and holy shit what if you forget something.
We travelled into the Flathead reservation and all I could really think about was man, the white man sucks. This was not their country, they were pushed here by people that wanted what they had, even their land. But man, this was beautiful. Flathead Lake is big
Our first stop was Apgar Village where we stayed at the Village Inn. Right smack on Lake McDonald
We stopped along the road to take this photo and met an old man travelling by himself. He came over to me and asked what lake this was. I told him this was Flathead Lake. He asked if I was sure. Yup, pretty sure. We just came up here (I showed him on the map, because I can read a map and believe that anyone that replies soley on their GPS or phone really need to get out without them and see where they end up) and we are right here. Flathead Lake. Oh ok. Thanks. He went back to his car and we drove on. I did wonder where he was going and if he would get there.
This was literally what we looked at when we stood in front of our room or sat on chairs to enjoy the view. Breathtaking! While sitting here I noticed little homes around the lake. I could see four or five from where I was sitting. I wondered about them. Hmmmm, must be ranger homes. No, not at all. Before Glacier was a national park there were people here, homesteaders. Again hardy people I am sure. Well, they are still there. Glacier National Park is built around them. Yes, private land ownership inside the park. Can you imagine having some of the 132 acres that are still privately owned. I tried to find some for sale, but they do not change hands very oftern it seems.
I read a couple of stories about these cottages and here is what I learned.
One woman is 87 years old and has spent every summer of her life at her family's home on Lake McDonald. Just like her mother did before her and her's before her. Imagine that. She currently has 16 children and grandchildern. She knows her magical time at this place is coming to and end and she has no idea what is going to happen to this place. Will her children be able to come to an agreement about using it or will they decided to sell it? It pains her, but she says she will be dead and there will be nothing she can do.
The other story is also from a women about the same age. She however knows exactly what will happen when she dies. Her home and land will go to the National Park Service and become part of the park. Her children have no choice. She has no choice. Her mother deeded everything to the Park Service in her will, once the daugher dies the land no longer belongs to the family that has summered there for close to 100 years. She is bitter.
It seems the Federal Government does try to buy the land when it becomes available, but is not always successful and the NPS fears what could be built and what it would do to the park.
I am not sure how I feel about it. Part of me thinks as long as it stays in the family it should remain private, but trying to sell it should not be allowed. Once the last person goes, it should become part of the park. Right? Don't know? I just know I would hate to see some big giant McMansion or modern hotel built anywhere in this park.
Hypocritical? Maybe. I am about to take advantage of the early commericialization of this land and who am I to say when it should stop?
We spent two nights in this part of the park. On our first full day we took a tour in this:
Going to the Sun Road here we come.
Stay tuned for Part two.