#11 As Far West As We Go on Highway 2

Our second day at Glacier National Park was a bit more relaxing than the first, as we took a lovely drive and a relaxing boat ride.

There’s a town far north on the west side of the park called Polebridge, just 20 miles from the Canadian border. Along the way, we peeked at grassy settings of cabins, often surrounded by wood pole fences. We wondered if these were summer cabins for people or if they lived here full time.

Polebridge is a long drive down some asphalt and some gravel roads, but everyone seems to go there for the freshly homemade, warm out of the oven, Huckleberry Bear Claws. Huckleberries only grow wild in the northwest, so they’re a special treat. Handpicked! What the bears don’t eat, that is. Bears love them! These aren’t your typical Panera Bread bear claws; the dough is heavy – the bear claw must have weighed two pounds (ok – well, maybe one pound), and we each ate one, along with a cup of coffee. (We’d brought the pot along, as we always do!) It became our lunch!  We sipped coffee and ate  Bear Claws, crumbs covering our laps, as we casually drove south and back into the park at it’s Camas Road Entrance. The drive was well worth it – not just for the Bear Claws but in the hope of seeing wildlife – both plant and animal. You know the saying, You win some. You lose some. Well, we won the Bear Claws, but lost our hope of seeing grizzlies or wolves. It was well worth the drive, anyway, as we had a relaxing drive along meadows of huckleberries and wildflowers, rivers and streams, and the massive west side of the Rocky Mountains we had been enjoying from the other side. 

What does God put in your path? He has put wildflowers along every roadside I’ve traveled on this trip, along every path I’ve hiked, and on the edges of every mountain and lake  I’ve seen. It’s His message to me that He loves me, He leads me, He hems me in – He’s in front of me and He’s behind me, showing me the beauty of His creation and reminding me that He clothed each flower – He’ll certainly take care of me! These things are not coincidental! Not along God’s highways.

We drove back to Lake McDonald, which we had passed the first day – the 9-mile long Lake at the west side of the park. I browsed the gift shop inside the old lodge while we waited for our tour to begin, dreaming of sometime coming  back to stay at this  lodge, spending  my days  reading  and writing,  and  walking along  the  cool waters of the lake. We boarded the DeSmet, a 1930 passenger boat, for a one-hour tour. It was delightful! 

Here’s a beautiful photo of Lake McDonald Stream, taken by Jack Bell: 

I collected a few stones from Lake McDonald Creek as it flows into the lake. It was a perfect ending to not only the day but the entire experience at the awesome Glacier National Park.

While visiting Glacier, we had spent three nights at a peaceful campground in Kalispell, Rocky Mountain High. It was a perfect country setting with the beautiful Swan Mountain Range in the background. We slept with our windows open, breathing fresh pine air, the large trees above then shading our trailer during the day.

We’ve had sunshine nearly every day of our trip thus far, and today was no different. As we readied ourselves and prepared the trailer to leave the site, our neighbors, Barry and Linda, held our hands and prayed for a safe journey for us. The body of Christ is ever present on our journey.

We continued our venture on Highway 2, which we had followed now through five states and would continue well into the sixth state before this nightfall.

Western Montana did not disappoint. It was all we had expected with green forests and beautiful lakes surrounded by tall pines.

Ranches with occasional fields of hay to feed the livestock, dotted our paved trail.

Further west, the Kootenai River came along beside us and flowed beautifully beside us as we entered Idaho. At Bonners Ferry, we separated ways with the river –  it flowed north, while we drove south through Spokane and on into Washington. 

Certainly the landscape murals changed. Sage brush dappled the otherwise barren land. Soon  we drove around brown mountains speckled with small pines that had managed to grow in the dry rocky surfaces.

We ascended and descended these parched mountains  and the twists and turns of their ups and downs, and of the curves I had come to hate and fear, which   were impossible to escape, so I gritted my teeth and clenched the arm rest beside me until we finally descended into a beautiful green valley – the town of Wenatchee, Washington, the “Apple Capital of the World.”

It was a breath of fresh air after hours of driving through a desolate area.

Not only was the valley below filled with orchards, but the mountain walls surrounding the valley were, as well. And not just with apple orchards but with all kinds of fruit. 

The inviting Wenatchee River flowed through the valley, and that night, we camped near the river at the County Park.

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered during this trip it’s that the landscape and road conditions can change within a mile’s drive! And that’s what happened when we left the valley and parted ways with Highway 20, our old original, on which we had driven over 2000 miles in the last ten days!

Leaving the beautiful Wenatchee Valley, we turned south on US Highway 97. The road ascended as quickly as the gas prices! Now the mountains were green and fertile with wild plants, natural trees,  and living creatures.

And a short distance further south, the scenery changed  yet again! 

The windy, hot, dry climate, typical of this area of Washington surrounded us. Although 100 degrees, when we stopped for gas, we noticed how much cooler it seemed than 100 degrees.  Now we know what people mean when they say its a dry heat. Nonetheless, we were in a desert, so our plans to “boondock” overnight needed to change. I called ahead to Yakima and booked us a site. It was one of the strangest we’ve ever had – such tight quarters in the middle of a large city, next to an RV storage lot. But we had electric and the AC we needed thanks to Site #40!

Have you read the series of posts from our Trip West? Click here to start with #1 The North Begins at Clare. Scroll down in the home page tab “Home Sweet Home” to find all the posts.

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Click here to read the next Post, #12 Into the Gorge

3 Replies to “#11 As Far West As We Go on Highway 2”

  1. Another great jaunt with Kathi! Glad for your safe travels. We leave for ID, OR, WA, and UT next week. Our focus is National Parks. So much to see and write about. Enjoy your day. God bless!

  2. Thanks for sharing all these amazing adventures and pictures! Priceless experience!

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