Friday, July 31, 2009

Chumming Around on Friday Night

We had dinner with our dear friends Ken and Penny. What a charming couple. Penny looks a little sleepy, but she is really a ball of fire.
Jennifer was making fun of me and took this picture. It is not my best look. Now that I am taking fish oil to lower my triglycerides I think I look a little fishy. Your thoughts???
Ken and Barbie, no I mean Penny, live in this wonderful house in south central Springfield. We talked books, movies and kids. Three interesting topics...

Current Reading - Dostoevsky

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky would have been hard to top at a cocktail party. (I have trouble saying his name so it sounds like "dust of jet ski." Hope this helps...)

Just as you’re getting ready to tell everyone about what you saw on the way to work this morning, Fyodor has to recall the time he was forced to dig his own grave, stood facing a firing squad and, right as the bullets were to be let loose, his sentence was commuted and he was packed off to five cheery years in a Siberian labor camp where he developed a nice case of epilepsy. But God did enter his life while visiting Siberia and the rest is history...

Jennifer and I are currently reading great Russian literature. Who would ever think it? We are winding our way through The Brothers Karamazov. One dysfunctional family with some interesting family members. Don't pick it up if you are looking for some fathering role models. More when I know more.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 12 Glacier - Postscript or Pre-Post Mortem

This is the last posting for the 2009 Glacier Trip. We had a wonderful time. We find that many of our friends have never been there. In the picture above we see friends together experiencing the wonders of the great outdoors. Maybe you see yourself in this picture too?

Pictures can only take you so far. To really get the feel you need to be there, smell the air, turn a 360 and see only God's wonderous creation. We are planning a return trip next summer sometime in July. We are looking for some adventerous friends to join us and share the fun.

We are scoping out some new places to stay and home base this operation. Think about it. Everyone ought to go at least once.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 12 Glacier Trip - The Road Home

Ms. Garmin was our traveling companion. She was a great help. Driving through Butte, MT late morning and feeling like a coffee drink, just ask Ms. Garmin. 2.3 miles to the south and I will lead you there. We found food, drink, Barnes and Noble and many other interesting and helpful places all over Montana. She will also tell you when you will arrive at the desired destination.

Getting near home as we pass through Kansas City. Only 3 hours to go. No problem - little more than a hop, skip and a jump to our own bed, own food and own shower...

Shot this skyline picture of Omaha. Wished we could have stopped and made a day of it. But the horse was heading toward home to the barn, so look out.

Day 11 Glacier - The Long Road Home

Today we traveled from Sheridan, WY to Sioux Falls, SD, a trip of about 600 miles. Here Jennifer is on the hill overlooking the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark stood here as they traveled down Hwy 90 on their way west. L & C really had real trouble with buying gas along their trip west.
Dear friends, Scott and Sarah Sailer, welcomed us into their home in Sioux Falls. Scott pastors Faith Lutheran and Sarah teaches and helps administrate Sioux Falls Lutheran School. We knew Scott and Sarah during our years in Staunton, IL. Scott was in the seminary and Sarah taught kindergarten for Zion Lutheran. Sarah was Miriam's kindergarten teacher. Scott is displaying a special concoction he served over ice cream. It was terrific.

Scott and Sarah are the proud parents of three wonderful sons. We watched the baby of the family perform with the Rockford, IL Phanton Regiment in competation in Atlanta, GA. He travels all over the country with this drum and bugel corp.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 10 Glacier Trip - GNP to Sheridan WY

It is now Friday and time to head for home. The return trip will be broken into three 8-hour days of driving. This tends not to be our best time - together. For whatever reason, Jennifer becomes a tiny bit anxious when I am driving and (it is always the "and" part that really gets her going) eating, getting something out of the back seat, looking at the map and oh so many other things to past the time. I have assured her that I can do many things at once, but she doubts...
Most of the day looked like this. Buy your gas early and start getting nervous at about 1/2 a tank because it is a long ways between watering holes. I remember reading this in grand pappy's diary as he would wear out a horse in the morning and then need to trade with the Native American Blackfeet by noon to continue his journey. Made 578 miles to Sheridan, WY-- all without serious incident. See Paul for a full recounting of the less serious events that transpired.

Day 9 Glacier - Many (Mini) Glacier Lodge

Jennifer is sitting on the observation deck of Many Glacier Lodge. For the longest time I thought they were saying Mini Glacier. As the glaciers fade mini might be more descriptive of the area. Isn't this what vacation is all about??? No television, no cell phones and no wifi.

A friendly soul offered to shoot the happy couple. Some thought Jennifer had come with her father. Must be the gray hair and poor hearing?
This is Mount Baker discovered long ago by my mother's grandfather. What an honor to be pictured with it in the background from Many Glacier Lodge, aka "somewhat primative lodging with big prices."
If only we had another day, I was eager to conquer this small mountain. But alas no time... Maybe next year. It is a three day hike to the peak... It is not quite as tall as Mount Baker.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 9 Glacier - Meadows of Flowers

The meadows of Glacier are full of this white bloom called Bear Grass. Bears do not eat it and our ranger was not sure why it got the name, but it is beautiful.
About 8 miles into the hike and Jennifer needed to cool her heels. She got some nasty blisters under her toe nails on this trip. How does one do that? I told her she needed to "pick up her feet more." My comments were not appreciated. I told her my middle name was "sensitive," with a first name of "not" and a last name of "at all." Good thing it was our last hiking day. The water was so cold you could only keep you feet in for a few moments.
Flowers were blooming everywhere. This picture is a poor shot of the wonderful view. You must go to see it for yourself.
This professional hiker allowed me to take her picture. Note the posture and sturdy hiking poles. What a life...

Day 9 Glacier - Hiking to Iceberg Lake

The hike to Iceberg Lake is being sized up by Jennifer. It will take lots of energy to walk the 10+ miles up and back. The weather is warm and sunny. Our destination lies just below the large snowfield in the distance--about 4 miles at this point.
Here is hiker Paul at the first rest area. We saw a moose, alpine mouse, marmots and just a brief moment sighting of the western wolverine. Being from Michigan, I am gifted at the wolverine spotting.
Here is beautiful Iceberg Lake. It was really cool in many different ways. It is well worth the energy to visit this scenic spot. The path to Iceberg was like a freeway with many hikers. We are planning an evening showing of our 2500 slides. Wait for your invitation in the mail...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 8 Glacier - Around the South End & Back

Jennifer and I drove around the south end of Glacier on Hwy 2 over Marias Pass. Saw the Red Tour Bus stopped here and discovered this wonderful water fall. I am sure it was the inspiration for the new Bass Pro landscaping on the corner of Campbell and Sunshine.
We have seen many beautiful flowers at Glacier. They are all in a hurry to bloom and make seeds before the fall snows start. Here is but one to encourage you to visit this place yourself.

We drove back through the park and stopped at all the places we missed on Sunday when we first arrived. This photo is on Avalanche Creek. There is a wonderful board walk through the cedars to the creek. This area is like a tropic rainforest with many mature trees. Being mature myself I could identify with this area.
Cutting through the rock bluff is Avalanche Creek. We decided to not hike to Avalanche Lake but instead leave it for our next visit. Notice the water's color. Blue green water is a sure bet of glacier runoff. But don't you runoff until you see the next picture.

This gorge at Sunlit has really cut deep. It got into the low 90's today but the breeze coming out the gorge is about 60 degrees. Jennifer had to put her arms around me to stop my shivers. I was faking some for more holding. Tomorrow we will have no cell phone or internet coverage as we stay inside the park. So take a day off from running home to check our glacier vacation and check in with us on Friday evening when we get to Sheridan, WY as we start the long trip home. We will be hiking 10 miles to see Iceburg Lake most of the day tomorrow at Many Glacier. Friend Glenn wonders if this travel log could be come a mini-series. I'm think it lacks a little action. Your thoughts?

Day 8 Glacier - Mountain Pine Motel

Welcome to Mountain Pine Motel in East Glacier, Montana. This is a wonderful place to stay. With day time high of 90 one might think hot, but the night time temps of upper forties to low fiftys will really cool your heels. Pile the covers on and wait for Jennifer to walk the block for warm coffee at the Whistle Stop. What could be better? Not for the really early riser because the coffee is only available after 7 AM. By the way everyone drives a Subaru up here so we are mainstreams in the car department.
If you arrive on the Amtrack train just a few blocks south of here the friendly staff of MP will pick you up in their bus. Load the luggage and off you go to your home near the mountains at Mountain Pine. The rates are wonderful and the service superb.
Here are the owners, Doris and Terry Sherburne, who will do anything to make your stay terrific. They open in May and give up for winter sometime in the fall. Make your reservations early as they tend to hang out the "no vacancy sign" quite often.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 7 Glacier Trip - Logan Pass/Hidden Lake

Tuesday: We took it a little bit easier today. We entered the park at St. Mary's and rode the shuttle to Logan's Pass. We looked over the visitor center and took the 1.5 mile hike to "Hidden Lake".
We got a passerby to take our picture for the 09 Christmas photo. Nice shot of the mountain and Jennifer. I am still looking a little thick in my photo. Too many trail snacks...
Here is "Hidden Lake." It sure was hidden. We walked up and up and through the snow. A 1.5 mile walk does not sound like much until you get here. Our good friend Jeep said this was a great hike and she was right. Tell my friend Rhoda not to read this as she thinks I need to focus on vacation and not this blog. More when I know more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 6 Glacier - The Incredible Hike

Times got serious at Glacier today. It was time to hit the trail. We joined the park ranger at 10:30 a.m. for the assault on "Scenic Point". You have never seen a hike like this... only 6.2 total miles up and back but the up part was 2350 feet. That means a step forward and a step up. There were rocks, rocks, and more rocks to trip over, slide on and hike through. It was exhasting and wonderful all in the same motion. Here is Jennifer on the way up. Still looking fit and chipper.
Here is one of the more serious hikers who took the "most strenuous" walk in the park. Some of you might know him as Hiker Raul Baker.
One of the pictures taken from the top of the world. What a wild walk! This is Scenic Point. Walk up there when you come to Glacier. You will always remember the trip with a view of Lower and Upper Two Medicine Lakes.
Jennifer is a real trooper and pushed herself to the top. We had a bite to eat and then down the same path we struggled up. Tomorrow we look for even a greater challenge for ourselves (not). The apline flower were all blooming and quite beautiful.

Day 6 Glacier Hearty Breakfast

This is an early morning photo of Jennifer in front of the sign for the motel where we're staying. She told Paul to stay "way back."
Paul is checking out other accommodations. Jennifer said "no" due to the lack of indoor plumbing.

Glacier humor -- the people here are quite nice, but a little unconventional. This is not to be confused with "free range."

Here's where the early morning coffee is purchased with a number of other items. It opens at 7 a.m. and Paul was perched outside at 6:50 a.m.

One needs a hearty breakfast to hit the trail--fresh asparagus omelet.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 5 - Finally Made It To Glacier

We have arrived. Here is a picture of Mount Everest towering in the distance. We hope to climb to the top tomorrow. Today it was enough to get here and take my first nap at the Mountain Pine Motel. 89 year old Doris, the owner, is a real sweetie. She told me to enjoy vacation and put the computer away. Oh that older generation.
Here Jennifer is modeling in front of the Glacier Peaks. Is she not the prettiest mountain girl?
Did you know the Amtrak comes to Glacier? Here we are standing at the train station looking at the historic Glacier Mountain Lodge. We ran into all of Jennifer's hiking friends who arrived at the Lodge as we were looking around. What a terrific day. Off to supper and bed to get ready for a day of hiking.

Day 4B Glacier Boat Ride Lake Flathead

Although she doesn't appear too happy, Jennifer really is enjoying this evening tour on Flathead Lake in Polson, MT. Ralph is the fearless and capable captain at the helm.

Looking across Flathead Lake with the Mission Range of the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

Another view of the mountain surrounding Flathead Lake.