Montana - Aug 21 - 29

Our drive out of Yellowstone involved a bit of road construction but we got very lucky because the route we took had been closed due to fire/smoke most of our visit and saved us 3+ hours of driving when it opened briefly.

We stopped in Mammoth, MT hoping to see some Elk, but instead were treated to a tour of the Hot Springs by a most attractive ranger!

Katie, hot on the trail of the elk. 

After hiking to the top, we returned to Big Country a bit tired and ready to continue our drive.  But I guess we didn't work as hard as our cat who somehow manages to exhaust himself every time we leave him locked in the RV.  Maybe we should open the windows? (jk you cat lovers!)

The next stop was Bozeman, MT.  The Museum of the Rockies is located in the heart of Bozeman...and as luck would have it, allows 1 RV to park for in their lot each night.  We'd always dreamed of parking next to a TRex!  

Getting to wake up next to the museum's "living farm"  was a treat.

We spent the last hour before they closed and half of the next day at the museum and could have spent more time. Awesome museum for kids.

Came around the corner to find this "hey sis, I have an idea, let's touch the moon!"

We biked on a trail (similar to the Monon in Indianapolis) from the museum to downtown Bozeman and visit the library and a few shops for the afternoon. 

We drove until dark and stopped at the Walmart on the south side of Flathead Lake in Polson, MT.  Maybe we should ask Walmart to host a contest for the best sunrises photos from their lots?

It was a quick drive in the AM to our home for the next few days - Big Fork, MT. Spent the afternoon swimming in the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi.  Clear, clean, beautiful.  

Ok, so for those of you who snickered at the Kitchen Aid mixer and waffle maker coming along, so far, the mixer has only been needed once, but the waffle maker is proving to a be multi-tool

Driving up to a place like this for worship is spiritual in itself.

But this is not spiritual.  Thankfully God helped someone create a 50lbs dryer to speed up the process! 

We departed Big Fork and headed to Glacier National Park where we stayed at our first KOA campground in the town of St. Mary's.  The kids enjoyed the heated pool and we all participated in a Finlander type shower that included standing under a large bucket of dumping ice water, jumping into the cold pool, and then returning to the hot tub.  Based on the looks from our fellow campers, I think they thought we were all crazy.  Probably right. If you want to feel alive (or maybe close to dying) try it sometime! (Sadly no pictures)

Ok, first, we make so many mistake we could fill this blog with what-not-to-do. I'm sure our full-timing neighbors get a chuckle from us.  Second, we have no physics majors onboard, BUT....this just looks like a bad idea?

The first day in Glacier we hiked the Swift current trail to Red Rock lake.  The second day, we hiked 6.2 miles with a 1000 feet of elevation gain on 2 different trails - Hidden Lake and St. Mary/Virginia Falls.  We were very proud of the kids and their stamina. Here again, pictures will be better than words:


Lakes and Waterfalls

Animals that cross right to left:

And one that didn't cross at all:

At each National park we've visited, there is a Junior Ranger program.  The kids get a booklet they have to complete that teaches them about the park and it's resources.  At the end, they present it to a Ranger and are sworn in as a Junior Ranger for that park. 

As for our Montana dish...we had to cheat a bit. Bison meat alluded us, but we enjoyed Wanna-be Bison stew:

1/4 c olive oil
2 lbs cubed Montana bison (or beef) browned
1 Yellow onion
1/6 cup flour
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup Montana beer
2 carrots cut
2 potatoes cubed
Thyme, Bay Leaves, garlic, pepper, salt, and a spice of your choice
1/2 can tomato paste

It was time to cross out of this great country and see our friends to the north and their side of Glacier. We had spent much time and $ obtaining passports, reading about what is and is not allowed across the border, and fretting over whether they would confiscate a favorite wine that had traveled with us from Indiana (aptly named "Conundrum"). But in the end, our experience at the border was barely long enough to get a picture.  

We spent a few hours in Waterton, AB and visiting the Prince of Wales hotel before heading north. 

And we ended our first night in Canada in a town called Pincher Creek, AB.  Guess what they have here!!

We'll be traveling from Calgary, to Banff, Jasper, and then across to Vancouver during the month of September. An amazing journey so far. We thank God for his gifts and pray for continued safe travels.