Tag Archives: outdoors

West Glacier National Park, Montana

Farm Montana

My journey to West Glacier National Park did not start out as I had planned. Less than two hours into the trip, I encountered snow and strong winds. There were travel advisories out, especially in the direction I was heading. Hearing the travel advisories only 2 hours into a 12 hour trip, I debated about turning around and cancelling. That thought would come again as the time passed.

During the journey, I struggled to see the road, was unsure if I was even on the road, and had to slow to an almost crawl in order to prevent spinning out. Almost no one was out, save for some power crews who gave me a thumbs up and smile as they traveled in the opposite direction. I am not sure if their thumbs up and smile was to say, “good job dumbass for being on the road in this white out”, or, “way to go for having the balls to get out in this shit”. They either thought I was extremely mad, or extremely brave, or maybe even bravely mad. Regardless, it was good to pass them occasionally on the otherwise human-less journey.

The trip ended up being about 2-3 hours more than originally planned because of the weather, but it eventually cleared or maybe I had just driven through it, and when I saw the mountain peaks off in the distance I knew it was going to be worth the obstacles.

The tiredness and stress from the trip disappeared as the sky cleared and I entered what was going to be my stomping grounds for the next few days.

As soon as I was crossing one of the bridges, I spotted this remarkable barn. It was postcard perfect and I couldn’t resist coming to a stop and jumping out of the car to snap a few shots of it.

Farm Montana

 

The scenery that was to follow was just as beautiful and I oohhh’d and ahhh’d the entire way to the lodge. I wasn’t disappointed when I checked into the inviting West Glacier Lodge with its comfortable bed and warmth against the cold. The hot shower after the long drive was magnificent. I don’t know if it was from the stressful drive, the beauty around me, exhaustion or what but I cried the first night and sank into the big bed to drift off to sleep.

I stayed at Glacier Outdoor Lodge. Beautiful view, great room, and relaxing atmosphere.

One day, I ventured out of the park down an old back road and happened upon a unique store, Home Ranch Bottoms, that is “off the grid” in Polebridge, Montana. The owner was out changing batteries (that’s where their electricity comes from) and offered to open the gift shop store for me. Even with no electricity, I wandered through and found some gifts to send back to some of my Florida family. The owner was pleasant and gracious even though I had interrupted his chores. I’ll definitely revisit the store on my next trip.

Great little place to spend some time and unwind.
Home Ranch Bottoms
Home Ranch Bottoms BBQ. Wasn’t done when I got there. Maybe I’ll get the chance to try it on my return trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the next few days, I discovered nothing but spectacular beauty, experienced a relaxation difficult to find, discovered a magic I did not know existed, and lavished in Mother Earth’s wonders.

After this trip, I decided to add this to my “must do destinations”. It was simply one of the most refreshing and wonderful trips I had in a while and I am looking forward to going back!

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Falls Park, Sioux Falls – Let’s Relax

Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota? A little time to relax!

After leaving Minot the second week of February, I never imagined I would have found myself heading back north three weeks later. On March 4, I found myself on a journey back to the Dakotas with Aberdeen, South Dakota as my destination. Prior to reaching it, my first true exploration on the journey to the frozen land was Falls Park in Sioux Falls.

In the past, the Native Americans used the quartzite from this area to make ornaments and utensils to use in everyday life. This same material from here has been used by the white man as early as 1822. Presently, it is used today in concrete construction.

Sioux Falls had the nickname of Queen City, with the falls being the center of the city years ago. In addition, the Queen Bee Mill was there to take full advantage of the falls’ power. The mill was a seven-story building at one time, however, there are only parts of it that remain after a fire in 1956.

The park is a wonderful area for exploration as it covers 123 acres and approximately 7400 gallons of water drop over the falls every second. If that isn’t enough, the beauty and history of the area add to the allure.

Unfortunately, during my visit, the observation tower wasn’t opened. Things up here tend to be very seasonal due to weather conditions so if you plan a visit, plan accordingly. Thankfully there was no snow to contend with and I just struggled with the strong, cold winds during my visit.

As I walked through the park, I noticed a tower off in the distance. It resembled Big Ben. And then there were twin towers off to the right of this clock tower. I had to check them out to see what they were and was not disappointed.

http://www.siouxlandmuseums.com/museums/exhibits/old_courthouse_museum.asp
Old Courthouse Museum
http://www.sfcatholic.org/
Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls
http://www.siouxlandmuseums.com/museums/exhibits/old_courthouse_museum.asp
Old Courthouse Museum
http://www.sfcatholic.org/
Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls

Both Falls Park and finding these two buildings gave me a great break in my travels and allowed wonderful photo opportunities.  I am going to try to go back here on my return trip (assuming I return this way and don’t have another assignment straight away) and go up in the tower, as well as have a bite in the cafe at the park.

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