Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Gems of Helena

After Whitefish, I moved on to Helena, the capital of Montana. So, guess what is the first gem of Helena? The capitol!

Helena has these selfie spots all over town. Should I try it?

Maybe not - it's not so easy to do when you are taking photos with a camera, not a phone, and can't see what you're taking a picture of. The new version of my camera, the Canon SX730, has a screen that flips up so you can see what you are photographing.

Patricia and I went on a very good free tour of the capitol. The rotunda is beautiful, with pictures of Montana explorers in the four corners.

Above the Grand Staircase are statues of Mike and Maureen Mansfield.

Senator Mike Mansfield agreed to the statue only if his wife was included.

Above the Grand Staircase is a "barrel vault" ceiling, and a painting at the end. The painting is "Driving the Golden Spike." It shows Ulysses S. Grant driving the spike that completed the Northern Pacific's Transcontinental line. (The nation's second transcontinental line)

The most famous thing in the Montana capitol is this 25' by 12' Charles M. Russell painting in the House Chamber. It shows Lewis and Clark (in the upper right hand corner) meeting the Salish Indians at Ross' hole on September 4, 1805. This is where they got the horses to get them across the Rockies before winter came.

Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea in the upper center.

But here's the funny part-- Every person and animal in the painting is focused on Lewis and Clark except this wolf/dog in the foreground. He looks like he's about to bite the head off the Speaker of the House. Turns out Russell did not like the Speaker, but later they made up and became good friends.

The second gem of Helena is the Cathedral of St. Helena.

It is certainly one of the most beautiful churches in the country.

Completed in 1924, the highlight is the 59 huge stained glass windows.

Made in Munich, Germany, 37 of the windows tell the story of Christianity, from the fall of Adam and Eve (shown here) to the Church in the early 20th century.

Amidst all the saints and religious moments, this pane of Columbus seems out of place, but I guess it helps complete the story.

Although these are called stained glass, to me they seemed more like pieces of glass with intricate paintings on them. Just gorgeous!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wimpy Diana Moves to a Hookup!

The WINs moved to Missoula from Kalispell, but the temperatures we in the high 90s, so I went to Whitefish instead and scored a hookup at the Moose Lodge. Some wasps were busy in my electrical spot, but we managed to coexist.

I went to the Farmers Market in Whitefish and managed to get some Lambert cherries. I heard they were the best, and they were! And they were sold out in 5 minutes, but I managed to get a pound.

The other reason I went to Whitefish was the opportunity to go back to Glacier National Park. On the way, I took a side trip to see Hungry Horse dam.

I also stopped at some of the waterfalls along McDonald Creek.

But my main goal was the hike to Hidden Lake. When I did a short part of the trail 10 days ago, the fields were full of Glacial Lilies. But now there are very different flowers here!

Right off the bat, I saw some wildlife.

And farther on, a waterfall.

And wow! A mountain goat! Finally - the grizzly bear must have left the area.

It's a beautiful hike - my favorite kind, not in the trees, and fabulous views everywhere.

Hidden Lake is below that mountain in the distance.

My arrival at the overlook.

A panorama view of the entire lake.

You can walk down to the lake, but it's quite a bit lower and then you have to walk back up. So I stayed at the overlook.

On the way back, I walked by a mother and baby mountain goat right by the trail! Now I'm really happy!

Also on the way back, I got a good view of the Garden Wall, the glacial ridge on the continental divide.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Rest of the Stuff in Kalispell

We did lots of things around Kalispell for the 10 days that we were there in addition to Glacier National Park. One day we hiked to the top of the hill in Lone Pine State Park for a beautiful view of the city.

When I zoomed in, I could even see our rigs at the fairgrounds.

Afterwards, we stopped by Foy Lake, which is a beautiful blue-green color. It's better in person than in the photo.

I forgot - we went back to Glacier one more time to hike the Avalanche Lake trail. It's not my favorite, because it's hiking through the trees, but there are some pretty waterfalls along the way.

And once you reach the lake, it's beautiful, with lots of waterfalls running down the side of the mountains into the lake.

One day we went to the town of Whitefish, to spend the day at their City Beach.

I got distracted by this pair in their gold swim suits...

One morning we had a pajama party with mimosas for breakfast. These are the famous (infamous?) RV pajamas that are available now at Walmart for $10.

Here's a closeup - RV There Yet?

While we were feeling pretty good, we went back to Whitefish to the Whitefish Mountain Resort, where 4 of us went on the Alpine Slide.

I went first, hoping to get a picture of the others coming down. But I was so slow, I didn't get a picture of Cindy, but did get Mary Jane and Dave.

We then took the Scenic Lift up to the top of the mountain. I'm getting better at these selfies, huh?

The view from the top was absolutely fabulous!

Monday, August 7, 2017

My Favorite Hike in Glacier

A few days after our marathon trip through Glacier National Park, we went back to do my favorite hike, the Highline Trail. It begins at Logan Pass across the street from the Visitors Center. The trail starts out easy enough -

Then goes through a part that can be scary if you are afraid of heights. But I definitely am not!

The trail continues on the side of the hill, but it's not as steep. The Beargrass was still blooming and beautiful. Named by Lewis and Clark, it's a misnomer, since it's not a grass, and bears don't even like it.

Farther along, there was a lot of Beargrass that was almost done blooming.

We stopped for the obligatory photo.

I like this trail so much for two reasons - it is wide open with fantastic views, and every other time I've hiked it, there have been mountain goats using the same trail. Passing gets a little difficult in some places where the trail narrows. Unfortunately, we heard that a grizzly bear had chased all the goats away recently.

To see a post where I saw lots of mountain goats on this trail, click here.

We did see some cute wildlife on the trail -

But WOW, we hit the motherlode on the way back to the trailhead. 15-20 Bighorn Sheep!

Most were males, and this guy was definitely the alpha male. Look at the size of those horns!

After getting back to the Visitors Center, I walked up the Hidden Lake trail a little way to get a shot of the Glacier Lilies. They only are out for a little while right after the snow disappears.

It was a fantastic day!