Tuesday, we left our campsite on the Flathead River for the day..we were busy being tourists..
Our route encompassed a drive around Flathead lake, the largest lake west of the Mississippi River..
Our first stop this morning was the Bearpaws Store on Highway 93..home of those beautifully made small black bears that I collect.
We spent some time perusing the store..
..so many bear statues to choose from…
..there was even some that were in the process of being made..
but the best part of this first stop was the fact the creator of these fine pieces of art was in actual fact at the store..Jeff Fleming.
I did manage to purchase three more to add to my collection and Jeff even signed the bottom of them..
Tucker even was allowed to go into the store and get his photo taken..
..there is also the workshop beside the gallery..
..my new additions to my collection are packed away in the jeep..so I will share them when we get home..
..Next stop..the town of Big Fork..
a small little town on the shore of Flathead Lake..
this mansion we spotted..wonder who lives here?
..first swimming stop for Tucker..the Big Fork Lagoon..
..we continued onward..driving along the shore of the Flathead lake..cherry orchards aplenty..
..we even purchased some cherries..it is always good to support the local growers..
a stop at Finley Point State park..the campsites were in a parking lot complete with the white lines?
..then it was time for another swim at Ducharme..a bug infested spot on the lake..we didn’t last too long here..
..lunch time in Polson…
..after we finished eating we headed south towards Missoula..to the National Bison Refuge..
we paid our $5 admission fee and headed up the mountain..19 miles of a one way gravel road..
the views were amazing..
..there were two Bison after we climbed the first hill..one was busy rolling around in the dust..either he was itchy or trying to find a cool place to lay down..
..we stopped at the Bitteroot Trail… and there was a ‘bear near the sign..
..oh wait it was just Bart…
a 1/4 mile long trail and view was incredible..
.the silence and vastness of the valley is just breathtaking..
made us feel very small in the whole grand scheme of things..
at this elevation, 15,000 years ago we would have been standing on a small island in the middle of a glacial lake that would have filled the entire valley…
..time for a potty break..have you?..at almost 5000 feet?
..this was the summit and now we had to head back down..
..we have only seen two bison?…where are they all?
..as we proceeded down the backside of the mountain..this was blocking our path…
..here they all are..hanging around the road…big as life..
..only a few more miles till the exit and we spotted elk and a coyote..
..and then some more Bison..just at the exit..
..this being our first ever National Bison Refuge tour..we were very happy with the whole experience..worth doing if you are ever in the neighbourhood..
..Tucker had been so patient.. he got to have a run at the rest area..another great grass area..
Our last touristy stop today was the Kerr Dam..where the Flathead lake meets the Flathead River…
Doug hiked down the stairs and back up again..all in the name of taking some great pictures..
..our day is almost done..almost a 200 mile tour..
but you know there is always one more opportunity for Tucker..a swim at the dog park..
and a token Flying Wallenda shot..
we finally arrived back at our campsite at 8:00..tired but happy that we had such a great day..
we had a visitor come by on the river..Jeff Fleming..out for an evening kayak ride..
..well if you made it all the way to the end of this very long post..Kudos to you..if your eyes have glazed over?..mine too…what a day!!!
..it ended with a quick dinner and a real campfire in the hopes of keeping the mosquitoes at bay..