One of our hardest decisions to make, in our 'state' of wandering, is 'What Direction'? This can lead to HUGE arguments! (Not!) Debbie says: "How about West"? I say: "How far"? Debbie says: "I don't know". I say: "Ashley Lake is out West of Kalispell." Debbie says: "OK". These arguments get intense! I had to sit down and rest after that one!
Ashley Lake is a beautiful Lake in the Mountains about 12 miles west of Kalispell. All the roads across the Flathead Valley are clear of snow and ice until you get up to about 4,000 feet elevation (Kalispell is right at 3,000 feet). Then they are snow covered....or I should say ICE covered, and a bit slick but with studded tires there is no real concern. We headed West out of Batavia on Batavia Lane which becomes Ashley Lake Road and goes over the mountains and down to Ashley Lake which is about 4 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. Not a large lake out here, but a Lake surrounded by mountains is beautiful. Quite a few people have homes on the lake but many are only Summer homes. Unlike the larger lakes like Flathead Lake and Lake McDonald, it freezes over and is a stark white level plain.
We left Ashley Lake heading South toward US-2. We're still are on Ashley Lake Road... as there are many Ashley Lake Roads. Ashley Lake North, Ashley Lake South, Ashley Lake West and Lower Ashley Lake..... We noticed that out here in Montana they often do not put the name of the road you are ON on the road signs. The sign post only has the name of the cross road on it. Hmmm! Maybe these Montanans know which road they are on. But how do they expect 'new-bee's' to know what road they are on, much less the Flatland Tourists! Anyway as long as we were on Ashley Lake Road we figured we would eventually get to US-2. And just before getting to US-2 we noticed many sets of tracks in the snow crossing the road and going up the hill on our left. Deer tracks! Those things are everywhere! We saw several before getting to US-2 just standing in the edge of the woods along the road, I could have sworn one of them thumbed their nose at me! (probably would have if they had thumbs)
|Three of the many we saw along this road|
So, getting to US-2, we noticed it was 10 minutes after 12. We are LATE for Lunch!!! Debbie had not even noticed, but I had! We headed to Downtown Kalispell and had a great lunch a Sykes.
After lunch we decided to go East on US-2 to East Glacier Park just for the Drive. Another Huge argument! This one, not as bad as the first, lasted only 4-5 seconds. Debbie said: "Want to go to East Glacier"? I said: "Yes". I did not even have to sit down and rest! We went East out of Kalispell through Evergreen on Montana 35 and turned left on Montana 206. Our lot we purchased last April is just 10 miles North on 206, just two miles before getting to Columbia Falls. This is what it looks like at the 206 and 35 junction and it looks like that all the way to our lot.
When we came out to Glacier National Park in past years, we rented an old ranch, Rising Wolf Ranch, on the East side of Glacier NP and thought we would drive by and photograph the Mountains across the road that leads to Rising Wolf Ranch. Very different in Winter..........
|Skeleton Mt (right) Little Dog and Summit Mts (left)|
|Calf Robe Mountain on the right|
This is what it looks like in the Summer!
|Little Dog Mt (left) Summit Mt (center) and Skeleton Mt (right)|
|Summit (far Left) Skeleton Mt (center) and Calf Robe Mt (right)|
|Calf Robe Mountain|
We drove on up to East Glacier Park and reminisced about the past and enjoyed seeing the small town of East Glacier Park again. Heading back on US-2 (notice if you go anywhere out here, it is on US-2) we could not even see Calf Robe, Skeleton, and Elk Mountains because of a snow squall that was covering the Mountains. The weather changes so fast out here, we had only gone 8 miles to East Glacier Park and back, less than 30 minutes and it looked totally different!
Heading on West of Maria's Pass, we noticed a Deer on a small island in a stream along the road. I quickly turned around and went back up past it and turned around again as the Deer was on the right side of the road and I hoped that Debbie could get a couple of snapshots before they fled. They had no intention of doing the 'flee' thing, that word was not even in their vocabulary! No one was coming down the Mountain behind us, so I stopped in the road and was able to get out of the car and get a few snapshots while Debbie was snapping a few from inside the car. We got several snapshots before, in disgust, they turned up their tails and left........ Deer are soooo insensitive!
|Goofy Deer playing in the stream|
|Turn tail and run!|
Stopping in to West Glacier, we went to a bridge that crossed McDonald creek on the Polebridge road and checked for Ducks. There were several Goldeneye Ducks on the creek and we got a few snapshots. Some shots show their 'footprints' in the water as they 'run' across the water to get airborne. It was late and the light was too low to set up our tripods and get some good photographs of the Ducks. We will wait a little closer to Spring to get serious about that.
|Goldeneye ducks running to take off|
While in Glacier National Park we just could not resist stopping by McDonald Lake for a shot or two of the Lake near Sunset. We found a young couple out on the dock enjoying the view.
|Young Couple enjoying the view|
And as it gets a little later the Mountains light up with a golden glow! The Mountains across Lake McDonald are a kaleidoscope of color from first light in the morning to last light in the evening.
|Last light on the Mountains|
Another great day in Montana! Even if it was a little 'overcast' as we returned home, we did not even notice. Of course, Debbie was asleep on the passenger side!