Monday, July 15, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 16

The Two Old Buzzards and Fannie Mae bid a fond adieu to Stumptown today and headed for Yaak. “Where's Stumptown and what's Yaak?” Stumptown is the nickname for Whitefish, Montana because that's the name the area was first called in the late 1800s. In 1901, when the Great Northern Railroad  started to build in the area, a lot of tree stumps had to be cleared away because of all the lumbering that had been going on  for several years. The railway was completed by 1904 and the area was then named Whitefish.

Back to Yaak. It is a tiny town (population 248) in northwestern Montana that we read about in “Off the Beaten Path Montana”. It is about 12 miles south of the Canada/USA border. The author described Yaak as being a great place for Road Warriors who enjoy visiting places seen by relatively few travelers. So it sounded like the perfect cup o' Road Kill for the old buzzards. Just think about it, not many places remaining in the contiguous forty-eight states can claim to be more off the beaten path than this isolated corner of the Big Sky State. The buzzards are proud to report that they found it and only got lost once. Heck, they got lost more than that finding their way in and out of Whitefish. You just can't always believe where those GPS devices tell you to turn. Today's adventures were mostly on Forest Service roads which were very good and the traffic was mostly nonexistant. On the way to the Forest Service roads, John made a u-turn for photos in Eureka. There were also some unusual business names. Would you go to Grizzly Eye Care? How about Potter's Field Lodge? Just down the road were the Grave Creek Cabins. Might your appetite take a dive if you arrived at the On the Fly restaurant? Got tension? Have a Moosage (see photo gallery for cute moose sign). A first for Linda was a huckleberry latte' which was so large it lasted for at least 50 miles. There were oodles of wildflowers as we got higher in elevation. It was easy to stop along the road to take photos.

The Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak was closed when we arrived but lunch was available across the street at the Yaak Saloon. John had a garlic herb chicken breast sandwich. Linda had a bean burger. It was described on the menu as being the perfect meal for bark eaters. They had a nice patio out back  with wooden booths. John got a Yaak t-shirt and bumper sticker next door at the Yaak Mercantile to prove to the world that he had found his way there. Linda got a postcard with a recipe for huckleberry pie and another one with Yaak photos.

South of Yaak there were signs for a scenic area leading to Kootenai Falls and a suspension bridge at a historical area. The old buzzards and Fannie were enjoying their hike and had just passed over the railroad tracks on a metal bridge leading to steps that were a part of the hike. They were metal steps that had large openings in the design – large enough for Fannie's paws to go right through so she wisely realized that she wanted nothing to do with proceeding. Since there were no volunteers to carry her to and from the suspension bridge and the falls, everyone made a u-turn and headed back.

The next scenic stop was more rewarding. A server at the Yaak Saloon had told John about Ross Creek Cedars which was easy to find. There was a 1/2 mile nature trail with lush ferns, lots of cedar trees from small to huge, various other pine and fir trees, streams, mosses, lichen and information placards to explain the inner workings of Mother Nature's handiwork. Below is a picture of Linda caught in between two huge cedar trees.

How about a little squeeze?

Our destination for today was Trout Creek, the huckleberry capitol of the Montana. They have had a huckleberry festival in August for the last 30 years or so. The old buzzards and Fannie Mae are staying at Trout Creek Motel and RV Park. Just a few minutes ago Fannie Mae and Linda went out for a stroll and, lo and behold, they came across at least 10 huckleberry bushes. Linda is going out tomorrow with her camera and a container for huckleberries.

Another nice motel. Clean and reasonable.

Linda got in lots of ukelele sight reading today and is now on songs that begin with the letter “T” in Jumpin Jim's Daily Ukelele. While she was on “Sing” by Joe Raposo (1971) John suggested that it would make a good SONG O' THE DAY”. You might remember Joe Raposo of Sesame Street fame. Here's a little of how it goes: “Sing! Sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out strong. Sing of good things, not bad; sing of happy, not sad. Sing! Sing a song. Make it simple to last your whole life long. Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Sing! Sing a song!” You might say that this is Joe's version of “Dance Like Nobody's Watching” for singers and wanna-be singers.

It was a surprisingly busy photo day with a final count of 84 images. You can view the photo gallery by clicking here.

Happy trails!

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