Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Break Road Trip - Part 1

Wow! Has it really been over 2 months since I've posted?? I guess it takes something big like Spring Break to get me back into it.  Or maybe just a break, period.  Since it feels too overwhelming to cover the last 2+ months, I'll just start with the most recent and work my way back if I get inspired.

On the Road Again
As is tradition with us, we planned another road trip for our spring break this year. Instead of going south to California to visit Melody or straight up north to Washington and B.C. to visit friends and our alma mater as we have in the past, we decided to take a gorgeous northeastern jaunt to Hungry Horse, Montana and then Lethbridge, Alberta. This time, it was my sister visiting her two daughters and their husbands that pulled us that direction.

It was another long haul of staying put in our little Camry this year, so we tried to keep ourselves from going insane by playing the license plate game. I personally thought it might be achievable to reach a total of 25 different state license plates and perhaps 6 or 7 different provincial license plates. The 'boys' had much loftier goals, shooting for all 50 states and 13 provinces by the end of the trip! Let's just say I came much, much closer to reaching my goal than they did.

States                        Provinces
Alaska                                       Alberta
California                                  British Columbia
Colorado                                   Manitoba
Florida                                      Ontario
Hawaii (in Lethbridge)                 Saskatchewan
North Dakota
South Dakota


On the way, we managed to spot more than just license plates. We saw three trumpeter swans swimming in a river along the road and stopped to admire them through our binoculars. We also enjoyed watching the magpies and bald eagles fly above and around us for good sections of our trip. We spotted deer and elk just off the road in Canada, but to my great disappointment, no moose. We also saw gophers and many different domesticated animals, some standing right in the middle of the road with not a worry in the world. But by far, the most impressive sights of all were the Rocky Mountains. Andrew knew they would be and read to us Psalm 121 at breakfast on our first day as we set out. The psalm starts like this:  "I lift my eyes up to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." As the psalmist could appreciate the Creator from looking at the mountains' majesty, so could we.

Glacier National Park 
Though much of Glacier National Park's roads were buried under snow, we had a great time enjoying the awe-inspiring views that several feet of snow could never hide. Part of Going-To-The-Sun Road was open so that we did in fact go into the park.

Here are a few of the pictures that capture our adventures within the park's boundaries.

Somebody learned how to skip rocks and managed to get up to 5 skips!!

Hungry Horse and White Fish
We stayed in a cabin 8 miles from the West Glacier entrance in the town Hungry Horse (named so after two horses that got lost for a span of a week back in the late 1800's. When they were found, they were skinny but alive).

The cabin was  part of the Tamarack Lodge Cabins, and though it looks simple enough from the outside, it had a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a family room with a flat screen t.v. and a full bathroom. We also had housekeeping services for the three days that we were there, which was a huge treat for me!! I tell ya, it was absolutely nothing like the Little-House-on-the-Prairie days, as it would appear Isaiah had imagined in his mind the day before we arrived. Ha!!

While in Hungry Horse, we had to stop and check out the Hungry Horse Dam.
It was spectacular, mostly because of its setting and its sheer height. Brielle got a better perspective on its height than all of us when Andrew bent down over the edge while she was on his shoulders. It was a nauseating view, but she managed to keep her lunch down! 
The west side.

The east side.

Still working on keeping her lunch down?? ;)

Our visit in Hungry Horse would not have been complete without tasting something with wild huckleberries from the local Huckleberry Patch. I don't think I've ever seen so many products made with huckleberries..or so much purple all in one store for that matter. We settled with huckleberry ice cream and it was very tasty!

One morning, we were all set to go skiing at the White Fish Resort a few miles from Hungry Horse, but the guy from whom we were going to rent our skis in the town of White Fish dissuaded us from going through with it on account of the slush. He was an instructor and said it would be a very frustrating day for the kids especially on their first attempt to ski. He was so intent on getting the message across that he spilled coffee all over himself while illustrating with a coffee cup how the kids' skis would get stuck in the snow. I was cracking up for the rest of our conversation. Poor guy must think I though he was an idiot, but I just thought he was hilarious! Anyway, we had to make new plans...and the new ones involved going to a swimming pool / rec place called The Wave right there in White Fish. It had three pools, a huge high-speed slide, and a hot tub. The kids were in H.E.A.V.E.N. and our wallets were happier. All is well that ends well on that one.