Posted on Apr 19, 2010
Posted in fun facts

I had the pleasure of traveling about 60% of the state of Montana last week.  Unfortunately, most of the week was spent working or driving (800 miles in all).  I did have the opportunity on two occasions to stop a bit and do some photography for myself.  This series of images starts in Missoula next to the Clark Fork River.  Missoula is the home of the University of Montana and has a vibrant little community for art, restaurants, and nature enthusiasts.  Just outside my hotel was this river and a great biking/running trail that follows the river for several miles next to the campus.

This next series of images is from the road between Missoula and Kalispell.  The first portion of the trip takes you through a wide open glacier valley borered by the Mission Mountains to the east and the Swan Mountains to the west.  The contrast between the rolling road of the valley and the sheer size of the ranges on your sides is stunning.  You also pass right by the largest natural fresh water lake that’s west of the Mississippi River, called Flathead Lake.

The next series was shot on the drive from Kalispell to Great Falls.  This was easily my favorite leg of the trip as it takes you directly through Glacier National Park.  Without much time to explore, I hedged my bets on a trip through the front gate to find the closest glacier.  Unfortunately (and due to my naivete), I discovered that April is too soon to head up to the glaciers as the routes haven’t been cleared.  I may be back in August so I’m definitely putting it on my list.  The first image is of the only “glacier” we found, a small pile of snow from the storm earlier in the week.  Lake McDonald followed and a nice German family skipping rocks across the still lake.

The final series is from the stretch of land between the Mission Mountains and Great Falls.  It’s an area of Blackfeet Indian reservations, rolling hills, and beautiful sunsets.  Along the way we stopped at the Lighthouse Restaurant along the shores of Lake Francis in Valier.  It has an actual lighthouse that has never guided a single ship to shore.  It’s simply the imagination of Bob, the owner of the restaurant, that brought it to life.  He’s a fascinating man that, in addition to building vestigial lighthouses and playing barkeep, also whittles in his spare time.  You can see his current projects and the entire chess sets he created for his two sons based on their interests as kids.  You’ll find there are very few parts of this country that are actually barren.  You just have to stop in the right places 🙂

  • Your photos and commentary are filled with your obvious appreciation for that special place. It has been over 50 years since I saw some of those scenes, but remember the wonderful openness. You make me proud, once again…