Dad & Mom Visit Montana!!
August 10 - 17, 2022

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I can't say how much it means to me that my parents, Leon & Marcella, visited us in Montana this year.  It was so fun showing them my world up here and to experience all the tourist things together.  We had a great week of time together, fun activities, and lots of laughs.  It was something I'll remember forever.   
On their first afternoon in Eureka, we took a short walking tour around the 
place. Here we find a random knife stuck into a stump on our land.  
Looking out from the yard in the late afternoon. 
Eric, leading the guided tour.  Here we are on the ditch road after throwing rocks for Buddy.  (His favorite activity.)
I think it's funny how Dad & I are walking the same way.  
Checking out the Hillbilly Hot Tub.  Mom & Dad didn't think it was warm enough to take a dip!  Views from our walk.
At the inlet of Costich Lake Eric cleaning the area we call, "The Drop", where water drops from the irrigation
ditch above into the Hillbilly Hot Tub below.  
Back at the house. On the screened in porch, making our plans for the day ahead with Buddy guarding my lap.
He always sticks extra close when new people are around.  
Their first full day started with a tour of The Timbers Lodge - since it's all we've been talking about
for years!  
At the coffee shop, enjoying a drink and a huge welcome from the staff. 
Mom is their biggest online supporter!  
Trying to pose with Buddy in front of the coffee shop but he wasn't cooperating. A view of the coffee shop fireplace and the downstairs seating areas. 
Mom & Dad coming down from a visit to the loft. My friend & neighbor Kip has this business, "Son Shine Flowers" which Kristi
uses to decorate the coffee shop all summer long.  They are amazing. 
Next we went for lunch at Abayance Bay, including a walk out to the marina area.  Next we visited the Stonehenge Air Museum, just outside of Eureka.  I can't believe I've never
been here before - it was a really cool thing to see.  
 It's a huge private museum of all kinds of airplanes as well as a small museum of war-related artifacts.  Here we are starting on our guided tour through this huge hangar full of interesting planes. 

This is the 1917 Curtiss Jenny, full details pictured at right. 

 I didn't keep up with the rest of the stories of all the planes, but you should go and take 
 the tour yourself.  It's very interesting! 
The museum is located on the private golf course, Crystal Lakes, which is very beautiful.
Also on the golf course grounds is this full-size replica of Stonehenge. The owner of this place 
built it on a dare, and just to prove it could be done.   
The rocks were shipped up from Texas, each on their own semi truck. My cameral makes it
look like they are leaning, but they aren't. 


 We are enjoying seeing this Stonehenge since we probably won't visit the real one! 

And by the way, this one works with the solstices just like the original one does. 

 Dad helped me pick out a new rod & reel for Eric's birthday, now he's helping Eric get it all set up.  The next day we let Eric work.  I started our day by taking us to the Whitefish Arts Festival in Depot Park. 
Next we visited Lake McDonald in Glacier Park

After that we took a lesser-known trail through the woods to some waterfalls.


Now we're back at McDonald Lodge, for a different view of Lake McDonald.

The river views just below the falls.  
 Mom & Dad & the lovely view McDonald Lodge, it's a beautiful old building, styled like a Swiss chalet.
Now we've boarded a red bus for the Red Bus Tour experience.  Here are some of our first
dramatic views of the park. 
Our guide was full of interesting stories about the early days of the park.
For scale, you can see the road are driving on is running along the bottom of this picture. 

Some information about how glaciers formed this beautiful valley.

  Our chariot for the day.  These red buses have been in action since the 50's. 
 Family photo, courtesy of our tour guide. The bus takes up all of our very skinny lane on the Going to the Sun road.  
The first time I visited this park I took over 100 pictures.   I have tried to contain my photographic enthusiasm on subsequent visits. 
 But still, there are so many impressive sights!   
 It's funny to see little patches of snow right by the road during a very hot mid-August day. Going to the Sun road cuts through near the base of the rocky parts of these mountains. 
Some waterfalls were still running even this late in the year.    
 Taking a short walk above the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  Where is that hidden lake?  I know it's around here somewhere!
This picture is so pretty and still it doesn't do it justice. Selfie in the red bus.
Bird Woman Falls  The U-shape of the valley is due the the glaciers that formed it. 
  This impressive bridge is very old and still very structurally sound.  Or so they tell us, anyway! 

Back down in the valley, our tour guide kindly takes some more family photos for us.

   Me & Dad enjoying the rest stop. 
 Our family with the red bus in the background.  Dad & Mom, she looks like she is up to something (as usual!)

This picture is out of order, it's by the falls where we started our day.  That water is very impressive.

  The following day (Saturday), we thought we'd start the day with a visit to 
Black Butte fire lookout.  Unfortunately, the gate was locked so we had to
walk the "1 mile" up hill.  That's in quotes because it was the LONGEST mile
any of us as ever walked.  Maybe because it was hot, or uphill, or was it really 2 miles?! 

We studied the sign for awhile before deciding that "Visitors are requested not to climb" was a
CYA tactic and we were not likely to be jailed for climbing the tower. 

 Finally, we've reached the lookout.    
 Looking out over the Tobacco Valley from the tower. Our house is visible, but it's just a speck. A pretty mountain lake that we saw from the tower. 
 This was the only shot I got of Lake Koocanusa.  It's an extremely long lake,
 so this shows only a portion of it. 
Mom & Dad on the tower, where it was a bit windy.  We didn't mind as long as we were 
no longer walking up hill in the sun!  

Another view of Eureka from the tower. 

 I didn't think I was scared up there but I look it in this picture!   
 A very cool dead tree along the way   Downhill is much easier! 
 Next we attend a lake day gathering at Luke & Kristi's place I finally swim up here, but it takes me about 15 minutes to get all the way in. 
Socializing by the water Watching the kids get pulled around on the tube
 Lake Koocanusa  
 Jeb takes us out on a boat ride The Hoodoos, a unique formation on the lake near Luke & Kristi's house
We watched kids climb to the top and then run full speed down this hill.  I couldn't believe they didn't fall! More Hoodoo formations.
 Jeb gave us a nice tour of the lake Next stop - G's Homemade Ice Cream, a local favorite
The grand finale of the evening was a chuck wagon ride and dinner at Cripple Creek Horse Ranch.
Ora Jay & Irene are good friends and a lot of fun, they run a great business out in Trego. 
The wagon is ready for action.


Ora Jay kindly took these group photos of us before the trip.  It's Mary Beth, Larry, Rose, Dan, Uncle Tim, Leon, Marcella, Shawnna, and Eric

   And we're underway
Ora Jay heckles as Eric does gate duty  Lovely views as the sun starts to set

Enjoying the trip

Eric seems nervous when Ora Jay gives me the reigns!   
 Arriving at the dinner camp Gathering around the fire while dinner is prepared
 Ora Jay & Irene Eash (far right) wrote a great book, Plain Faith.  I recommend it highly!  The dinner tent is like a home inside.
 Ready for a great meal. Dad & Lily quickly developed a morning ritual.  He would sit down with his 
coffee, and she would prevent him from getting up again.  
 Mom caught this photo of Buddy enjoying a late morning snooze on the sleeping porch. Dad going out for a little bit of morning fishing.  
 Mom trying out my new eBike, she's always up for an adventure!  Next we attended our church, Kootenai Christian Fellowship
Our church was built in 1906.  I think it is such a pretty building.


  An evening concert by Hannah King and local favorite Michelle Rivers at Indian Springs Golf Ranch.
 Sneaking a selfie at Mom & Dad and Rose & Dan.  Dan Jr and Tracie also attended.    Here Mom catches me with my zoom lens in action, trying to get pictures of the fishermen.

A view toward Canada from our yard. 

  One of several fish Dad caught in Costich Lake. Those fish had no chance against him! 
 An evening fishing outing for Eric & Dad Dad on another morning fish

Heading out in the golden light

  Another visit to the coffee shop, catching young Erik on his first day at work.
Monday was a huge day!  We started it at the Lake Koocanusa bridge. Eric, patient as always!
 Looking down into the clear water Catching up with Eric for a view off the bridge
 Eric was worried that Buddy would manage to slip off the bridge.  Mom & Dad on the bridge, although I managed to cut off the pretty part of the scenery.  

Next we made a stop at Stone Hill, the area where Eric does most of his climbing. 

  Here he describes a route to us.  This may be "Too Steep for Sleep", 
one of his first ascents and a very difficult route.
Next stop - Libby Dam The 90-mile long Lake Koocanusa reservoir is held back by 422 foot tall Libby Dam, located 
16 miles upstream from the town of Libby

Downstream from Libby, the Kootenai River enters a canyon and flows over Kootenai Falls, 
one of the largest free-flowing waterfalls in the northwest.  Kootenai Falls was the setting for 
the filming of the movie, "River Wild".

Now we're at Kootenai Falls, getting our first sight of the falls.  
 Family shot in front of the falls. It's a beautiful spot.  The falls and surrounding area were considered sacred to the Kootenai Indians.
 Eric must be telling me a joke.  Buddy must already know the punch line, he looks happy. Getting closer to the falls.
 Exploring.  Buddy seems to be sticking close to Dad. Eric checking out how cold the water feels. 
 Here I was trying to catch the rainbow that was hanging over the falls to the left side. Buddy Casazza, king of Kootnenai Falls
 Now the rainbow is to the right side of the photo Eric calling us down to the spot where the mist gives you natural air conditioning.   
 The water was so powerful here, even with the river running low this time of year. Family photo at the falls, complete with rainbow.  I love this picture! 
Next we check out the swinging bridge. The first version of this bridge was constructed by the CCC during the depression.  

The guys in a hurry to get across before Mom can start really rocking the bridge.

  A group of people were just hanging out with this bird, a falcon?  I'm not sure why. 
 Views from the bridge It's so pretty.
 Dad & I taking dueling photos Checking out the far side of the bridge.
 Mr. Patience is done with this side of the bridge.  He's taking his dog and leaving. Mom & Dad trying to head back, but I'm holding them up for a photo.

And one of me & my Buddy for good measure

 Here's that photo now.  

A zoomed in version.  I can't believe Buddy looks happy, he's usually nervous when I hold him
near any kind of drop off. 

  Me and all my boys - Dad, Buddy, and Eric



One last picture at Kootenai Falls.  It looks blurry but that's us enjoying the mist from the falls.
It was so cooling, it was hard to leave that area.

  Now we've come to Ross Creek Cedars.  A stand of giant cedars in Montana. 

Eric being dwarfed by two of the trees

  These tiny pine cones were at the base of one of the giant trees.  We thought
it would be amazing if this is how these enormous trees got their start. 

This tree was hollow inside, so Eric had to check it out.

  Buddy got passed inside as well.  It was very dark in there, so that's why
Eric seems a bit intense in this photo.  
Eric snapped this shot from inside the hollow tree.  This is more my style of entering a hollow tree. 
 Mom & Dad in a grouping of three of the huge trees.  Dad & Eric taking a rest under the shady canopy.
 Dad inside another of the massive trees This was a cool thing.  A tree fell and happened to hit another tree exactly at a
fork, which split the tree as it fell over.  
Buddy the adventure dog, so glad that my parents came along to get us out of the house!  Throwing rocks in shallow water - best game ever
 Dad's favorite thing to worry about are bears, so this didn't help the anxiety level! 
The view from the Ross Creek Cedars area

The Kootenai River.  I guess this is what Eureka used to look like before Lake Koocanusa
was built. 

Back in the car, Mom tries to give Buddy the rabbit ears but he already has them!   

Tuesday was our last day together as Dad & Mom flew back early Wednesday morning.
I took them to the hotel next to the airport by way of a few sights along the way.  We
started with a short walk to the Dickey Lake overlook.

Mom must have been cutting up to get both of us laughing like this. 

This water looks as turquoise as the Caribbean when the sun hits it.  It's a lovely lake. 

  Next stop - Sunday Falls


 This is another must-see in the area, as it is a short walk to a beautiful spot. Mom & Dad in a great picture - those are real smiles!  
 I like this one too. Me & Dad with Sunday Falls
Dad & Mom, contemplating the falls from the bench. Me & Mom, once again posing just the same without meaning to. 

All of us on the bench, enjoying the sight before heading out for new adventures.

   Mom at Sunday Creek

Our next outing was something new to all of us - 
Axe Throwing at Hank's Hatchets in Whitefish.   

It took a while to get the hang of it, but           
once we did it was really fun!                 

Mom seemed entirely too comfortable with a hatchet in her hand.  Dad thought so too! 



Mom rocked the two-handed throw

  The single hand throw worked great for Dad 
I liked single hand method as well.  I threw great until I started trying to aim! Dad & I in a showdown.
 A bull's eye for Mom! I was a bit uncomfortable with the Ninja stars, I figured I'd cut my fingers or something.

Thank you Dad & Mom for making this trip.
It was the highlight of my year! 


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