It was love at first site. I was smitten for the Whitefish Bike Retreat – they had me at Cold Beer.
Never-mind the fantastic network of local biking trails surrounding the venue, there is onsite communal lodging and RV/tent camping available, enabling quick and easy access to flow trails, pump tracks, and skills courses.
What’s not to love about this place?
Maybe my visit – a Tuesday afternoon – was not an accurate representation of the place? I highly doubt that. The overall vibe is very laidback which suited me just fine.
Oh, I almost forgot – the variety of cold beer available (bottles and cans) is quite stellar.
Originally our travel route had us departing Glacier National Park and arriving to Calgary (Canada) on Sunday. However, once we saw extended rain in the forecast we ditched that plan and instead decided to take retreat in nearby Kalispell (Montana).
Exploring options we located a retired couple who allow temporary free camping on their beautiful, six-acre property conveniently located close to town.
The homeowners are great and we’ve also met a few other full-timing travelers – all of us momentarily centering our travels around the national park, but ultimately coming and going in various directions and purpose across the country.
These past fourth-eight hours have been a reminder that despite all the cable news noise highlighting the many differences that too often divide and isolate, Kelly and I are fortunate to live as we do. The diversity of people we regularly meet on the road – regardless of differing ages, social, political, or financial situations – are generally gracious, open, and welcoming.
Free from the noise, Kelly and I are lucky to cross paths and socialize with these fellow travelers, even if only briefly.
Initially, the trails were dry and free of snow as we ascended the mountain. As we continued onward, small patches of snow and ice were easily avoided, until they were not.
At higher elevations, only the few trails with virtually no tree cover were free from snow, mud, and spring melt water crossings.
While we had a GPS device aiding our navigation, the steep slopes and deep snow complicated things. When it was time to navigate a descent through the dense network of trees, we were wet, regularly postholing to our knees, and were forced to backtrack multiple times before a final glissade to dry land.
All of this slowed our travels, but absolutely increased the fun factor. And for a few hours, a group of us – all in our mid/upper 40’s, momentarily put our adult realities aside while childlessly reliving the joys of our youth.
Here at Glacier National Park, the infamous Going To The Sun Road remains closed.
Crews have recently finished plowing huge amounts of winter snow, but many road surface and guardrail repairs remain to be completed before opening the pass to automobile traffic.
During this road closure period, park visitors are allowed access to bike or walk the famous alpine highway. Yesterday afternoon Kelly and I laced our sneakers, grabbed the binoculars, and set off for a walk to Logan Pass in hopes of spotting Big Horn Sheep or Mountain Goats high on a ridge. If we were lucky, maybe we would see a few bears in one of many valley meadows far below.
We didn’t see any animal activity off in the distance, but you’ll understand our surprise to round a bend and effectively walk into a pack of sheep quietly grazing at the side of the road.
If you have never been to Glacier, it must be added to your list. This place is simply magnificent.
Forty-eight hours post arrival, there is not much to report from our campsite in Pine Creek Campground. We arrived Sunday afternoon to temperatures flirting with upper 80’s levels, which for us is akin to an inferno. Since then, Mother Nature has been behaving in a schizophrenic manner, seemingly incapable of choosing between thundering rain storms or blue skies.
At least the temperatures are now hoovering at pleasant levels, which I suppose is about all one can ask for.
As for Kelly and me, we’ve had our noses pointed mostly at our laptop screens. In other words – routine days with nothing especially significant or interesting to report.
Eighteen months ago Kelly and I met the Bennetts – a part-time traveling family (also in an Airstream) who maintain a home just outside of Bozeman, Montana which serves as their permanent base while they balance a part-time traveling lifestyle. We spent a few weeks with them again in March wherein they invited us to stay on their property if/when we find ourselves passing through their neck of woods.
Continuing our push east, Friday we crossed into Montana, ending a surprisingly pleasant two months tour of Idaho. We pulled into the Bennett’s driveway Friday evening, having put 200 miles in our rear-view mirror and in the process, excited to cash-in on the Bennett’s offer to crash on their property for a few days.
Unfortunately, staying with the Bennett’s brings a double-edged sword. On the one hand there is no shortage of wonderful kinship and postcard worthy rolling mountains hills in all directions. On the other hand, those same rolling hills do a fantastic job at killing cellular tower line of sight … and all work-worthy connections Kelly and I require to effectively do our jobs.
Nevertheless, our stay was such a welcomed experience. Spending a weekend in an internet free zone allowed Kelly and me to really slow down for a few days, maximizing conversation and laughter with our hosts.
Before we knew it, Sunday afternoon rolled around and it was time to relocate 30 minutes down the road to a national forest campground where mobile phone and internet data connectivity is sufficient for our working needs.