Day 4 – Thicker Still

We packed out early to move to our new rooms located just across the breezeway. Completing that by about 10:30, we settled our luggage and replaced the food in the fridge before making some calls and setting up a car appointment for a day when we will be in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Even though the haze outside seemed thicker and browner than it had the last few days, we elected to go out to explore the little towns in the surrounding area. Setting our destination as the historic town of Whitefish, we took back roads to see what we could of the landscape along the way. Visibility was less than half a mile and in some places  even less than that. It seemed like something out of a post apocalyptic movie – eerie and strange. But, what’s a visitor to do? We continued to visit. The most disappointing thing, however, was how much it felt like we were back home in a heavy layer of marine fog with zero visibility and not in the majestic mountains of Big Sky Montana.

Whitefish, which locals assured us was framed by mountains, was a cute little frontier town that built up around the railroad. So, we visited the original Whitefish railroad station house and the museum that accompanies it now. I weighed myself on the original luggage scales and we admired the monument to all those who spent their lives working on the railroad. We walked the town and visited some small shops where we found a host of interesting local products.  It looks as if the locals have a great sense of humor!
Apparently this area is famous for huckleberries and we saw several items made from local huckleberries – from honey and jams to soaps and lip gloss. The most interesting item for sale was an easy chair made from antlers. Now, how could I possibly make this amazing piece of furniture fit in my front room, I ask you?

By the time we made it to Kalispell all we were looking for was a place for a nourishing meal. We stumbled on Bullman’s Woodfired Pizza and we went no farther. While we wondered how they could cook with wood when there is a burn ban for the entire state, the pizza smelled so good we trusted they knew what they were doing. Randy tested a Montana beer called  “Wheatfish.” (I will never forget the first time we were in Montana in 1977, when we encountered “Moose Drool” and I think it’s still popular.) The pizza was thin and savory; crispy and excellent.

Being out in the haze most of the day made us feel tired and draggy, so about the time we were done with our meal we decided to return to our apartment in time to watch the national news. Not only are there fires all over the West; multiple hurricanes in the South and Southeast; now there is news of a massive earthquake in Mexico. All our efforts to abandon the news while on vacation have gone by the wayside. We pray everyone can be safe and receive the assistance they need.

So, this was a day of exploring in the area. Enjoyable, but thick with smoke and some disappointment that we cannot see the real character of the surrounding landscapes.