This morning we woke up and got ready for Mass. We drove into the town of Kalispell, Montana and went to the 9:30 Mass at St. Matthew Catholic Church. I didn’t find out the history of the church, but it was a beautiful church on the inside and the outside. A lady was playing the piano and cantoring. She did a lovely job. The priest was from Africa, I believe, and although he had an accent he spoke excellent English. We had a beautiful Mass and afterward took the kids to a local restaurant for brunch. Next, it was time to head back to Glacier National Park. After changing our clothes, we decided to drive up into the western side of the park that I believe isn’t quite as popular. We had a lovely drive through an area of burned forest that had become more like meadows. In one area we saw probably a dozen deer grazing. Some of the area that we were driving in took us just to the outskirts of the park where several homesteads were established. There is no electricity run to this part of Montana (around 30 miles south of the Canadian border), so all of these homesteads were off the electrical grid. We saw lots of solar panels, but there may certainly have been some people up there not using electricity at all. This kind of lifestyle always intrigues me as I have had a desire to be a pioneer living on the frontier for a long time. Charlie and I would love to one day have some solar panels generating most, if not all, of our electricity. Due to my adventuresome spirit, I had Charlie take a narrow dirt road to Bowman Lake in the park. This was only supposed to be a 6 mile drive, but it took us at least 20 minutes to get to the lake. When we got there, everyone jumped out for a trip to the local pit toilet. Charlie got out and left the van door wide open. Soon after, I noticed giant, bird-sized (at least they seemed bird-sized!) mosquitos flying into the van. I quickly ran around and closed his door and rolled up the window. They were everywhere while we were up at that lake. I know that mosquitos love water, but we have been around a lot of lakes at Glacier and haven’t seen any mosquito problems until now. Believe it or not, this was really our first encounter with mosquitos on this entire trip. We haven’t opened up a single bottle of bug spray yet. Due to the mosquitos and needing to get back to the camper to do laundry, we only drove by the lake and took a few pictures instead of getting out for a hike. The way back down that road didn’t take as long because we didn’t encounter any other vehicles heading toward the lake that we needed to pull over for.
On our way back we stopped into a local store/restaurant/tavern called Home Ranch Bottoms that was selling Huckleberry ice cream. This was one of those locations that was off-grid, so I enjoyed seeing some of their set-up. The couple that owned the place was really nice. He explained how labor-intensive picking huckleberries is. Evidently they are so small that it can take 4 hours to pick one gallon. That is so much worse than picking blueberries! Anyway, the kids loved the huckleberry ice cream! Silly me didn’t take any pictures of that experience!
Back at the campground (we were staying at a really nice place in Kalispell called Spruce Park on the River: RV Park and Campground), the hostess was so nice to keep the laundry open for me a little later than she would normally have had it open. I managed to get 5 loads of laundry completed. The kids pitched in to clean up the camper and van. Charlie made dinner, and then they settled down for a Wilderness Family movie (the grizzly bear and mountain lion scenes don’t seem to have scared anyone away from hiking in areas where grizzlies and mountain lions live – thank God!). Charlie and I took a beautiful walk along the Flathead River there at the campground and were even able to watch the moon glowing on the river. What a blessing! How beautiful it was!
PS: I’m starting a new segment: Kids’ corner, especially for things that non-writers want to say.
In the last week, tell me about something you saw and enjoyed.
Annette: My favorite thing was going to that church, St. Matthew. The church was really beautiful. The huckleberry ice cream was REALLY good. At the Old Mission Church in Idaho, I liked the circle part in the middle of the top of the church that had the letters IHS on it. It made the church look really pretty. In the church there was this old confessional where two people could go in on the sides and the priest could be in the middle. There was a person on one side of the priest and another person on the other side of the priest. The priest would hear one confession at a time. While he was hearing one, the other sliding screen to the other side is closed. When he finishes hearing one, he closes that screen and then turns to the other side and opens the screen to hear the other.
I love “kids corner” (non writers still have thoughts! 🙂
I think it’s hilarious that Charlie, the electrician, wants to go “off the grid”! I’ve always wanted to live that way too (in my mind at least. I mean, if I didn’t have power, as in pioneer days, I wouldn’t be able to keep with you all, which I’m enjoying.
I love the pix of the kids playing. It’s especially cute when there’s mayhem while one kid sleeps on. Those certainly are the precious moments of parenting.
Y’all being together is certainly the bestest part of the trip!
Rejoicing in hope!
give the kids hugs from me. at least those who know me, haha…
Whoever would have thought that someone could watch too much “Little House on the Prairie”?
PS: Rebecca, I am afraid you get your desire for primitive living from me. However, the older I get the more I enjoy the comforts of home!
We are often amazed at how well we live ‘off the grid’ when we are in Virginia. We still have heat and lights and running water. It is neat to look at all the alternative energy options that others use. We think of innovative ways to live and power our life each time we visit, and I too like to explore all the options. Have fun! Lots of love…
I remember those confessionals well, Annette.