In an effort to get out of the Phoenix desert as much as possible this summer, we have planned several trips to the much cooler northern regions of the US. A few weeks ago we went to Minneapolis, MN to stay with some friends and watch the first ever music concert in the Twins stadium: Kenney Chesney, Tim McGraw, and our favorite, Grace Potter. We also headed further up north to Sylvan lake and I got to water ski quite a bit. A big thanks to our friends Tom and Jill for being so generous as to fly us out there and let us enjoy their beautiful homes! 🙂
This trip was much more rugged: we flew in Boise, ID to meet Jorge’s friend, and began a road trip through the mountains to see Glacier National Park, the “crown of the continent.” right off the plane we started driving north, and stopped in Boise City, ID for a lunch at this awesome restaurant named Trudy’s Kitchen (http://www.facebook.com/trudyskitchen). I would say this place was like soul food meets gourmet. Everything was homemade, from the ranch dressing to the bread to the huckleberry cheesecake. I had the pan-fried oysters with wild rice pilaf and it was the shizzle! I only regret that we took a separate route back to Boise and did not get the opportunity to enjoy this gem a second time!
Heading back up the 93, we stopped for the night at a beautiful campground near a creek. It was drizzling on us as we set up camp. I’m sorry I forgot to get the name of it! ??But it was just off the 93 (the Lewis and Clark Trail) about a two hour drive north of Salmon on the west side of the 93. It was so lovely – all the spaces were well isolated and there was plenty of shade.
The next day we headed up to West Glacier and made it there in the mid-afternoon. We wanted to camp but all the spaces were full. We could have stayed at the KoA or the Glacier Campground (both outside the park) but those we the walmarts of campgrounds: cheap but overcrowded and offering only a faux version of the real deal. We opted to stay in a small motel named the Evergreen Motel in Coram, just a few miles west of West Glacier. It was a cute place – clean with all the basics, and PLENTY of fresh towels for our crew.
The highlight of the trip for the next couple days were whitewater rafting with the Montana Raft Company and a 7-mile hike in Glacier. I cannot begin to express how incredibly beautiful that park is. Truly it is the crown of the continent. The pictures included here cannot begin to do it justice. I only wish we had more time to spend there, but we had to be heading back. Most definitely we will plan at least a week next summer to spend enjoying the immense beauty and fresh air that Glacier has to offer.
A few comments on a couple of the eating establishments near West Glacier: the Glacier Grill in Coram is highly overrated. Though all the locals raved about how good it is, I would just compare it to IHOP: breakfast is fine but dinner is lack-luster and overpriced for frozen vegetables, a tough cut of steak and a lame wine selection. For only a couple more dollars a plate, you can eat dinner at the Chalet just outside the park entrance. I would call it rustic gourmet: the wine selection and beer selection was impressive considering the location. The French onion soup had a nice balance of fresh herbs that gave it a pleasant kick. The bourbon filet was cooked perfectly to order and was super tasty. I will definitely be returning to this fine jewel in West Glacier.
Though sad to have to leave this beautiful countryside, we headed back southward toward Boise. This time we departed from the 93 and took the 12 at Missoula to drive through a different section of the Northern Idaho mountains. We stopped for the night at a lovely camp site named White Sands campground. Our spot was right next to a beautiful stream. It was so nice to hear the rushing water right outside the tent as I drifted off to sleep. I highly recommend this camp site.
After about 1100 miles of driving, the final stop was in Boise where we are taking a plane back to the water-forsaken desert. Next up: New York City! 🙂