From the moment we got off the Washington State Ferry from Orcas Island and started heading East towards Idaho, we were met with continuous rain. Continuous rain and much colder temperatures. We pulled into Coeur d’Alene, ID, where we were planning on a hotel night before heading to Glacier National Park. We got to the hotel after dark and the temperatures were in the low 40’s with freezing rain. The weather never got any better for us.
The drive towards Glacier through Northern Idaho and Western Montana was beautiful despite the constant downpour. We saw bald eagles perched on trees, beautiful valleys, dense forests and what we could imagine as steep mountain peaks hidden in the clouds.
We were planning on winging it and camping near Glacier somewhere around Hungry Horse Reservoir. Luckily we had an invite to stay with some great friends, Jeremy and Angela in Whitefish, MT. We took them up on their offer rather than camping. We are so grateful for their amazing hospitality! Camping in all if that rain with a few leaks that we were dealing with wouldn’t have been fun.
Whitefish is a really cool small Montana resort town. The lakes and mountains are endless, we only wish we would have gotten to see more as we were socked in the entire time. When we did get a small break in the rain and the clouds lifted a bit, we were treated to peek-a-boo glances of snow dusted mountains and the local ski resort which we’ve been told to call Big Mountain like the locals! Glacier National Park was 90% closed due to wildfires. Even with the rain, when we got up there the fires were only 50% contained. We took in the view from Lake McDonald though there was not much to see aside from a shoreline with piles of burnt pine needles and ash over a foot deep. The lake was still crystal clear and beautiful with a rainbow coloring of rocks showing through the clear water. Our trip to Glacier didn’t last long as Going-to-the-Sun road was closed. We headed towards Polebridge trying to spot bears and took some forest roads back into Whitefish. We were able to get in a great mountain bike ride and a hike on the Whitefish Trail, right behind Jeremy and Angela’s house. We had a blast visiting breweries, taking in some local flavor and enjoyed our time with our friends and their dog, Corona. Corona and Stella really bonded and the big fellow jumped into our truck as we were packing up…he took up the whole back seat! We are bummed we didn’t get to really experience Glacier and camp in the area, but we are excited about the idea of heading back up there in the future and enjoyed the time with our friends.