We chose to stay here both to enjoy this lovely area and to visit our good friends Paula and Leslie, former neighbors in San Diego who have owned a rental cabin in the area for years and are currently house sitting a lovely 10 acre property on the Swan River.
|This gorgeous property on the Swan River is so peaceful and private|
you never want to leave!
|We love meeting up with friends in gorgeous places!|
From left: Hans, Leslie, Lisa, Paula.
|Early evening view of the Swan River and Mission Mountains.|
For our first hike in the area we went for The Jewel. Jewel Basin is just a few miles North East of Bigfork in the Flathead National Forest. Covering 15,000 acres with 35 miles of trails for hikers only, this Jewel of backcountry access is gorgeous. Trails lead you to lakes of all sizes, small mountains, and extensive views, with good opportunities for mountain goat and bear sightings.
We chose to hike to Birch Lake. We had expansive views of the upper Flathead Valley and Lake as we hiked but haze from distant fires made for poor pictures. During our hike around Birch Lake we met two people who had just come out of the backcountry trail beyond the lake and only moments before encountered a grizzly bear! Needless to say, we were on extra high alert after that but never saw bear or mountain goats.
|Often the trail was surrounded by masses of color.|
|On the way to Birch Lake you have excellent views into the Flathead Valley|
though we had smoke haze on the day we hiked.
Tiny Martha Lake sits in the basin directly below us.
|Pretty Birch Lake was too large to fit in the photo.|
The water was crystal clear and looked inviting!
Mountain goats are said to frequent the area, as well as bear.
Today we'll take advantage of highs expected to be in the low 90's and do a little float on the Swan River with our friends. Life is good!