Sunday, August 18, 2013

Living the Good Life in Bigfork, MT

One of the very best things we did during our stay in Bigfork will remain a wonderful memory, with no photos to document this fabulous day. We went tubing on the Swan River with our local friends, Paula and Leslie, and Susan (visiting from Chicago). We couldn't risk taking the camera and getting it wet.

Lily pads on Loon Lake

All I can say is, if you ever have a chance to go tubing...DO IT! There are logistics of course. We rented some good, heavy duty tubes with handles, cup holders and back rests from Bigfork Outdoor Rentals (a bargain at $10/day). Loaded them into P&L's truck, dropped our truck at the take out site, piled into their truck and headed for the put in site. P&L provided us with a string bag that we tied to a tube that held some beer and water and the truck key all safely (we hoped) kept dry and secure in ziplock bags.

Along the Strawberry Lake Trail

The next three and a half hours felt like a dream as we slowly but surely drifted down river. The current was sometimes swift, sometimes barely perceptible, sometimes bumping over exhilirating but gentle rapids.

We saw deer and turtles, osprey, heron and kingfishers, beautiful homes of all sizes, and always, the lush green grasses and trees and bushes edging the river. Looming in the distance were the mountains, the sky a brilliant blue overhead, hazy clouds gave way to a few wispy clouds as the day progressed, the air temperature hovered at 90 and the water must have been about 72 degrees.

Thimble berries are vibrant spots of color among the lush green plants
lining the Strawberry Lake trail.

We even enjoyed a mud spa! We stopped at a wide bend in the river, walled on one side by a tall mud bank. The soft clay there was perfect for a mud scrub and then cleansing in the crystal clear and clean river water.

We five happy floaters ended the day sharing sweet memories and beer at The Raven, on their patio right on the Flathead Lake and only a mile from our RV park. What a fabulous day!

Morning sunlight filtering into the forest along Strawberry Lake trail.

On another beautiful Bigfork day, we hiked the Strawberry Lake trail. It's six miles RT with 1500 feet of elevation gain. All of the gain happens in the first two miles and the last mile is sidehill trail with great views into the Flathead Valley.

Strawberry Lake trail is exceptionally green and abundant!

This view of the Flathead Valley and North end of Flathead Lake has less smoke haze than earlier in the week.

Strawberry Lake

On our last full day in Bigfork (today) we went kayaking with Paula and Leslie from their house on the Swan River. It was a gloriously beautiful morning to be on the river.

Turtles galore!

And so ends our week in Bigfork. It was wonderful to see old friends in a new environment and to share some new adventures with them on the water. Thanks Paula and Leslie for the good times and the bounty from your lovely garden!

Tomorrow we're off to Columbia Falls, MT, just outside the West entrance to Glacier National Park. On the way we've got an early morning appointment at an RV shop in Kalispell to have our hydraulic slide and leveling mechanism looked at. Fingers crossed that it's a quick and easy fix!


  1. Montana is just gorgeous. Thanks for the pictures, I think we may just follow in your footsteps. Hope the slide/level issues are trivial.

  2. Oh, my, I don't know what to say! What a fantastic week...wonderful hiking, beautiful kayaking, and reliving your youth with tubing!! It must be so hard to move on and leave these friends. Boy, did you have fun. For once the hot weather fit in perfectly. Glad you had such a great time with your friends.

  3. Wow! Tubing and kayaking- how fun! Love the reflection pictures on the lake.

  4. Gorgeous photos with clouds reflecting in the water. Love tubing whether in water or on snow....tons of fun. Around water and rain I use a Panasonic Lumix waterproof camera and have a floaty wrist band. It takes great photos even under water :-)

  5. We used to go tubing when I was a is a bunch of fun! Good luck on the slide appointment....we're having an issue with one of ours as well. I assume you're going into Glacier? Everyone keeps telling us we screwed up by missing it - it's going on the itinerary for 2014!