Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Repairs, Meet Ups and a Beary Good Welcome to Glacier

On Monday we moved from Bigfork to Columbia Falls, MT; a short drive that takes you through the largest town in the Flathead Valley, Kalispell.

Since we were having a problem with our hydraulic slide and leveling system we had an appointment at Gardner's RV in Kalispell to have it checked out on the way to our new location. BUT, as we pulled out of Bigfork the truck dash lit up with warning signs! Turns out a repair we had done at Eisinger Motors on our truck the previous week might be faulty.

So...drop the trailer at Gardner's and head down the road to Eisinger Motors, the local Chevy dealer. They were able to check the truck out right away, but now we were stranded and Rosie was with us. Luckily, Eisinger welcomed her in the customer waiting area:

We have one amazing kitty!

We were back on the road, with the noon! Eisinger fixed the issue immediately and even gave us a half price oil change and tire rotation for our hassle, and Gardner's found and fixed our trailer problem, under warranty, in no time at all. Good service all around.

That night we were treated to a wonderful dinner at the home of friends we met last October in Page, AZ. Dennis and Sheryl Hester have a lovely custom built home on several acres overlooking Kalispell and the Flathead Valley that is for sale.

After dinner the four of us took a short drive to the overlook at Lone Pine State Park and caught the almost full moon rising over the valley:

Thanks to tips from Dennis and Sheryl we knew we needed to head in to Glacier National Park early the next morning if we wanted to get parking at any trailhead along Going to the Sun Road. These days, we rarely get out of the RV before 9am, but in order to beat the crowds we were out the door by 7:30am.

Glacier is about 15 miles NE of Columbia Falls. It's a beautiful drive, and just keeps getting prettier once you enter the park. Our destination was Avalanche Lake, about 15 miles into Glacier. Arriving at the trailhead about 45 minutes later, we were happy to find parking spaces available...though there were plenty of cars ahead of us.

Avalanche Lake trail is only about 2 miles one way and not too strenuous, which makes it a very popular
trail...something we've come to expect with National Parks. Luckily, starting fairly early in the day, the trail was pretty quiet on the way to the lake...and heavily populated on our return.

Avalanche Creek flows through some cool slot sections.

The highlight of our hike: a BEAR!
It was about 30 feet away and paid us no mind at all. 
Avalanche Lake sits in a gorgeous basin.
There was some seriously moody lighting going on at the lake,
making photos a little difficult!

Avalanche Creek tumbles into the slot canyon.

After our hike we checked out the Apgar visitor center, then stopped by the Apgar Campground to visit Rick and JoAnne who are hosting for a couple of months. This lovely couple has been part timing since 1997 and we met them in Patagonia State Park last February. It was great seeing them again and learning more about volunteering on the road, something we talk about possibly doing in the future.

Lake McDonald view into Glacier National Park from Apgar Village.

We've got another meetup planned tonight with fellow fulltimers and hikers we met in Nevada last year. Columbia Falls is turning out to be a social mecca!


  1. Lisa and Hans! Thanks for the "shout out" and stopping by - we always look forward to reconnecting with fellow bloggers that have become new friends. What a blessed and wonderful life we all have!

  2. How exciting that you saw a bear!!! We stayed at the Avalanche campground for a few days last year and really enjoyed the hike up to the lake. I love all the water streaming down the mountains around the lake. We're going to be staying at Apgar the first week of September this year. We'll have to look for Rick & JoAnne.

    1. You can't miss them, they are in the first site in loop A, the camp hosts in the Winnebago Adventurer. Great folks!

  3. How lucky you were to see a bear! In all the years of hiking we've done, we have never seen one on a trail. Of course we have mixed feeling about whether we actually want to run into one!

    1. Yeah, I've been dying to see one...but without any danger attached! Even though this one was fairly close, he had no interest in us...thank goodness!

  4. Glad to hear all your repairs went smoothly. Rosie looks pretty content with her own chair:)

    What a nice hike with lots of water! Love the waterfall picture!

    Yes, I would say it is quite a social time you two are having. Enjoy!

  5. Wow, I sure would love to meet Rick and Joanne!
    How are your hydraulic issues? We had had one of those slides not coming in and jacks not pulled up.
    And like you we had been getting up early just to get a hike with less company. And I always tell Steve that I thought we are retired and don't need no stinking alarm!

    Great pictures as always

    1. The slide/leveler problem was an internal breaker on our Lippert hydraulic system. We found that the system worked fine when under shore power, but suffered under 12 volt power...the breaker wasn't strong enough.

  6. A timely post with lots of good recommendations as we are headed that way in about two weeks. Sad that you will be on your way to Oregon and we will miss you.

  7. Looks like a gorgeous hike but I'm not sure I'd like seeing the bear so close. If all goes as planned we'll be in Kalispell for several days and looking forward to your posts to help guide us.

  8. Sounds like Glacier is turning into a hub of socializing like times. Looking forward to more photos and great hikes :-)