Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 1-4, 2016 Hot Springs and Camping at Upper Stillwater Lake

I decided to divide the next set of posts into more bite-size segments!

We began the month with a trip to Hot Springs, MT to play in the  hot springs.  These have a strong sulfur smell at times and are famous for their healing waters.  I don't know how much stock I put in the healing part but they are nice to soak in.  There are four pools to chose from.  The lower one is a regular swimming pool with at best, luke-warm heated water.  The next two pools are above the main pool.  Each one is small with the lower one at a slightly "too hot to stay in for over about 30 minutes" temperature.  The one above it is at a "too hot to stay in for over five minutes" temperature.  There is one more that has a tall, wood fence around it.  It's the "hot" pool.  That's where they cook the lobsters for the hotel dining room.  (Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration but it isn't that far off either!) 

The photo was taken at a turn-out overlooking Flathead Lake on the way back to Kalispell.

A few days later we took the new/used camper van out on a short test run.  The last camper we bought we took out on a 7,000 mile trip without really getting to know it first.  That was nearly a disaster!  But that was another story from a couple of summers ago.

Since this was it's maiden voyage we also brought the car in case we had trouble with the van.  We brought our little fishing boat along (towed by the van).

While we set things up Scott checked out a picnic table where he could supervise and also go through his fishing stuff.

All set up!  Now lets go fishing!

Well, maybe after Susan tests out all of Scott's tickle zones (he has a lot of them).

So fishing we went!  We stayed in the upper lagoon since it was later in the afternoon and I didn't bring the motor for the boat (definitely will NOT do that again!).

Susan caught the first fish and Scott caught the second.  I didn't catch any at all.  A point that Scott mentioned more than once!  This was Scott's first fish and he was very excited about it.  They are both Pike.

We cooked them our usual way when camping ... wrapped in foil and cooked over a low fire or coals.  The big center packet contains the fish and the outside packets have potatoes in them.

And, yes, it was as good as it looks.

Next it was marshmallow time.  I threw the extra wood on so it would still be burning in the evening for our sit-around-the-campfire time.

The next morning we were out again only this time we went through the passage on the other side of the lagoon and into the main part of Upper Stillwater Lake.  On the left side of the lake are railroad tracks so we were treated to see several passing trains during the day and night.  In the spring there is often a flurry of trains then none for several hours.  If the snow in Glacier National Park is not stable above the tracks (as often happens in the spring) the avalanche danger is too high to let the trains through the pass.  So they hold them up on the other side of the pass and wait for the snow to stabilize.  You can tell when they let them through because its just one train after another for the next hour or so.

Our reverie was interrupted by Susan catching a fish!

It was a nice Lake Trout and put up quite a fight before she got it into the boat.

Our time at the lake is drawing to a close and Scott is just enjoying the view a bit.

These are Oregon (wild) grapes.  If they keep on like they are it will be a good crop this year.

This bat house was near our camp site.  You can watch them come out around the time it begins getting dark.

We went home wishing we had spent more time there.  In my experience that's the best time to go home.  It keeps you anticipating the next trip instead of dreading it.  We have some things to get done at home then we'll be going out again.

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