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  • Welcome to the RunnerDuck Blog

    We use to publish a monthly newsletter but decided to step up and do a blog instead. Just like our newsletter we will update this "newsletter" about once a month.
    Each month we bring you news from our little town of Coupeville, WA and happenings around the island we live on.
    We hope you enjoy our blog and we'd encourage you to sign up for email notification since it doesn't update all that frequently.
    Welcome
    Ken and Marilyn

Day 10 – Doin’ Nutin’

As we mentioned in our previous blog the only thing we planned for the day was doin’ nutin’ and by golly that’s exactly what we did. Despite Ken’s brother Ron’s warning that “It ain’t easy doing nothing” we managed quite well. It was a beautiful day that got up to around 86 degrees F and that made doin’ nutin’ even easier.

Ken did go for about a one hour walk around the camp and saw a few interesting things.

As we mentioned before this is a Thousand Trails campground and they have a very nice club house with an inviting pool, although we didn’t bring our swim suits.

This is the front of the club house with a big white stone chimney on the front.

This obviously is the pool.

This is a view of Little Diamond Lake from the club house.

The day before we arrived a big thunderstorm rolled through and lightning struck a tree near a camp site. If you look a the tree in the middle of this picture you can see where it was hit and how close it was to a camper. The top of the tree is lying on the ground. That must have been a real thrill for the poor folks inside the camper.

Here’s a close up of where the lightning struck.

We’re sure glad that wasn’t the spot we chose to camp in.

There is a large area of the camp that is partially developed that I walked all around. There are power poles and water faucets in place but the road is rustic and the camp sites area rough and grown over. I did discover where all the killed power poles go to rest. Being a large campground with some tight camp spots apparently a number of people don’t handle their rigs very well and take out the power poles. Anyhow I thought it made for an interesting picture.

But for the better part of the day this is how we spent it, enjoying the good life.

Marilyn is reading  “Night of the Grizzlies” by Jack Olsen which probably isn’t real conducive to good sleeping in the woods while Ken is reading “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson. It was a great way to spend a nice quiet day.

Today we are off to Newport, WA to get some groceries and see what’s out there. The weather is supposed to be a little iffy and cooler. Right now at 8:00 in the morning it’s 54 degrees F with some wind and big puffy clouds overhead.

 

Day 9 – On The Road Again

After a wonderful time at Glacier National Park we are once again on the road. Yesterday we drove from Glacier Park to the Thousand Trails Little Diamond Lake Campground just outside Newport, Washington.

The trip was uneventful and an enjoyable drive of about 250 miles. Once again we saw lots of beautiful country as we traveled the older Highway 2 instead of the interstate. It’s slower going and more hilly but that’s where the beauty comes from.

We made one stop along side the road for lunch and that was it. We drove across Idaho and passed into the Pacific Time Zone so we set our clocks back an hour. That allowed us to arrive an hour earlier than planned.

The campground here is quite hilly, very wooded, extremely quiet and a long ways away from trains, towns and traffic, perfect! The camp sites are on a “pick your own” basis so we drove around and found a really nice spot high up on the hill. It’s so wooded that there isn’t an view but the trees are nice to look at.

 

The campground has rental boats and a lake that we’ve rowed on before so may give that a try one of these days. We probably drive around the area a little bit so see what’s here.

 

We will be here for three days and plan to do a lot of nothing! Nothing but relaxing and, as our internet friend John likes to say, “enjoying the good life”. Ken’s brother Ron says, “it ain’t easy doin’ nothing”, well see.

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Day 8 – Going-to-the-Sun

By golly, despite all possible means to keep us from traveling to Logan Pass via the Going-to-the-Sun Road we did it!

We told you that the Red Bus tour we were scheduled for on Thursday got canceled because of numerous land slides. We weren’t able to reschedule for Friday but if we had here’s what we would have been on.

Yesterday the forecast was for more thunderstorms rolling in around noon which would have probably closed the road again but they stayed away until the end of the day and we had a wonderful trip. As we drove along you could see where the slides had taken out railings and a lot of work was still going on. One stretch of the road was down to one lane which caused about a thirty minute delay. That was not a problem since the scenery was so great.

There is so much to see and so many beautiful vistas that it’s impossible to share in a blog like this. I did sort through the eighty or so pictures we took and will share those here.

First stop was a beautiful rushing river that had several small waterfall’s you could see. Here’s one of the bigger ones.

Logan Pass is at the Continental Divide and has a nice visitors center.

Here’s a picture looking out over the parking lot at Logan Pass. You can tell how popular of a place it is by the number of cars.

We saw this interesting picture in the center that shows a glacier in 1932 and how it’s gone today, so sad.

Here you can see that the clouds were trying to sneak in but only made for a dramatic photo.

Just off the trail to the left in the picture above we saw a small herd of Mountain Goats. They were actually being a little pesky and hanging out close to and on the trail. A ranger was there and kept chasing them away. You can see in the picture that they are shedding their winter coats.

Rather than going back down the road through all the construction again we decided to drive the eighty miles on around the park. It was a beautiful drive as well going past Martha Lake.

We had lunch at Two Dogs Flat restaurant which was just past Martha Lake.

It was a wonderful day and lots of memories to take back home. About 5:30 in the evening a big thunderstorm rolled through with lots of lightning, thunder and rain. Fortunately the high winds and hail they had forecast never developed.

Today we are off to Little Diamond Lake in Northeastern Washington. It should be about a five mile drive through some more beautiful country. As a bonus the thunderstorms are gone and we have a beautiful day coming on.

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Day 7 – Road Closed

First off, if you enjoy our little adventure why not click the Facebook Share link at the bottom of this post. It will tell your friends on Facebook that you are following us and they can travel along too!

We woke up with high hopes of seeing the Going to the Sun Road on a Red Bus Tour yesterday but it was not to be. The road was still closed with workers cleaning up the slides from the days before. They offered a truncated tour but unfortunately they didn’t offer any discount. They were kind enough to refund our $90. They showed us where the revised route was going and we decided to make our own tour.

In 2003 they had a huge forest fire in Glacier Park and they had some interesting signs that showed the devastation. Here are two pictures of the fire.

Here’s sort of the same view today.

You can see some recovery but it’s got a long ways to go.

Further out on Camas Road we drove through some of the devastation and here’s a close up of a sign and the recovery.

The Pole Pines are the first ones to recover because they like the sunshine and dry soil. Years later they are followed by Cedar and Fir trees that like the shade provided by the Pole Pines and a moister soil.

We had lunch in the park again but this time at Jammer Joe’s Grill and Pizzeria. The food was good and we were entertained by the “Whistle Pig’s”, a.k.a. Colombian Ground Squirrels. They burrow into the ground and stand tall like Prairie Dogs.

On our way back to camp we drove through a number of other camping places to see what was available and possibly better than where we are. The only other campground that we’d consider is the KOA as it’s a little further off the main road and further away from train tracks so therefore it should be a little quieter.

It was a good day and like every other day, despite changed plans we had a ball.

Today we’re thinking about trying to drive up to the pass again but they are forecasting some big thunderstorms from noon on and we’d hate to be caught in another landslide while driving through the area. I guess we’ll wait and see what the day brings.

Day 6 – Old McDonald Had A Lake…

Yesterday we finally got into the park. Unfortunately so did everybody else from around the world, it was busy. We drove up both sides of Lake McDonald a little bit to check out some of the other campgrounds. While at one of the stops we got the following picture of the lake and the mountains.

We arrived at Lake McDonald Lodge early enough to have lunch before our boat tour. Here’s the front of the grand old lodge.

 

The great room in old lodges in the National Parks are always spectacular, this one is as well.

 

We had a very nice relaxing lunch in their restaurant and then it was off to the tour. The tour boat arrives at the dock behind Lake McDonald Lodge. Here’s the back of the lodge.

 

The tour boat is the De Smet and has been running on the lake since the 1920’s.

 

The tour lasted about an hour and we had a nice park ranger tell us many things about the park. One interesting fact was that there are only 25 glaciers left and none of them can be seen from Lake McDonald. The snow that you do see is just remaining winter snow. He also said that all the glaciers will probably be gone by 2020. A definite sign of climate change. Here’s a picture of the mountains and some of that snow.

 

It was a really fun day and a good thing to do while visiting the park.

Today we are supposed to take the Red Bus tour up the Going to the Sun Road but they had some very heavy rains Tuesday that created five land slides that closed the road. They were working frantically yesterday to get it cleared but our tour bus ride might be truncated.

We’re glad we weren’t on the tour bus Tuesday as one of them was hit with a big bolder from one of the land slides. No one was injured but the bus now has a big dent. A number of people were trapped between slides but no one else was hit and everyone was evacuated without incident.

No matter what we’re having a great time and enjoying some wonderful weather.

 

Day 5 – Dam!

Before we get started today we’d like to wish our Grandson Hudson a happy ninth birthday! Happy Birthday Huds!

Yesterday we hung around Hungry Horse checking out some of the local stores and we made a run out to Hungry Horse Dam. The weather was threatening but never got any measurable rain.

The dam was completed in 1953 and is starting to show its age a little but it still functions well. We drove across the bridge and then stopped at the visitors center to read all about it. We both have been on numerous tours of the inner workings of other dams and decided to pass on the tour.

An interesting side story about Hungry Horse. The name came from two draft horses that wandered away in the winter and were found a month later a little skinnier and a lot hungry. So there ya go your history lesson for today.

In the town of Hungry Horse, population 900, we stopped by Huck’s to look at antlers and other stuff. Marilyn has wanted to carve some antler to see what it’s like so this looked like the place.

Sure enough she found a few small pieces that will do nicely. She’ll crank up the Dremel tool when she gets home.

We had lunch at the Huckleberry Patch Restaurant where everything seems to have a little huckleberry in it. Ken had a pulled pork sandwich and the BBQ sauce had huckleberry’s in it. The food was OK for lunch.

We’ve complained on our trip about the gift stores mostly carrying stuff from China. Well yesterday we stopped at the Montana Fur Trading Company and it was all hand made Native American crafts. Beautiful stuff all be it a little pricey. It was refreshing to see. If you’re ever in the area it’s well worth checking out.

We stopped at the local grocery store and discovered the same thing that we saw in the last Montana grocery store, the coffee isle and beer isle. I (Ken) don’t consider myself a Seattle “coffee snob” but I do like my coffee. In fact I buy green coffee beans from Costa Rica, roast them in my coffee roaster and grind them fresh every day, but I digress. In our stores you’ll have almost a whole isle of different coffee’s ranging from many local roasters to specialty blends. Here in Montana the coffee isle is about one quarter of an isle and only two rows of, yep you guessed it, Folgers!

Another thing we Washingtonian’s are big on is micro brewery’s and crafted beers. Here in Montana the selection is pretty simple Budweiser or Coors. Hopefully my Red Hook ESB will hold out until we get home.

Today looks to be a better day and we are off to the park.

Day 4 – Glacier Park Here We Come

Yesterday we woke to fog and which brought back memories of a previous trip to Glacier Park where we saw nothing above about fifty feet due to fog.

Fortunately it cleared up as we headed west. We’re always amazed with the vastness of Montana and it’s easy to see why they call it “Big Sky Country”.

We drove past Flathead Lake which is always impressive as it’s the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, 191.5 square miles, wow!

We arrived in Hungry Horse a little early to check into the campground so decided to have lunch at the Elkhorn Grill. We had their Huckleberry Glazed Chicken Burger and fries which were very good.

After lunch we headed to Canyon RV Campground just outside of Hungry Horse. This is the entrance to the camp.

We have a nice little spot that has lots of trees to shade the sun and keep us cooler. It’s an older campground and a little run down but the people here are nice and it will work just fine for a base camp while visiting the surrounding area.

Today we are going to see Hungry Horse Dam and any other sites that we stumble upon. Wednesday and Thursday we plan to see Glacier Park as the weather is supposed to be nicer than today.

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