Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Apgar Lookout-GNP and the Flathead

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Sometimes you just need one day of mixed media and it feels like a week of vacation. Something about being 30-something is making me really good at that.

We left early one morning and drove up to visit some friends in Kalispell. Along the way, we drove the east side of Flathead Lake for two reasons: swimming and cherries. Finley Point was our chosen swim spot and the water was cold enough to steal a few breaths, but the rock warm enough to dry us quickly; lying prone against it, below the lake breeze.

After our swim, we stopped at one of the orchards along the way—I never remember the names—but this guy has a curved driveway and his picker had just returned with cherries, that he had sitting out on a table. We chatted for a while and he showed us a picture of a chopper flying low over the orchard—just as they had done that morning—to dry the cherries after a storm. Who knew?

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Driving on, we met up with our friends and headed into Glacier for an afternoon hike to Apgar Lookout. The trail was rutted and moist in spots with hoof prints from trail horses that looked like Roman warhorses—they must have had some sort of draught breeding, but their prints gave us this unearthly impression that we were in a supernatural place. Fireweed bloomed along the trail, indicative of late summer and the fact that we were hiking into an area that burned not all that long ago. Low green growth brushed our ankles while alternately charred and stripped tree splinters rose from the color. It quickly got hot and somewhere, the sound of a chainsaw droned on to the point of annoyance.

Gradually, we climbed switchbacks and grew wary when the wind howled through dead stands along the trail. A mass of dark cloud and low rumbles moved over us and into the distance, while a summer haze hung over the valley and revealed peaks in the park, as we broke out of the stands. Within an hour, we reached the lookout, boarded up, not in use at the time. We climbed the steps and stood briefly on the porch looking out at rocky peaks in the distance, before heading back down and away from the mosquitos.

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The next morning, we hit the lake on the way home and picked up more cherries. Spitting pits out the window, and savoring their sweetness made me wish that summer would last a bit longer—but made the day away gave me enough to go on.

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