John & Anne Wiley

2016/09/30

Catching Whitefish

We did more than wonder about Whitefish. We decided to launch out of Cut Bank into the 40mph headwind toward the stormy looking Rockies for a closer look. As we got closer the wind lessened and it was clear we had three excellent choices: turn and ride the wind back to Cut Bank; weave through the wide valleys along a highway and turn back if we didn’t like how it looked at some point; or, climb over most of the clouds. After some dialog we chose curtain #3, because climbing gave us the most options. We could still descend through any of the countless holes in the clouds or turn back, but we could better see and avoid any of the few tall clouds with potential for rain below. Quickly the wind all but stopped and in mere minutes we neared the valley where KGPI awaits. With a clear path and few clouds ahead we descended between the scattered clouds into the more smoky and humidity-hazed air over Hungry Horse Reservoir.

2427 Hungry Horse

2427 Hungry Horse

By this time we were hungry too. Not just for a gourmet dinner and colorful nightlife, but also for the welcoming cool and green we were nestling down into.

2434 Green

2434 Green

Even with logged, burned and dead patches of forest, this was a refreshing change from the prairie. Ahead we could see Flathead Lake and several towns just beyond the last peaks below us.

2436 Flathead Lake

2436 Flathead Lake

One last alpine lake (Strawberry I think) slipped close beneath our wings in the still air, evoking memories of the arduous hikes and rustic camping of youth.

2453 Strawberry Lake

2453 Strawberry Lake

Now all that remained was to follow the river toward KGPI and enjoy the sunset scenery.

2471 Flathead River Eve

2471 Flathead River Eve

That night we wandered the streets of Whitefish and caught a great dinner, completing an especially glorious day that began with family and ended with a toast to precious memories.

Tupelo Grille Toast

Tupelo Grille Toast

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