Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Grand Gallivant: On the Road to Idaho

After three solid days in Glacier, it was time to head out for our next destination. We decided to split the drive into two days for Zach’s sake, and to give us a little more down time before getting to our next farm. So on Saturday, we only had a four-hour drive, allowing us to bum around Agpar Village in the rain all morning. Off we drove, retracing our steps to Kalispell through a maze of tiny tourist traps (advertising huckleberry pie, preserves, ice cream, soda, pastries, sauces, wine, and anything else you could possibly put huckleberries in), then heading south.

We wound along the edge of Flathead Lake, which is the largest-area freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Clouds hung low over it, giving the water a glassy gray shine. We soared along the deserted stretches of highway and crawled through the little towns, listening to The Who’s Live at Leeds. (“A young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days,” Roger Daltrey howled, and Zach remarked, “See, young people have always complained about everything.”) 

After rejoining Interstate 90 (and its awesome 80 MPH speed limit), we soon left the trees behind and took the open plains, bordered by mountains and patched over with farmland. 

Cute doggie!
Our stop for the night was Anaconda, where a couchsurfing host had offered us a place to crash— except we found out last minute that she wasn’t going to be there. She seemed perfectly comfortable with the notion of us staying there, though, and just left the door open. Maybe it’s my big-city ways, but I was paranoid that she was some sort of creative ax-murderer trying to lure us into her house. Inside, we found a friendly note on the kitchen counter and a blue heeler (Australian shepherd) who was terrified of us at first, but soon warmed up and nearly loved us to death. We spent a relaxed evening cooking dinner, and slept like rocks that night. But it was definitely the strangest couchsurfing experience I’ve had yet!

Sunday’s drive took us into even more open plains, where hawks perched on the barbed wire fences, antelope roamed through the sagebrush, and magpies and ravens scavenged for roadkill. We listened to Frank Zappa’s song “Montana” in honor of our last day there, then passed the rest of the state listening to Ziggy Stardust. The unchanging miles— sagebrush, farmland, distant mountains— rolled by as we passed into Idaho.

Zappa's song discusses his plans to move to Montana to become a dental floss tycoon.
Therefore, here is a picture of me in Montana with dental floss.

We had noticed the day before that our route to the farm took us past Craters of the Moon National Monument, so we made plans to stop. I’m so glad we did! The park covers several acres of weird volcanic landscape, and thanks to our national parks pass, we got in for free.

Looking down into a crater

We hiked a 3.5 there-and-back trail over mounds of lava in different stages of crumbling, from smooth bubbles of gray rock to dust-like particles that looked like asphalt. Cones and columns of lava jutted out at odd angles. 

The wildflowers were in peak bloom as well— rarely more than two inches high, they had tiny flowers in muted pastel colors, evenly spaced so their root systems could gather precious water. The winters here are arctic, and the summer ground temperatures can reach 150ºF, so I greatly admire these hardy little plants.

After Craters of the Moon, it was time to reach our next farm! We got a bit lost wandering the dirt roads, but at last found the right house and were greeted by Kate and Billy, who gave us a tour of their property, including the two-bedroom house that we get all to ourselves. That was two days ago, and our time here so far has been fantastic... but that’s another blog post. Welcome to Idaho!


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