Magic Moment

Rainbow at Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

British Columbia, Canada

 

Emerald Lake Rainbow - H

This was an absolutely magical moment this afternoon while we were visiting Emerald Lake. I was taking a picture of a line of red canoes stacked against each other when I heard a gasp from a group down the lake. I looked up to see a magnificent rainbow and its reflection. A second gasp went up when a second rainbow appeared. As if that wasn’t enough we snapped away as the sun hit the pine trees and the rainbow colors’ intensity increased until it looked like it was lit with neon. A once in a lifetime vision.

 

Emerald Lake Rainbow - V

Huckleberries and More Huckleberries

Huckleberry Patch - Sign 2

 

Huckleberry Patch Sign

Bob loves seeing that little bear lazing in a huckleberry patch – the logo for a company called the Huckleberry Patch, specializing in that little berry you mustn’t ever call a blueberry.

Huckleberries, designated the state fruit of Idaho, are found in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The Huckleberry Patch turns them into everything sweet and tasty.

 

We’ve patronized the store in St. Regis, Montana many times when traveling I-90. Today we found ourselves at the company’s motherland in Hungry Horse, Montana located a few miles west of Glacier National Park.

 

Huckleberries are often described as a small blueberry but locals are adamant they should not be called blueberries. We are told they can not be cultivated, that they only grow in the wild. Residents are very territorial about their “secret” patches. In fact this year one Montana man felt someone was intruding into his territory and shots were fired. No one was injured but it gives new perspective to an afternoon of berry picking. The other risk is that bears are quite fond the the small dark purple pearls.

 

Huckleberry Patch - Candy
Huckleberry Patch - Jars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you like your huckleberries in the form of syrup, honey, jam, preserves, jelly, vinaigrette, pie filling, barbecue sauce, or daiquiri mix. And, then there are the candies – huckleberry caramels, jelly beans, licorice, taffy, gummy bears, swirls or chocolate covered.   Or, how about fudge – huckleberry, huckleberry walnut, or huckleberry chocolate?

 

Huckleberry Patch - Fudge

 

Huckleberry ChocolatesDon’t overlook the huckleberry truffles in milk or dark chocolate. Decadent, but oh, so good. What a great gift they would be for a special someone back home.

 

Skipping right pass the soups, salads and sandwiches we made lunch on a slice of warm huckleberry pie a la mode, the ice cream choice being huckleberry – of course. One can even order an entire pie over the Internet it you need a fix once you’re home.

 

Huckleberry Patch - Pie

When traveling in the Northwest be sure to try huckleberries in some form. Bob was sure he was sure today that he was in Huckleberry Heaven – as happy as that little bear in the logo.

Trip to the Past

Garnet, Montana

Garnet, MT Townsite

Finding ourselves with a free afternoon we took the advice of the desk clerk at our Missoula hotel and headed to the hills for a trip into Montana’s past. Prospectors in search of gold first came to the Garnet Range (named for the semi-precious stone found here) in the early 1860s.

 

Garnet, MT StorefrontsThe mining camp named Garnet has gone through several cycles of boom and bust. Many of the original settlers had moved on by 1870. After repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1895 the town once again prospered supporting four stores, four hotels, three livery stables, two barber shops, a union hall, butcher shop, candy shop, doctor’s office, assay office, a school and thirteen saloons. By 1905 only 150 residents remained.

 

Garnet, MT DoorsThe final boom came in the mid 1930s with decline brought on by World War II. The post office closed in 1942. More than two dozen structures remain in Garnet, a few with private ownership but most are owned by the public and managed by the BLM which stabilizes and preserves the buildings.

 

During the summer BLM staff offer guided tours rich with stories of Garnet life through the ages. No staff was on site this September day but informative signs and a free pamphlet filled in with some of the historic tales.

 

We noted the variety of pines, firs and spruce in the forest and heights we don’t see in Colorado. Nearing the end of summer the ground covers and grasses presented a colorful contrast to the deep greens of the trees.

 

Garnet, MT Foliage

Getting There: The best access is from State Highway 200, from I-90 take exit 109, drive east on MT200 for 22 miles to a sign pointing south to Garnet Ghost Town. The 11 mile route passes through an experimental forest and the first three miles are paved with the last eight a wide, level gravel road.

 

 

We were amazed at how smooth this road was, no ruts or ripples, major streets in our town have more potholes. We started to return by the southern route but this road is much rougher, narrower, poorer maintained and marked. After a few miles we decided we were too old and the car too new for such an adventure. After a harrowing turn around we really appreciated the well graded route to highway 200.

A Carousel for Missoula – and, Bob

Bob at Missoula Carousel

When we travel we like to ride historic and/or hand-carved carousels, from New York state to Oregon we’ve visited these artistic creations. It took four years and over 100,000 hours of volunteer effort before the Carousel for Missoula took it’s first spin in 1995, truly a community effort and labor of love.

 

We’ve visit this Missoula treasure at least a half-dozen times when traveling through the area. When Bob made his bucket list for this trip high on that list was the Carousel for Missoula. We took two separate spins this afternoon – around and around at a pretty good clip. Afterwards we learned it is the second fastest carousel  in the United States. Bob’s smile was every bit as large as a three-year-old’s. The price was certainly right – 75 cents for seniors. We agree with their motto, “Where happiness comes full circle.”

 

 Next on the carousel checklist is the one in Spokane’s Riverside Park. Check back in a few days.

 

Missoula Carousel Door

Idaho Meets Southern Louisiana

Gator Jack’s Sandwhich Shack

Gator Jack's

We would never have stopped here except it was recommended by out B&B hosts. In fact we had driven right by on our way to the B&B and hadn’t even noticed there was a restaurant in the nondescript building.

 

Idaho meets southern Louisiana with surprisingly good results. I had the shrimp and andouille sausage jambalaya (small portion which was plenty for a very hungry lady). There was just the right kick in the spice. When I requested a slice of bread or a roll I received two pieces of sourdough (my choice) warm from the grill – no extra cost.

 

Catus Jack's PotatoesBob had the southern fried chicken dinner. Two pieces of breaded breast, a bowl of mashed potatoes with choice of white or brown gravy and fried green beans. The potatoes were enough to feed a family of four – this is Idaho after all. After tasting the green beans I wished I had ordered a side of my own (not that I needed them)). This probably wasn’t the most spectacular Cajun meal I’ve ever had but much, much better than I would ever expect to find west of the Rockies.

 

 Big mugs of sun ice tea quenched our thirst. We know is was as advertised truly sun tea as we spotted a big jug brewing on the window sill as we left. An added bonus was the two deliciously soft chocolate chip cookies our waitress dropped off as we finished  our meal. I had intended to order a slice of the made-from-scratch Herman’s German Chocolate Cake but no way could I have eaten another bite.

 

Service was cheerful and prompt, something we appreciated after a long day of travel. Prices are extremely reasonable for the quality and quantity, our total bill was $25 for two dinners and ice teas. Would definitely stop again when near Rigby.

After a Frosty Night

September 13, 2014

 

Autumn is Coming

Along Teton Park Road in Grand Teton National Park

 

We drove by this clump of trees yesterday afternoon about 4:30pm. There was a hint of autumn color change, but only a hint. Early morning temps dropped to around 23 degrees. Viola! The intense change was a shock as we neared this spectacular sight around 2pm today.

 

As I was taking pictures another lady hopped out of her car and said, “They weren’t like this yesterday.” No, but fall is a comin’.

Floral Abundance

in Vernal, Utah

Vernal - Petunias

Many cities decorate their business districts during the summer with hanging plants or planters filled with colorful blossoms but never have I seen a display like the one in Vernal, Utah. Petunias spill to the sidewalk from waist-high planters, drape over walls and cascade from large baskets hanging from every lamppost.

 

Vernal Hanging BasketI learned that the program started by the Chamber of Commerce, and now coordinated by the city, is in its 27th year. Depending on sources, I heard that there were either 900 or 1500 containers involved. I would believe the latter for how many blocks through of Main Street are adorned. Citizens sign up in the fall to be part of the planting brigade each spring. As we were leaving town we saw watering trucks on both sides of the streets working their magic.

 

Thank you Vernal for beautifying your town and sharing the floral abundance each summer.

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