Mungy Moose in Coeur d'Alene
Rainbow Trout aquarium
Double Rainbow near Flathead Lake

Left the Cascades and drove across Washington and Idaho towards the Rockies. Stopped for lunch in Coeur d’Alene, where I had an excellent elk burger topped with brie and pear, and a blueberry-dressed salad. Very country-chic. We got off I-90 in Montana, and headed north through a dry thunderstorm. Saw an excellent double rainbow near Polson, and wondered what it all meant. At least the car got a natural shower. Arrived later than I had planned to Kendra and Dan’s, forgetting about the hour difference to mountain time, but they were good hosts and gave us beer for dinner anyways.

Flowers reclaiming the burned forest
Looking down on our campsite
Upper Kintla Lake

Woke early for our drive up to the park, with Kendra graciously accompanying us as a car shuttle between trailheads. It turned out that we couldn’t hike the route I had planned, because snow still blocked the pass, so we settled for an out and back to Upper Kintla Lake. It was still beautiful, and probably enough hiking for the moderate shape that we are in. I knew that California could make me soft, but I didn’t think it would happen so soon.

The friendly trail crew at our campsite saw a pair of bears splashing into the other side of the lake, but by the time I found my binoculars they had disappeared. Probably for the best, as I didn’t really want to have to use the bear spray Kendra insisted we take. We did hear barking twice on the trail, which was close enough for me. We did see lots of other friendly wildlife:

Zerene Fritillary
Big toad

When we emerged from the woods dusty and sweaty, we returned to Kendra and Dan’s for showers and a bike excursion to their favorite bar in Kalispell. Moose’s Saloon had cheap pitchers of local beer, a sawdust floor, good “Montana-style” pizza. We got the jalapeno, sauerkraut and sausage special, which is as delicious as it sounds.