Glacier National Park: Iceberg Lake Hike

Glacier National Park: Iceberg Lake Hike

Glacier National Park: Iceberg Lake Hike

My friend Laura was coming to visit me and she had requested to see Glacier National Park during her stay, specifically to see glaciers. I obliged her, because I would be crazy to say no to revisiting this lovely park but sadly had to break the news about the glaciers. We could see them, but it would take some pretty hefty hiking to get to one. Continue reading

Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald Boat Tour

Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald Boat Tour

Lake McDonald Boat Tour

When I visited Glacier National Park for the first time I wanted to experience everything. So I booked a tour on the red bus, took a helicopter flight over the Glacier and took a cruise around Lake McDonald on the DeSmet. Continue reading

Beer Mango Chutney Shrimp and Rice Recipe

Beer Mango Chutney Shrimp

Beer Mango Chutney Shrimp and Rice

Chutney. Such a strange word, right? Chutney stems from Asian cuisine and means a mixture of spices, vegetables or fruit. In our case today we will be using mango chutney. Although I could make mango chutney from scratch, I took the lazy route and bought a jar of it from the store. I’m just going to throw this out there – I also could have caught the shrimp needed for this recipe, but again I took the easy, er lazy, route and got them from the store as well.

This recipe is fairly easy to follow as there are few ingredients along with few steps. I was inspired by Deschutes Hop Trip Shrimp with Mango Glaze recipe.

What you will need for this recipe:
2 pounds of shrimp
2 cups mango chutney
3″ ginger root cut into coins
2 oz honey
1 cup water
1 cup beer – I recommend a blonde or IPA beer

You will add all the ingredients in a pan minus the shrimp. Bring to a boil and let it reduce slightly. Remove the ginger and place the liquid in a bowl in the fridge to chill for one hour.

Once the hour is up, add the shrimp (pre-cooked) to the glaze and that’s it! I did end up making rice to go along with the shrimp as I wanted this to be more of a meal than a appetizer.

Pretty simple right?

Glacier National Park: Red Bus Tour

Glacier National Park Red Bus Tour

Glacier National Park Red Bus Tour

It was my first visit to Glacier National Park and I wanted to absorb every ounce of touristy stuff I could. I booked Drama Papa and I a Red Bus Tour, which is probably one of the most touristy things you can do at Glacier. Although I like to drive most places, it was nice to hand the wheel over to someone else and take in the scenery.

We visited Glacier before the high season in May. Typically I love visiting places off season as there are less tourists, but this meant that the Red Bus Tours were running a limited schedule. We took the Huckleberry Mountain Tour as it was our only option from the west side of the park at this time of year. This tour runs from May 25th to June 19th and consists of a 3.5 hour tour. The tour is mostly driving with a few stops for photo opportunities and two spots to stretch you legs.

Glacier National Park Red Bus Tour

The Red Bus outside of Lake McDonald Lodge

What I was most excited about was riding around in the Red Bus, or known at Glacier NP as Reds. The drivers are known as “Jammers” who would jam the gears shifting on the mountains roads. A tricky transmission was the culprit for the jamming noise.

Glacier National Park Red Bus Tour

A view through the roof of the Red Bus

The buses’ history started in 1935, toting tourists around Yosemite National Park. The buses’ convertible tops and large capacity made for a great site-seeing vehicle. Other national parks followed suit along with Glacier, Yellowstone and Gettysburg National Battlefield, who operates two of Yellowstone’s original 98 buses. The Glacier buses received an overhaul in 2000-2002, converting some of them to use propane, instead of fuel, reducing the impact on the environment. The transmissions were also replaced from a manual to an automatic, thus removing the “jamming” sound. The changes are not visually noticeable and the body of the bus still looks as though it did in 1935, but now the buses fall in line with the overall mission of the National Parks Service:

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

The Huckleberry Mountain Tour picks up at 4 locations: Lake McDonald Lodge, Village Inn, West Glacier KOA and Apgar Transit Center, where Drama Papa and I were staying. We boarded the bus along with a group of other people. It was crowded and I was sandwiched in the middle. Not the best location for photography, but the rollback top on the bus came in handy when we were stopped of course – this wasn’t a bachelorette party in Vegas!  The rollback top allowed me to stand above my fellow tour mates and snap away photos to my heart’s content.

Glacier National Park Red Bus Tour

Lake McDonald

Our first stop was the west end of Lake McDonald. It was the classic spot to take a photo of the lake.

We traveled along the open portion of the Going To The Sun Road to the “end of the line”, stopping at Avalanche Creek, taking a stroll along the Tree of the Cedars. The rest of the road was closed due to snow.  The Avalanche Creek area is usually packed with people, but I do recommend stopping here and checking out the creek, even if you have to park in the campground overflow parking.

Glacier National Park Red Bus Tour

It’s funny, right?

The tour also took us out to the Huckleberry Mountain Nature Trail. Here we was the devastation of the 2001 forest fire. I never like looking at burned trees, but I do find humor in this photo.

The tour finished up and dropped us back off at Apgar. It was an enjoyable tour however if you are visiting later in the year I would try to take a tour that takes you over the Going To The Sun Road. Although I have not taken that specific tour, I can say not having to drive on this road and being able to take in the scenery would be a nice treat. I have drove on the Going To The Sun Road a few times and always find myself either pulling over often or scrambling for the camera. It’s really unfortunate that Boomer’s legs don’t reach the peddles, otherwise I’d let him drive and I could take the photos :-)

There are handful of different Red Bus tours to chose from that vary by season, duration and geographically.

A Helicopter Tour of Glacier National Park

A Helicopter Tour of Glacier National Park

Our helicopter

I had waited 28 years to visit Glacier National Park. 28 years and I lived only 4 hours away. It’s a pretty embarrassing fact if you ask me. Another fact is that the glaciers in Glacier NP are melting at a pretty rapid rate. There is a prediction out there that all the glaciers will be gone by 2030…. that’s only 15 years away!

When I planned my first trip to Glacier it was in May. May was not necessarily the best time to visit but it is what worked out for my visit. Weather is usually unpredictable at that time of year, meaning it could still be snowing. Although I did not experience any snow on this trip, there were a few slushy days. Or as our weatherman calls it “snain”. Which I’m sure whoever coined that term thinks they’re pretty clever :-) Continue reading

Spicy Beer Mac and Cheese Recipe

Spicy Beer Mac and Cheese Recipe

Spicy Beer Mac and Cheese Recipe

The other day I was snooping around on Deschutes pub recipe page and found a sweet and spicy mac and cheese recipe.  Like many of their other recipes I thought I would give this one a go.  I have yet to replicate something that isn’t delightful.  I started writing down the ingredients and noticed something … there was no beer.  What?  I can’t cook without beer! Continue reading

Glacier National Park : Going to the Sun Road

Glacier National Park : Going to the Sun Road

Lake McDonald from Apgar Village

Glacier National Park is the crown jewel of Montana… hell it’s the crown jewel of pretty much the entire Northwest. I spend a lot of time traveling around the Northwest and have yet to find somewhere more stunning.

Glacier National Park : Going to the Sun Road

Lake McDonald from Lake McDonald Lodge

I mean look at that.

Glacier National Park : Going to the Sun Road

Lake McDonald

Right???

Glacier National Park : Going to the Sun Road

Glacier National Park : Going to the Sun Road

Places shouldn’t be allowed to be this pretty.  It’s too overwhelming. Continue reading

Great Northern Brewing, Whitefish Montana

Great Northern Brewing, Whitefish Montana

Great Northern Brewing, Whitefish Montana

When I was in elementary school the local newspaper asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. There were the typical answers of firefighter, astronaut and then my response, an Olympic skier who wins a gold medal and lives in Whitefish Montana. It was a pretty specific dream that obviously I did not achieve… and I’m pretty sure I won’t achieve the gold medal part this late in life. Continue reading

Beer Chicken Pot Pie

Beer Chicken Pot Pie

Beer Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is one of my most favorite things to eat. The flaky crust mixed with veggies, chicken and warm creamy gravy mmmmmm. Damn it – now I’m hungry.

So obviously the thought of adding beer, another favorite of mine, to chicken pot pie – had potential for awesomeness. And after I made this recipe I was aware of it’s awesomeness – so much so that I made it again within the week. Continue reading

Taking a drive along Lake Kootcanusa Scenic Byway, Montana

Lake Kootcanusa Scenic Byway, Montana

Lake Kootcanusa Scenic Byway, Montana

One of the benefits to living where Boomer and I do is that short distances provide excellent adventures. With my job change I no longer have a lot of vacation time so traveling long distances frequently is pretty much out of the question for the time being. Add on that I started a dog cookie business last year with the bulk of my business being done at farmers’ markets I am one busy girl during the summer. Continue reading