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Boomer’s 1st Trip: Day 2 – National Bison Range & Flathead Lake Montana

National Bison Range and Flathead Lake Montana
The National Bison Range by Moiese, MT

Day two of our trip to Montana was full of driving from Missoula to Whitefish. Our first stop was The National Bison Range. According to my research it was best to visit in the morning as the animals would be most active during that time. Little did I know that would include Boomer as well!

National Bison Range and Flathead Lake Montana
A stack of Elk Antlers greets you at the Visitors Center

As we pulled into the visitors center parking lot I could see a bison herd off in the distance.  When I picked up our entrance ticket I learned that there were two routes through the park, one long and one short. I thought I would increase our chances of seeing animals and take the longer route.

National Bison Range and Flathead Lake Montana
Bison off in the distance

As we drove along we found a herd of pronghorns. I stopped the truck and Boomer and I watched the herd.

A pronghorn oblivious to Boomer
A pronghorn oblivious to Boomer

Boomer found the pronghorns strange and I quickly realized that he wanted to make sure I knew he just how strange he thought they were. I sat and watched him for a few minutes before I started to recorded him “talking”.  His behavior was was hilarious and worthy of telling my friends about.  I pulled out the camera and recorded him as I did not want to reenact his behavior for my friends when I told the story. I can be accused of being overly animated when I tell stories but we will let the video do the work for us here.

And now who can be accused of being overly animated? 🙂

As we proceeded along the road amazingly enough Boomer did not seem as blown away by the bison as with the pronghorns but I think he enjoyed himself. The longer route was not as animal filled as I had hoped. The bison and pronghorns were pretty much at the start and ends of the road, so the middle of the route was less than entertaining. The road was fairly steep in a few places and could be potentially considered “off roading” if you were in a sedan. I never had to put the truck in to 4X4 but I was glad to have the clearance.

National Bison Range and Flathead Lake Montana
Bison on the range

If you would like to visit the National Bison Range they are located at 58355 Bison Range Road Moiese, MT 59824. The entrance fee is $5.00 USD and times vary by season. Along the long route there are some hiking trails for anyone who wants to stretch their legs.  There is also a restroom about half way through the drive. Dogs are allowed in the park on leash however remember to keep them away from wildlife for their safety and yours.

We continued on to Dayton Montana to the Mission Mountain Winery. This is along the Flathead Lake. Now I come from a beautiful area with a rather large lake, so take that into consideration when I say what I am about to say.  Flathead Lake is one of the most captivating lakes with amazing lush scenery I have ever seen. The sunny day illuminated the sparkling water as we drove along the scenic highway 93 that traced the shoreline of the lake.

Although this was my first time there it will surely not be the last. You are probably wondering where the photos are of this “captivating” lake.  If it was so stunning why did I not take a photo of it? Well for some reason I kept thinking the next spot would be a better picture.  And then the next and the next until we came to the end of the lake and I had lost my opportunity. I am planning on returning this summer and promise two things: to post some pictures from my trip and secondly never make that mistake again.

(Please note that this blog was originally posted in 2013.  It is now 2015 and I just happen to be re-reading this post.  I will not lie to you I still make these “not taking photo” mistakes to this day.  Do not believe these lies that I say as I will stop such behavior!)

Our next stop was for lunch in Lakeside Montana at Tamarack Brewing (231 W Front Street). They also have a brew pub located in downtown Missoula.  If you are in the Lakeside area I recommend going here.  It is the source and beer is always best at the source. The brew pub is an awesome space, wide open with a large bar. Try the Yard Sale Ale.  I know that I have mentioned the Yard Sale before, but when I like something I tend to repeat myself.  Especially after a few beers.

When you travel alone you tend to observe things you may not necessarily have noticed else wise.  While I was sitting at the bar a lady with a mixed alcohol drink asked the bartender for a “to go cup”. He informed her “we can’t do that”. Understandable but my question, not to him, but still a question, when I asked the same guy for a growler, essentially a to go cup of beer, he was more than happy to fill me up a growler. Not that I want my right of being able to leave a brewery with a growler of beer taken away but I find this odd.

National Bison Range and Flathead Lake Montana
Tamarack Brewing in Lakeside Montana

I had a last-minute add on to our trip.  Usually I never have time to allow for this to happen. I had seen on the internet the night before that a junking show was happening just outside of Kalispell.  For anyone who does not know what a junking show is, it is sort of antique/flea market. I quickly found the show and started searching for treasures. As I made my way around I heard a familiar voice, “what are you doing here?”. I glanced up to find a friend from home with her husband, also searching for treasures. Even when you are traveling alone, you still can run into people you know. It makes the world seem a little less big 🙂

National Bison Range and Flathead Lake Montana

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