Glacier NP Trip, Part III, a Kalispell postscript
Eventually, we returned to the part of town near the Motel 6 where about 2 blocks away was the Bulldog Pub. Dinner there was prime rib and BBQ pork.
Tuesday August 9 - My buddy's flight was in the morning so I went to the airport and dropped him off. Since my flight wasn't until the afternoon, I explored Kalispell for a few hours.
I had a huckleberry shake at Norm's News.
This photo below is of the mirror on the back bar which reflects the mural on the opposite wall.
While at Norm's News, I read in the menu that the building shared by Norm's News and the Western Outdoor shop was once the Opera House. I asked about it and the young woman behind the counter who made my shake and the lady waiting for a burger at the counter told me that indeed it was a rather famous place in the distant past. However, now, the upstairs was only used to store things and it hasn't been a meeting hall in some time.
The McIntosh Opera House building dates back to 1896.
Going south on the main road through town, you get to a traffic circle where the Flathead Valley county courthouse can be found. On the lawn, in front of the courthouse, was a display with the title, "Evolution of the Law." Replicas of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Northwest Ordinance, the Mayflower Compact and the text of Ten Commandments comprise the exhibit. It also is clearly noted that the items were all gifts to the county from a community organization. I take it that is how the display passes Constitutional tests regarding the showing of the Ten Commandments on government property as it was a gift and is in a historical context.
I stopped by the Hockaday Museum of Art. The building was made possible due to the Andrew Carnegie library projects. His library philanthropic funds built libraries all across the USA. The library was eventually converted to an art institute. When Hugh Hockaday, a local artist who was an advocate of arts education in the Flathead Valley, died, the art museum was named in his honor.
I did some knick-nack shopping at the Kalispell Center Mall.
My final stop was to Montana Coffee Traders. They have several stores and the one below is located here.
Montana Coffee Traders
328 W Center St
Kalispell, MT 59901
I saddled up to the bar to order a iced coffee. The young barista asked me where I was from and when I said, California, she said, I went to college in California. However, she explained that the lure of the vast beauty of Montana where she grew up was too much to resist.
Coffee apparently is big in Kalispell as I saw many coffee shops with people sitting and relaxing. I also saw many drive up coffee shacks. After the trip, I was relating this observation to one of my friends who thought about it and then said, its cold up there most of the time so people don't want to get out of their cars to get coffee. Makes sense to me!
Also surprising was the number of casinos in the small town. It seemed like such a clash of cultures.
In any case, Montana is truly big skies and wide open spaces. It amazed me how many people we met have their second homes in Montana because they fell in love with the park and come back summer after summer. I can see why. The beauty of the place is breathtaking. And it is a large place with so many trails to hike and lakes to see so there is always something new to explore and even familar routes will look a little different from year to year.
And, for now, because of its remote location, not overly crowded.
But the sense of crowdedness is a relative term. One time we were chatting with some fellow hikers and they commented that the trail seemed especially crowded that day. I smiled thinking back to my recent Yosemite trip and mentioned this to our fellow hikers and they laughed and said, I guess crowds are relative, eh?
Indeed, when we were at Cracker Lake, there were 5 people at the lake that evening. The nearest people were probably 6 miles away back at the Many Glacier Hotel. On many occasions, while hiking, we would not see anyone. It was magnificent solitude. Sometimes an hour or more would pass before we saw anyone. All around us, as far as the eye could see, the grandeur of nature and at that spot there was often only our two pair of eyes.
And that sound ... can you hear it?
Not quite no sound ...
It is really faint ... in the distance ... water falling ... a chirp of a bird ... and occasionally ... maybe ... just a little of the whisper of the wind rustling some trees or plants ...
And this near silence testifies of the Creator of the universe.