A four-day stop at Flathead Lake was the absolute perfect location for us to fill in four days between leaving Sandpoint, Idaho and our upcoming reservations in West Glacier. The “unseasonably warm” 90+ degree weather was starting to wear on us so we figured a big deep cold Montana lake was just what we needed.
Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States with an average depth of 165 feet and unbelievable water clarity. Like Caribbean-style blue water! The setting for the lake is gorgeous as the curving shoreline is bordered on by two mountain ranges - the Mission Mountains on the east and the Salish Mountains – both seamlessly highlight the lakes natural beauty.
As luck would have it we were able to book all four nights at the West Shore State Park which was a good score since we made plans on short notice and butting up to the 4th of July holiday. What we found was much more than just a big deep cold lake to cool off in but an extremely relaxing four days that had us doing a lot of a whole lot of nothing. The park is small (only 129 acres) but very quiet for the bustling summer destination that is Flathead Lake. We quickly settled into our great campsite which was a short walk to a pebble beach and had a great big patio that was shaded with towering pine trees.
So as Spirit and I swam in the cold clear water I remarked to Betsy how comfortable it was not to have “things” lurking beneath (like alligators or sharks) and how nice it was that my feet gently glazed over soft rounded rocks (instead of my toes sinking in soft gooey muck). Ah, yes…how relaxing!
|Betsy and Spirit fighting over a stick. Spirit eventually won!|
But as I started digging into the history of this lake and region, what did I come upon but the legend of the “Flathead Lake Monster.” So maybe there is something lurking underneath after all. The monster is akin to the Loch Ness Monster and is described as “a large eel-shaped creature, round with a wavy body like a snake, that spans from twenty to forty feet.” Great!
The first documented sighting dates back to 1883 when a steamship captain saw what he and his passengers thought was a log. But as they approached the object, they realized it was more whale-like and advancing their ship. One passenger pulled out a gun and shot at the animal which quickly disappeared under the surface…still alive. Over the years, many more sightings have occurred and one person even claimed to have seen it twice. Some reported to have seen two different monsters. Now if you don’t believe in scary monsters of the deep, then you may theorize that these prehistoric sea creatures people are seeing are actually sturgeon (another prehistoric sea creature but one that actually exists). It may be of interest for you skeptics to know that the increase in sightings also corresponds to years with high sturgeon populations.
But let me say that with temperatures approaching 100 degrees, Spirit and I were not getting out of the water. I convinced myself the monster was probably a vegetarian anyway.
|Could this be the monster out of water?|