Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Flathead Lake, Montana

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?


  1. Great find for a spot to spend those hot days we had. Not sure I am hardy enough to brave the cold waters of Flathead Lake!

  2. I know what you mean about "things" being in the water - I hate swimming in most lakes because it freaks me out when I can't see what's around me...and growing up in Louisiana I saw one too many alligators. And the squishy bottoms...gross!! A cool lake with clear water and a pebble bottom sounds perfect, especially in the heat!

  3. We just drove by Flathead Lake about a week ago. At least I think that was the lake we drove by...it seemed to go on an on forever. I wish we could have stopped but we had plans to meet friends in Glacier. Anyway I just found your blog through another and liked the name so I decided to pop in. That is so cool that Nancy (I think it was Nancy) used to be a cat trainer! I think there are probably only a few people in the world with that talent. :-)

    1. Jenn, thanks for commenting...I had a great time exploring your blog. Wow, I thought raising a puppy in a motorhome was hard but I can't imagine kids. What a great experience they will have. We are at the North American RV park in Glacier if you are still in the area and want to have a beer. The best part about being a cat trainer was hand-raising the cubs. That is until the mountain lions used my couch as a scratching post and the clouded leopards climbed the curtains.

  4. Best friend of my life lived in Poulbo for many years. Such great memories of the Flathead. That is one great kayak river, by the way, in case you get to try it out. And yes, there IS a monster there, in addition to another one in Priest Lake. Just like Nessie.

  5. I'm with you, I'd swim in that lake because of the high temperatures, monster or no monster!

  6. Wow cool! Maybe I can convince my parents to take us there(I'm only 13).


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