By Alkali Springs Correspondent
We spent some time at Christmas at what the smallest of our chickadees always referred to as the Big Water. That would be Flathead Lake.
You know with weather on the east side of the mountains, life is constantly tougher than on the west side. It doesn't matter if you live on the prairie, in the mountains or in town, it is colder, more windy and generally a tad more disagreeable. We guess that you could say that it builds character, but it is really great to get a little "time out" once in a while for horizontal snow and 20 below temperatures.
It isn't like that in the Flathead Valley. Temperatures do not vary much from day to night and very rarely does it get below zero unless you travel into high, high mountain valleys. It is gray and grim looking most of the time and in the past we have gone for a week without ever seeing the mountains across the lake or the sun shining. But it just seems like for a little while anyway, a kinder and more gentle climate.
We spent a morning in Glacier National Park and believe us when we tell you that it is even more empty than Beaver Creek Park this time of year. On the west side, people can drive to the head of Lake McDonald and then ski a long way up the snow covered road. In fact, some folks make a weekend stay at Avalanche Lake a highlight of their Christmas break. But the day we were traveling around Glacier, we did not see a single car or person anywhere. It is a sleepy time in Glacier, but a time of some of the most incredible beauty of any time of the year. Just think of all those beautiful cedar trees covered in their huge mantles of white, contrasting with their lacy green beauty. That against the backdrop of that lake and those mountains, why we cannot even attempt to do it justice. You have to see it to believe it!
Same with Big Fork. We have to admit that Big Fork has never been in our top ten towns to call home, but what they do at Christmas with trees, greens, and Christmas lights is just simply out of this world. That must be a town united. We have never seen anything like it. Everything decorated to the nines, even bridges and roads!
We spent a morning at Blacktail ski area, the new development just west of Lakeside. They were busy and the views afforded in every direction from that ski area are spectacular. Looking west, the views are just out of a Charlie Russell painting as mountain range after mountain range goes on into infinity. Looking east, there is Flathead Lake and the Mission Mountains sprawled out down below, and looking north, there is a lake, Kalispell, Big Mountain and Glacier Park. Don't ski? Worth the trip anyway just to look.
And, of course, spending Christmas with loved ones was best of all.
But, you know, when we got back from our "time out," the prairie and those beautiful old Bear Paws looked pretty darn good as well! That is the good thing about going. Makes you like home even better!