Flathead Lake, Montana

Day 25 & 26 – July 3 and 4, 2016

Mileage – 78,975

Hiked – 0 miles (but some paddling)

Flathead Lake, MT

July 3rd

We woke up and drove 6 hours in the car. As we rolled into the Newhall’s lake house driveway Tess and Chance greeted us. They showed the girls around to the lake and dock, the house, and the screened in porch with swinging beds. We met Tess’s grandparent’s bumpa (called Dodger) and mormor (Sally), Tess’s aunt Ashley and Finley (Ashley’s golden retriever). After the introductions Logan, Teryn and Tess walked back down to the beach and threw on their lifejackets. Teryn and Logan shared a paddle board and Tess went on her own. They paddled around. Tess stood and Teryn and Logan tried but mostly stayed on their knees. Everything was good and they did not jump in the water because they still had their clothes on. But then all of a sudden Tess was in the water. She was doing fine but then she just got off balance and fell in the water. They went to shore and Tess changed just in time for dinner. We ate corn, sausage, vegetables, and more, with ice-cold lemonade. After dinner Dodger took us on a boat ride so we could see more of the lake and beautiful homes surrounding it. We have a wonderful grilled dinner and enjoyed a slow pleasant evening hanging out by the lake.

July 4th

Happy 4th of July! Yesterday we had considered trying to get an early start on our journey to Glacier National Park. In the end however we opted for a fun day at the lake.   The day began with a wonderful morning pancake and bacon breakfast whipped up by Andrew and Elise. Kevin and Jenney selected fresh strawberry pancakes while the kids leaned more towards the M&M pancakes. Just like true Vermonters breakfast couldn’t be consumer without someone running out to the RV to get our “real” maple syrup.

After breakfast Logan, Teryn, Tess, and Chance got to try out a colored water balloon kit. The kits contained lots of water balloons that could be filled up at once with a garden hose. There were several colors and each balloon supposedly contained a water based, washable, dye. In the end the balloons sometimes proved harder to break than one would expect – bouncing off kiddos after being thrown with great force. Eventually all balloons were broken and from the look of the war everyone have a blast. Now slightly wet it was time for some more water fun.

Tess, Logan, and Teryn headed to the lake and pulled out the paddle-boards. Teryn and Logan sharing a board and Tess going sole. The wind was blowing very hard but the kids didn’t seems to mind at first as they paddled out of the dock area into the lake. As Andrew, Kevin, and Jenney watched the strong winds quickly took the three girls down the lakeshore at a pretty good pace. At first the adults found this funny but eventually it was determine that one of us should go after the kids and help them get back. Jenney to the rescue! Jenney jumped in a small kayak and paddled after the kids. Jenney helped them make their way up the lake and even pulled a little bit here and there with a rope.

With the morning paddle out of the way the kids (and Jenney) ventured on to jumping off the high platform of the neighbors dock. Both and Andrew and Kevin took lots of pictures of kids flying in the air with hopes of capturing the best combination of fun and exhilaration on their faces. Are they tired yet? The kids finished their morning water sports ventures with a light basking in the sun on the dock.

For lunchtime we loaded up the boat (Andrew, Elise, Tess, Chance, Kevin, Jenney, Logan, and Teryn) and headed to the nearby bird islands for a picnic. The water was still a little rough but we found a nice calm cove among the islands to park the boat and explore the shore and eat lunch. What an amazing little spot, while the girls swam Kevin, Andrew, and Jenney ventured up a steep path to explore the taller of the two island joined by a small connection. It is easy to feel like explorers on these remote and uninhabited chunks of land sitting within a huge beautiful lake.

After the returning from the islands the girls lobbied for one more activity before the boat was put away – tubing! Although the water was still a little choppy they were determined this wouldn’t be an issue. With Andrew in the drivers seat of the boat Kevin fulfilled the lookout and photographer role. Tess, Logan and Teryn jumped on the three-person tube and the fun commenced. For the most part the kids appeared to be having incredible fun with a few scattered moments of panic and terror as they got bounced around a little hard on some bigger waves. To our surprise no one was ejected off the tube and everyone returned home safely… with two tired arms each.

After tubing fun we have a great 4th of July dinner from the grill. Big hamburgers, little hamburgers, corn on the cob and more. As the sun slowly goes down (it stays light here until about 10 pm, it is crazy!) the action on the lake heats up with fireworks scattered all over the place. Andrew contributes to the festivities by handing out sparklers to the kids and soon he is into the box of the larger stuff. We all agree one of the best fireworks in his arsenal is a fountain that seems to go on for minutes shooting up fire, sparks, and pretty colors. We also all agree the box of fireworks is perhaps a bit too close the action.

With all of the fireworks set off we begin to wait for the legend. Andrew and crew explain that a few houses down someone usually puts on a fireworks show to rival big cities. We are told of tales of the whole sky lite up with explosions bigger then we have ever seen. Usually it starts around 10 or 10:30 pm, once it is dark. Soon we see dozens of boats heading down toward the home and sitting in the water waiting. Apparently the legend is well known. However, 10 arrives and passes. 10:30 pm arrives and passes. 11:00 arrives and passes. Soon folks are starting to give up, perhaps the neighbor is not doing them this year. Just about everyone is ready to give up (in fact some folks head up to bed) when all of a sudden a huge explosion goes off in the air close to 11:30 pm. It is about time, a little longer and it would be July 5th! The show that follows is perhaps one of the best we have ever seen. Not sponsored by any town or city, just a private individual, but it is spectacular and of the caliber of a large city display. We are in awe as some of the explosions can be felt in our chests. Tired we head to bed knowing we have just witnessed one of the best fireworks shows we are likely to see in a long time.

July 3rd Pictures

July 4th Pictures