Meadow Peak Lookout

I laughed when we woke up the morning of this trip.

Just two days before I had posted on our instagram about how everyone else was talking about winter, but we here at North End was holding onto autumn…

There was snow in them dar hills

We travelled east of Kalispell on Hwy 2 towards Libby, MT. Just as we crossed into Lincoln county we turned right onto a logging road.

Autumn was in full force and the larches were beautiful… but the further we peered up Meadow Peak, the more snow we saw.

About half way up we stopped at a switch back that was fully covered in snow and had delicious breakfast hash… We can’t take credit for it however, our friend Jody dished it up.

The rest of the trail was covered in snow and the gate was locked. This meant we had to hike the 1/4 of a mile to the top of Meadow Peak and it’s look out tower.

The winter jaunt, didn’t disappoint

1977 Toyota Landcruiser travel to Meadow Peak Lookout in Montana
Panoramic from Meadow Peak Lookout overlooking Thompson chain of Lakes in Montana

Someone is currently rehabilitating the look out. The inside was boarded up, but the cat walk was still open. We busted out the drone and got our first real footage that will be included in our YouTube video of this trip.

We look forward to revisiting this trail again, preferably when the snow has gone and with clear skies.

Meadow Peak Montana in a 1977 Toyota Landcruiser

Landcruiser Makes Guest Appearance

This past weekend Lola was invited to a special event.

She agreed to give the off roading a break and instead make a guest appearance at our families annual hayride.

We know this isn’t a travel piece that you’ve come to expect from us (be sure to keep scrolling to see our other Landcruiser Adventures) but we thought that we would take this post to introduce more about who we are.

The hayride started 7 years ago, it was low key and we all fit on one trailer. It has since grown to a classic country band, two trailers with lots of seating and a lot more of Mom’s famous chili.

Lola led the convoy of our friends and family to the dead end of our road, it should be noted here that it’s our farm’s location that gave name to this whole blog. We are located on the North End of Flathead Lake (the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi).

When we are not out exploring in Lola, we are in our boat soaking up the all too short summers here in Montana. Our family farm is on the back waters of the Flathead River that feeds the lake, and we can actually take the boat all the way to our road… Now if we could just convince the other farmers to put in a neighborhood dock!

We will be back at the adventures next week, but wanted to share a video of Lola from this weekend.

 

 

 

Sylvia Lake

This is a post about one of the best kind of trips…

Unplanned adventures

This summer we woke up on a Sunday and decided to load up the Landcruiser, pull out a Forest Service map from the glove box and just… go…

Studying the map we noticed a lake along the map’s border- Sylvia Lake

Be sure to check out our video of this unplanned adventure

on our

YouTube channel,

 while you are there, check out our video from last week’s post,

Glacier National Park.

 

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Glacier, why you so ugly?

Glacier National Park

We’ve visited this park many times… but never before in the fall.

We feel soo stupid now…

Going to the sun road fall Glacier National Park

It was decided as we drove, and had to pick our jaws off the floor of Lola, that fall is the ONLY time to visit this National Park.

  • Less crowds (they have 2.2 million visitors a year)
  • Going-to-the-sun-road is open to Logan Pass (it typically closes the third Monday in October and it takes the brave snow removal team until the start of July to have it open)
  • Most importantly- the fall colors!

The views are amazing…. but Glacier isn’t a one trick pony!

Going-to-the-sun-road is approximately 50 miles and traverses an epic climb to 6,646 feet at Logan Pass. As you climb in elevation the views get more spectacular.

Most people start at the west entrance, drive to the visitor center located at Logan Pass and then travel back down the same way.

It’s a shame…

Although the East side of the park doesn’t have the butt puckering drop offs like it’s sister to the west, it does offer…

  • More elbow space (AKA less visitors)
  • Typically more wildlife (we saw 5 bears and 1 moose this trip)
  • Breath taking change from the Rocky Mountains to the plains

And no… We didn’t manage to get any good photo’s of the bears…

toyota landcruiser st.mary lake glacier national parkAs you keep heading East, St. Mary’s Lake appears to your right. It offers a boat launch where  you can hop aboard a scenic boat tour. It’s unneeded if you are short on time to fully enjoy this breath taking place.

You leave the Park in St. Mary, Montana and we choose to head south towards Two Medicine Lake and the town of East Glacier as we heard that there was an amazing Mexican restaurant calling our names.

We came across some cattle that gave us our first traffic jam of the day before we came to the turn off for Two Medicine Lake. It was this area where we marked bears off of wildlife bingo.

Two Medicine Lake feels different from the visitor packed west side of the park. The camp store was boarded up and closed for the season, but that isn’t what we came for anyways…

upper two medicine lake glacier national park

We back tracked to the main road and continued south where we hit some road construction that escorted us to Hwy 49 or as the locals call it, Looking Glass Hill. We pulled over and let others go around us as they seemed to be in a hurry after waiting for the pilot car.

When we hit the highway again, we noticed a dirt road…

Correction… more like two ruts on their way up a hill

We decided that Lola had been forced to drive the nice paved road long enough and we let her do what she was born to do. We had no idea where this road (using that term loosely) was going to take us, but when we got there it was a beautiful place to capture where the mountains meet the plains.

looking glass hill toyota landcruiser montana

As we entered East Glacier we passed the Glacier Park Lodge. Neither of us had seen it before and it was an impressive building. We drove under the tunnel and found the Mexican joint… and the long line of other folks who had heard about it…

Our stomachs weren’t going to wait quietly– so we decided to back track to the Glacier Park Lodge and enjoy dinner there.

The lodge was started in 1913 by rail road workers, and the train is still active and many people travel to the lodge this way. The lodge is even more impressive on the inside. The large timbers that construct the lodge were a main topic of conversation as we ate and drank the local spirits.

The food was delicious, but the ambiance could be kicked up a notch or two. Either way, we both agreed that we should come back and stay for a night… and perhaps visit that amazing Mexican restaurant.

Have you visited Glacier National Park?

If so, leave a comment below and be sure to check out our Instagram!

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Phillipsburg, MT – A Gem of a Town

In our last post we shared about our recent trip to Montana’s mining city, Butte. Writing that post I knew I wanted to separate our travelling for the trip, because Philipsburg deserves a post of it’s own.

In our 77′ Landcruiser we knew that we were going to have to take the back roads as much as possible to Butte… Can’t quite keep up with the vehicles on the interstate… nor do we really want to.

We left Kalispell early in the morning and drove the Swan Highway. Slightly colder then we anticipated, and if you followed our Instagram stories of the trip, you might recall Andy warming his hands with the help of Lola’s vents.

We topped our tank in Seeley Lake and turned left at the Clearwater Junction, heading East on MT Highway 200. We noted that there was a sign in Ovando that gave mileage to Helmville and decided we would try that route on the way home.

By the time we rolled into Helmville it was lunch time and we stopped at the Copper Queen Saloon. A great local eatery. We had fun looking around at the signatures on the ceiling, some were from the 80’s.Toyota Landcruiser Copper Queen Saloon Helmville Montana

We drove Hwy 271 that snaked through sage brush and HUGE grasshoppers that forced us to stop in Drummond to clean our windshield before we headed south.

 

We drove into Philipsburg and parked Lola on a side street adjacent from the Philipsburg Brewing Company and went in for a brew. The taproom is beautiful… Can a brewery be considered beautiful?… Not sure, but I’m sticking with it.

We didn’t know it at the time, but we visited “The Vault” (named after the historic Sayr’s Bank Building constructed in the 1880s that now is the home of the brewery). They also have a newer space, “The Springs”, which is opened when the weather is cooperating. There is no shortage of history in their second location as it has the original hoptower from the Kroger Brewery that operated in the same location in 1875.

Andy’s Drink Suggestion: Otter Water Session Pale Ale

Crystal’s Drink Suggestion: Haybag American Hefeweizen

The Sweet Palace in Philipsburg, Montana.jpgWe walked down to the The Sweet Palace, this is a must do when you travel to Philipsburg. Especially when you didn’t bring your daughter and she knows you are going to Philipsburg and she loves fudge… They have an amazing space and selection. Just be sure to visit on any other day besides Saturday, they aren’t open.

Andy at Gem Mountain in Philipsburg, Montana.jpgCrystal at Gem Mountain in Philipsburg, Montana.jpgSapphires from Gem Mountain in Philipsburg, Montana

 

 

 

 

Besides the sweets, Philipsburg is well known for their sapphires. On previous trips we’ve always visited Gem Mountain’s mine located on the Skalkaho Pass, 22 miles west of town. But this trip we tried our mining hands in town at their indoor gravel washing located in the garage to the west of the store. Just as much fun as the outdoor mine, and just as many sapphires! We highly recommend you stop at either location and grab a bucket.

Shakes from Doe Brothers in Philipsburg, Montana.jpgWe ended our time in Philipsburg with a chocolate milkshake and green river lime phosphate at Doe Brothers Soda Fountain.

We can’t wait to take the Landcruiser back to Philipsburg to visit Granite Ghost Town and perhaps the 6th Annual Brewfest and Chili Cookoff in February.

 

 

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