We have done a bit more touring this week as our time is winding down in Columbia Falls. Tuesday morning we made a trip to the Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir
located just a few miles from Columbia Falls. The dam used a little over three million yards of concrete and is 564 feet high with a width at the base of 330 feet. The reservoir is 34 miles long and has 170 miles of shoreline covering 6,800 surface acres and containing 3.5 million acre-feet of water. It dams the South forth of the Flathead River which generates 428,000 kilowatts of power (enough for over a quarter-million homes) before joining the Middle and North Fork of the Flathead River and flowing into Flathead Lake a short distance from here. That water then goes through 18 more dams on its way to the Pacific Ocean, generating over five billion kilowatts of power.
Wednesday we finally made the trek up the Going to the Sun (GTTS)Road as they now have it open up to the top of Logan Pass from the west side. The east side down to St, Mary is supposed to open this weekend. We will wait until we return from Canada to do that portion while we stay at St. Mary. For those that don't know the GTTS road is restricted to a length of 20 feet, 8 feet wide including mirrors, and 10 feet high. Some of the turns are too tight for longer vehicles, has overhangs that will chop your roof off and the lanes are too narrow for wide vehicles to meet each other. They did have a picture in the paper of a motor home about 30-35 feet long that got a ticket last week for making the trip! I sure wouldn't have wanted to be driving it. Luckily the overhangs are on the east side or he would really have been in trouble!
It was a great trip with wonderful views. We wanted to do this section as we had never been up to Logan Pass this early in the year and wanted to see the snowy peaks. We were not disappointed! AND Doris saw a MOOSE!! Driving this road I don't get to see many specifics but she saw this moose walking up the river just a little ways from the road. Fortunately, I had managed to get some space between us and any following vehicles and was able to stop and back up to a parking area. I then went down near the river shore and took a few pictures. Doris talked to him and he looked right at us before heading on down the river and then was gone up the bank. It's one of those chance encounters that happen. It didn't last longer than 90 seconds and we were most likely the only ones to see him.
Thursday we headed for the 150+ mile trip down and around Flathead Lake
which is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States. Of course that doesn't consider Red Lake and Lake in the Woods in Minnesota which is considered North of the Mississippi since the Mississippi River begins in central Minnesota. We were a little disappointed that you couldn't really see much of the lake from the highway on the east side and that the air was so hazy, it really diminished the view from both sides. We did have a good time just enjoying the drive and Doris did a lot of salivating as we passed a gazillion cherry groves about a month removed from picking season! Hopefully they will still be coming in when we return to Montana the early part of August.
Friday was spent watching the College World Series. Fortunately our Gators managed to stem off elimination and will play Virginia tonight to see which goes to the finals to play Vanderbilt for the national championship.
Next Friday we will make our last post from Columbia Falls as we head to Canada next Saturday.