What an exciting day of contrasts
We left Coeur D’alene at 9am after trying to book motels for this coming weekend with not much luck – It’s Memorial day here on Monday so a long weekend. Everything is booked up in Yellowstone, so we may have to divert somewhat.
However, we’ve had a fab day. We had a steep climb out of CdA through more snow-capped mountains, houses dotted through the area where you wouldn’t believe people lived. I mean i couldn’t see where they would work, or could survive. But sure enough there were lots of small communities with just houses and not much else. We stopped to get gas at Alberton which boasted a road side sign announcing it had a bookstore with over 100,000 books – and it’s true!
A tiny house turned into a bookshop with barely room to move, but all categorised. Shelf after shelf. A definitely writers/reader’s paradise! But in fact i only left with one book – hard to believe.
Next we tried to find the ghost town down the highway, but couldn’t find it – reckon that’s why it’s a ghost town! Ha ha ha. But we stopped at Philipsburg. It’s an old mining town which is set against a hillside and is really cute. Locals have restored the buildings and recreated the town as a bit of a tourist stop. One store has been turned into a candy store and sells over 920 varieties of candy, plus 87 flavors of jelly beans, including NZ licorice all sorts. Kid’s heaven! We had lunch there in an old fashioned diner and then headed south. A small town which once boasted 1500 people and now has only 1000 but has 3 churches! The area around it was farm country backed by mountains, but once again for this kiwi, very few farm animals.
Leaving Philipsburg, we realised a few miles later we had missed the 2nd ghost town! - see it's a ghost - u can't see it! ha ha ha. Then we found something so unique for us - it was wonderful. Georgetown Lake - actually 2 lakes and for kiwis u can figure out the size - this wud have been as big as or nearly as Lake Taupo. But the exciting thing was it was still frozen over - i mean right across, only the first few feet at the edges were watery. We saw a few frozen dead fish, but beneath a piece of ice we chipped off were fish still doing their fishy thing - despite the thick crust of ice.
The landscape once through this area – which i think was named Glacier National Park, has changed considerably. Brown rolling hills, backed by mountains, trees dotting the hillsides, but nothing like earlier.
Now were in Butte, munching on our candy. We’re staying here a couple of days doing trips around the area, so should have lots more to tell you then.
Jane and gang