Trip Date: July 13, 2017
When I woke up the next morning I was stunned. I knew I was close to the Tetons but I didn't realize I could see them from Idaho. This probably explains why all the hotels were booked up and this town had a tiny airport with private jets parked on the runway...
Made my way up from Ashton to Rock Island. Overall I was really impressed with Idaho. I passed 4-5 campgrounds within the Beavehead-Deerlodge National Forest along the way that I'll keep in mind for future trips.
From Rock Island I passed through West Yellowstone and then west past Earthquake Lake and eventually into Montana. This turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the entire drive--about 50 miles of rolling grasslands sitting at the base of rugged peaks. It's not hard to see why people like Montana.
Just before St. Ignatius, I got my first views the spectacular "Glacieresque" peaks (which are poorly captured in my photo below). At first I thought I was looking at the Bob Marshall Wilderness, which together with the Scapegoat Wilderness and the Great Bear Wilderness is known as the "Bob Marshall Complex". It turns out it was the Mission Mts. Wilderness area which is a plausible name given the name of the town. I bet there's some history there...
My friend Y had told me that the view of Flathead Lake coming in down the hill from Pablo was "fucking amazing" and he was right (see my opening photo). I hadn't really appreciated how big the lake was and thought I'd be on the other side and into Kalispell in no time. Apparently, the alpine cirque lakes I'm familiar with are pretty small in comparison. Turns out Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the western United States and it took about 45 minutes to drive around the western shore.