“Goodbye, McGregor Lake. It’s been fun. Maybe we’ll see you again someday.”
We leave McGregor Lake on August 6th.
Okay, all you mapsters, get out your maps or open your map app because we’re traveling today! (Please note at top the ten-day delay of this post.)
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The decision to leave our lakeside camp in northwest Montana is a reluctant one.
A few days ago, while swimming, I notice the trees on the far side of the lake look out-of focus.
Each day the smoke worsens and Saturday I wake with a slight cough. Later my eyes briefly sting.
The camp host woman comes around to inform us we’re in stage 2.
Stage 2 means no campfires and no charcoal grills. I ask her about the fire and smoke situation around the state.
“Seeley Lake is on pre-evacuation status,” she says. “The smoke is all over, at Glacier, down in the Lolo area. Northern Idaho has a bunch of fires going.”
Later, as if to confirm that it’s time for us to leave, a camper family — parents and a passel of children carrying various inflated toys — weave their way through the woods next to our campsite on their way to swim in “our” cove.
Roger is furious!
He barks and twists and turns against the tether, making a terrible fuss.
“Never mind, Rog. Why don’t we find a shady place today, instead of playing at the lake? It’ll be fun!”
We spend the afternoon at Lower Thompson Lake where the smoke hasn’t settled. I set up my camp chair on a carpet of pine needles. It’s a shady spot with a view of the lake. While Reg and Rog play, I read or simply follow the meanders of my mind.
Tomorrow we leave . . . I’ve enjoyed these past twelve days very much. Well, I thought we’d explore the shore of Lake Kookanusa and see Glacier, maybe Seeley Lake. Another time perhaps . . .
Sunday, August 6
We go east to Kalispell from McGregor Lake Campground. Then we turn south onto Route 93 which traces the western shore of Flathead Lake and gives us a mirage-like view of sailboats in smoke. The mountains are barely visible.
The Perfect Tow Vehicle eats up the miles . . .
Polson, Ronan, St. Ignatius, Missoula. Earlier this summer I thought we might take Route 12 through Lolo National Forest, south of Missoula, as we leave northwestern Montana.
We’re still in smoke as we board Interstate 90 east, probably from the wildfire presently raging (at the time of this post) in Lolo.
Gotta keep going . . .
About 20 miles southeast of Missoula, we take exit 128.
Forest Road 102 goes to two National Forest campgrounds.
Not surprisingly, we come to a roadblock made of forest ranger vehicles. The road and campgrounds are closed due to another forest fire, the Goat Creek Fire, on this eastern side of the Sapphire Mountains.
However, a private RV park sits right at the road block!
We stay at Ekstrom’s Stage Station RV Park for one night ($37.45) with electric and water hook-ups, plus WiFi.
See the cute Best Little Trailer next to those big rigs? (Smoke can be seen in the background of photos.)
It’s good to be off the road!
For obvious reasons, the park is nearly full.
As soon as we’re settled, the crew and I walk down to Rock Creek.
I don’t know where we will end up tomorrow. For now, this is nice. Sweet Montana.
To be continued . . .
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