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Highway 93 & 35 & 83 & a little 200, MT
mini location map2014-07-27
50 by photographer avatartibber
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Highway 93 & 35 & 83 & a little 200, MT 
Highway 93 & 35 & 83 & a little 200, MT
Scenic Drive avatar Jul 27 2014
Scenic Drive323.00 Miles
Scenic Drive323.00 Miles
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1st trip
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This is the last of the scenic drives to share with you in case you ever get that way or in case someone googles these highways: Highway 200, Highway 35, Highway 83.

Sun, July 27 - after touring Old Fort Missoula (neither of us had done that either - it was a wealth of info including as an internment camp, a fort, and they included homestead type stuff and logging). In fact we only got thru half of it in the 3 hours we were there. Now it was time to hit the road again for our trip to Polson. It was a lovely day in Montana as we headed north on Highway 93/200. We were going to go the way of Dixon but since I wasn't comfortable with finding the connecting highway to the Bison Range (it would not have been an issue), we turned around on the 200 and headed back to the 93 and hung a left (north at the intersection). Besides this way we would get to see the mission which neither of us had ever seen.

It's a beautiful drive :DANCE: as you make your way up the Valley with the majestic Mission Mountains on your right. Before you knew it and 50 miles (from Missoula) later (not including my little detour), we were at St Ignatius Mission. It was a bit warm when we stepped out of the car. I think when you first approach the Mission it doesn't look like it will have the beauty inside that we've seen in pictures. But of course, once you go thru the doors, the interior is what we've seen in pictures most of our lives growing up in Montana.
The mission church is a simplified, vernacular example of Gothic revival architecture constructed of bricks made from native clay. The most exceptional feature of the interior are the 58 murals painted by Brother Joseph Carignano, an untrained artist who worked as a cook in the mission.
The mission grounds includes the first home of the Jesuit missionaries (the log cabin) and the first residence of the Sisters of Providence (one being a museum and the other a gift shop now).

The next part of our drive was to and thru the National Bison Range: It was a long and productive day but I was getting a cold :( ; glad it held off until the end. We next made our way to Polson passing some more of the Ninepipe NWR. Would like to have spent more time there taking photos but we continued and once again were heading up the 93 passing thru Ronan and then reaching Polson, 32 miles from the Bison Range.
U.S. Route 93 is a major north–south United States highway in the western United States. The southern terminus is at U.S. Route 60 in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Our room had a nice view toward the lake. We had dinner at the bowling alley (recommended by the hotel host) and then called it a day. I had to re-pack for my trip home trying to figure out how much huckleberry stuff I could fit in my backpack ;).

Mon, July 28 - with cold in tow, we had breakfast at the 4Bs (nostalgic for me). We found a cherry stand around the corner and picked up freshly picked rainier cherries and a big bag of FRESH huckleberries :y: . Next was our drive on E Lake Shore Drive, Hwy 35 to Bigfork. Neither of us can recall ever doing this drive as we usually take the 93 into Kalispell on the west side of the lake. Though it was overcast we were glad to see big expansive views of Flathead Lake.
Flathead Lake (Salish: člq̓etkʷ) is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States. With a surface area of between 191.5 sq mi and 197 sq mi , Flathead Lake is slightly larger than Lake Tahoe. The lake is a remnant of the ancient, massive glacial dammed lake, Lake Missoula of the era of the last interglacial.

Highway 35 takes you by many, many cherry farms with stands along the way. This is one of the best areas to grow sweet cherries because of the climate. We arrived at Bigfork and went over to as I needed to pick up some more huckleberry fudge :D :D (since I had contributed my last batch to our BBQ event at my cousin's in Priest Lake, ID on Friday).

Once again on the road we took a cross cut over to Highway 83:
The Seeley-Swan scenic drive is a 90-mile long corridor along Highway 83 stretching through the Swan Valley from Seeley Lake to Swan Lake. This is lake country. Hundreds of natural lakes, ranging in size from a few acres to several thousands of acres, are squeezed into this narrow, heavily forest valley. To the west, the Mission Mountains rise majestically and to the east the Swan Range walls off this pristine valley, giving travelers here a unique feeling of solitude.
I have driven this highway a few times. One time the road was so icy it was one of the longest :scared: drives I had ever done. Sold my car after that as it couldn't hold the road for nothing.

The drive is indeed beautiful as you pass by each lake and also get views of the mountains with the occasional meadow. The traffic isn't bad either. We finally arrived at the junction with Highway 200, a different part than what we had traveled from Pend Oreielle, ID to Missoula. This 200 is from Missoula to Clearwater Jct and now we are taking it to Great Falls. It's also a pretty drive as you gradually get into the plains.
But before continuing we had to eat at a place our Aunt used to work at for many years in the 60s at Lincoln (pop 1100). Every table had been used and hadn't even been cleared yet. But we were hungry. Just a note, they have a great menu. I had sweet potato tater tots that were surprisingly tasty :) .

And now 90 miles get thru the security checkpoint at GTF Intl. The security guys had trouble seeing thru all my huckleberry stuff to see everything else in my backpack. They took out a bunch of it; I was worried they may confiscate some of it 8-[ but was most concerned about my little huckleberry pie but... I was good to go and my trip to MT-ID-MT had come to an end :cry: .

Video: from Polson and then down Seeley-Swan

Here is a little video at Marias Pass July 22 but the rest is paddling the canoe in Woods Bay July 24:
If you'd like to take a boat ride with us in the cousin's boat from Woods Bay to Bigfork:
If you'd like to get back:
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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