Today we booked a one hour cruise on Lake McDonald that left from the Lake McDonald Lodge.
Our boat was the DeSmet:
In 1929, Captain Billy Swanson built the tour boat DeSmet for the Great Northern Railroad. She was constructed to carry passengers on Lake McDonald and this lake has remained her home ever since. The DeSmet was named after Father Pierre DeSmet, a prominent Jesuit missionary in the area. This vessel is a 57-foot carvel planked launch with cedar on an oak frame authorized by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry 80 passengers with current Certificate of Inspection.
Andy and I were lucky to get two of the spots on top for the first part of the trip. The tour took us around the lake and our captain told us about the history of the area, the geology, and local stories. He was great.
The views were wonderful:
This is the Kelly Homestead – still privately owned by descendants of the Kelly Family. When Glacier National Park was established 100 years ago, its new boundaries trapped more than 13,000 private acres, staked by homesteaders before the park was a park. There is currently about 300 acres still privately owned.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place in this area:
There are two pairs of Bald Eagles around the lake (there are actually 40 pairs in the park). Both pairs were checking us out.
And second pair:
The shoreline is very shallow and part of the water is glacially fed – notice the cool color.
Since there is only a portion from the glacier, the lake as a whole does not take on that color.
Coming back to the lodge:
When the lodge was first built, there were no roads. All visitors and supplies came up from Apgar Village by boat. So this is actually the front of the lodge:
We had a wonderful bison burger at the Lodge lounge and slowly made our way back home.
Mid-afternoon, we took a trip to the grocery store in Columbia Falls – we were all out of vegetables and fruit and they were very expensive in the park.
Our campfire tonight was wonderful!