LawyerCon 2010: Mad About Montana III

Part 3: Cherries, Huckleberries and climbing the Summit

DAY THREE: The Wife had a full day of classes so The Son and I slept late, watched some free HBO (some movie about a Rene Russo and a gorilla), then walked into town.

Downtown Whitefish is like pretty much every downtown we’ve encountered over the years. A few streets and a couple of blocks of restaurants, art galleries, and quaint shops of various types that sell trinkets that make you wonder how they ever stay in business.

While in Whitefish we learned that the local delicacy is the Huckleberry. I have no idea what a huckleberry is or what it tastes like, but they’re everywhere in Whitefish. In fact, we were going to be leaving town the weekend of the annual Huckleberry Festival. I guess every small town has some dumb festival or other. All I know of huckleberry I learned from a cartoon dog.

We wound up having lunch at the Buffalo Cafe. As part of my ongoing quest to find the world’s second greatest burrito, I ordered the Santa Fe Burrito. It was fine, but it wouldn’t make my top 5. That afternoon we hit the pool and I finally got to get started on my Showcase edition of “The Doom Patrol,” which I had bought months ago and saved for just this occasion.

That night we boarded a bus that took us to Big Mountain (That’s the name; I’m not being lazy). At the top of Big Mountain is a restaurant called The Summit where we were to have dinner. To get to The Summit you must ride the ski lift. Did I mention I don’t ski? Now I know why. I wanted to ride in one of the gondolas, but when it was our turn a thin metal bar rolled up which we were supposed to sit on and ride to the top.

It seated four, so a lawyer joined us and chatted with The Wife all the way up while I sat there thinking, “The ground is so far away,” and “I wonder how strong these cables are,” and “What if the power goes out?” and “Are there bears hiding in those trees?” and “What if my son has a seizure right now? Could I hold him tight enough to keep him from falling out? If he falls out do I go with him to cushion the fall?” “How far up is this place? Is this ever going to end?” “Boy, my wife can really schmooze.”

Eventually we made it to the summit. Yes, the view was gorgeous. It got pretty cold when the sun went down and the rain briefly rolled in. After more eating, drinking and schmoozing, we made our way back down the mountain. We were in a gondola on the way down, which made me feel a little better. Except for when it would stop periodically for brief moments.

DAY FOUR:  The Wife only had a half-day of classes so that afternoon we made the 4.5 hour drive around beautiful Whitefish Lake. She wanted to drive up into Canada, just to say we did, but was convinced by others that there was really nothing up there worth the trip.

En route to the lake we stopped at Target so The Wife could by a jacket to wear at Glacier National Park the next day. Making the circle around Whitefish Lake was  a bit like the drive on Day 2. But we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere so we took our time and stopped along the way to enjoy the scenery.

It was also cherry season. Cherries are also big in Whitefish and there were many orchards circling the lake and many roadside booths selling fresh cherries. The Wife loves cherries, so we helped out the local economy and spent the rest of the week snacking on cherries. Strangely, we did not come across a single huckleberry orchard.

That night we went back to downtown Whitefish so The Wife could check it out and we ate dinner at Tupelo Grill, one of the finest restaurants in town. I highly recommend their Cajun pasta.

Afterwards we went to a shop where The Wife purchased a jacket she liked better than the one from Target. The shop was filled with all kinds of touristy stuff — all decorated in bear and moose and elk. No dinosaurs. You’d think for a state that makes a big deal about their dinosaurs, they would put them on more T-shirts and junk.

Next: Glacier National Park and the dangers of golf


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