Cruising Hungry Horse Reservoir

Cruising Hungry Horse Reservoir

You will have heard of the “Six degrees of separation” theory, which suggests that everyone is somehow “connected” to each other in six or fewer steps. In other words, a chain of “a friend of a friend” can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.

Well, we can sort of attest to that.

Here we are in Montana, a state that neither of us have ever been to, and Linda knows people here! Amazing, but true.
So when Linda contacted them to catch up, they invited us for a day on the lake. How awesome!

Kathy and Rick have a pontoon boat and they assured us that we would love cruising the Hungry Horse Reservoir. Boy, were they right.

The lake (actually a reservoir) is nestled in the most beautiful mountainous area near Columbia Falls.
After discussing plans, we met them at the RVPark and followed them to the lake, which was only about 15 miles away. This lake is huge with a dirt road around the entire perimeter. We needed to travel about a quarter way around to the boat launch. Then we were off for the day, drinks and snacks loaded in the cooler!

Launching the pontoon boat – Photo by Albert de Bruijn
Launching the pontoon boat – Photo by Albert de Bruijn

First of all, neither had ever been on a pontoon boat, so we were impressed with the amount of room on deck and the comfort with which one could just sit and enjoy. The boat has a canopy so really very pleasant. Add a hat and some sunscreen and you can spend all day out there. I could really imagine sitting there in a comfortable seat, sipping Gin and Tonics and just enjoying the scenery. Sadly, bottled water was all we had that day.

Relaxing on Hungry Horse Reservoir
All I need is that Gin and Tonic! – Photo by Linda Norvelle

Kathy and Rick both were born and raised in Montana and have enjoyed a life and lifestyle that city folk like us could only imagine. At one time, they owned and operated the concessionary Horse Riding business in Glacier National Park. They owned over 100 highly trained horses and took tourists out on horse riding tours in the park. How awesome is that?

Their stories about living in Montana were amazing! Here we are, traveling to far and away places with the hope of seeing a bear (we still have not seen one), but they told us about having them in their back yard! Rick has actually hunted bear, something not many hunters get to do as only a very few permits are available annually. He told us how his senses have developed with the hunting he has done and could often smell a bear or moose well before he would see them.

When we asked him about danger, he admitted that hunting bear is not for the faint of heart. Actually, any kind of hunting can be dangerous as the bears of course don’t care if you are hunting them or some other animal. You are in THEIR space and if provoked, they will attack. Apparently, a bear has an amazingly sensitive sense of smell and can smell you from miles away. To emphasize that always-present danger, he told us of a time that he and Kathy went out together and had left her at a safe location, while he scouted the area. The next day, Kathy decided not to join him and when he passed the same spot, found it to occupied by a mother bear and some cubs! Had that happened 24 hours earlier, things would be been quite scary.

Rick also told us that Moose is delicious to eat! Who would have known?! Neither Linda nor I had ever given that any thought so were quite intrigued by that statement. Rick smokes a lot of his meat and Kathy agreed that smoked Moose is fantastic. Both of them particularly liked Moose ribs, which, of course are HUGE when compared to pork or beef ribs. In describing this, Rick had us imagining Fred Flintstone gnawing on a huge meaty bone!

Kathy too had some amazing stories about bears in her backyard. She described how, one day carrying her then baby chile, turned the corner of her house and found herself standing face-to-face with a Grizzly! Can you believe that?! She told us of how the grizzly would raise up on its hind legs and then back down on all fours while “woofing” loudly. If I close my eye, I can just “see” it! And did I tell you how large a grizzly is! Thankfully, having been educated in what to do, she stopped and stood still, against all her instincts of course and feeling helpless as a mother with a small child in her arms, but her mind going 200 miles an hour on what to do, when to make her move. Then, in that split second as the bear came down to all fours again, she took a chance, turned around and ran indoors and called the local rangers. They were there within 5 minutes she said. What a story! We found it hard to imagine what that would have been like.

All in all, the day was amazing! We had such a great time. The scenery was beautiful, the boat ride was relaxing, the stories were amazing and Kathy and Rick’s hospitality was more than we could ever wish for.

Thank you both for an awesome day!

Here are some photos of that beautiful day. Click them to see a larger version.


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