Day 252 – In Flathead Indian Country

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Day 252 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Relative to yesterday, we had a slow day, including a slow start.  I was blessed with a marvelous migraine and had to take Petey to the vet for a puncture wound.  Once we finally bid farewell to Melinda in Kalispell, we took Highway 93 south along the western shore of Flathead Lake. The lake is lovely, but not very conducive to old, injured dog activities.

Polson

As a result, we made our first stop at its southern tip in Polson, where I had lunch at Pop’s Grill, one of a few choices in the small town.  After lunch, Petey and I took a stroll through town and down to a park on the edge of Flathead Lake before returning to VANilla. 

Polson on Highway 93 and Flathead Lake

Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and National Bison Range

Continuing south on Highway 93, we passed Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and National Bison Range. Given I haven’t had any luck spotting wildlife in the mid-afternoon at wildlife refuges, we didn’t stop. I’m certain that are great places at the right time.

St. Ignatius Mission

Just nine miles south of Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge on Highway 93, stands the St. Ignatius Mission.  Jesuit missionaries, known to Indians as black robes, came to the area in the 1840s. Many years later, St. Ignatius Mission was established in 1854.  The mission included a school, a sawmill, a printing press, a flour mill, hospital, farm, and a red brick church. 

Inside the church, some 50 murals and frescos adorn the walls and ceiling.  They were painted by Brother Joseph Carignano, the mission cook, in his spare time.  With no formal training, he completed the paintings in 13 months…truly remarkable! People surely can make time for what’s important to them.

After our visit at St. Ignatius, we drove to Missoula for the night.  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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