Monday, November 21, 2011

Travel to Idaho and Montana with Libby Serkies!

Today we welcome Libby Serkies, budding novelist and non-fiction writer! Libby is from my hometown area of central Illinois and she’s here to talk about her visit to Idaho and Montana. Welcome, Libby!

Years ago one of my older brothers was an over-the-road truck driver, and had spent a week driving through Montana. He spoke of the skies that went on forever and the breathtaking mountain views. The way he spoke of Montana made it sound like a place I wanted to visit - plus, he said, “Libby, you have to go see this place.” I have always had a love of travel - I just have had limited opportunities to do so! In 2008, I was fortunate enough to have a job that included some national marketing trips - and the trip that still to this day stands out in my mind as “the one” was one I took to Idaho and Montana. 

Canada from Idaho

I flew into Boise, Idaho one Sunday evening in late June. Nestled in a valley, Boise was spectacular from the air, and the area surrounding it was stunning to behold. My trip really began the next day, however, as I completed my business in the city and set out driving up the western spine, following the Snake River for a time, and then crossing the Salmon River. The opportunities available for anyone who loves the outdoors abound in this area - fly-fishing, rafting, camping, bicycling, sitting on a porch reading a good book (and these are just the warm weather activities!) - and daylight in the summer lingered long after what I was used to! The scenery was so stunning that at multiple times, I pulled off the road to take pictures. 

Salmon River

As my trip continued up to some of the most remote (and northern!) parts of Idaho, I vividly remember one moment. I arrived in Naples, Idaho late in the morning of June 24th, and as I climbed out of my car, I smelled lilacs. Sure enough, a huge lilac bush was in the midst of a glorious bloom. I remarked on it as I greeted my business contact, and he said, “You arrived at just the right time. The mud season is over and spring has sprung!” For someone who is used to lilacs being over and done with around Mother’s Day, this was a treat! Before I left this particular slice of heaven, I walked to the edge of their property and took a few pictures. As I turned to the right, Montana was in my sights…turning a few degrees to the left and the rolling hills I saw in front of me were Canadian! The unspoiled beauty of these surroundings are hard to do justice to with mere words, but as I breathed in the fresh air and took in the splendor before and around me, I knew this was a place I would want to come back to. 

Naples ID

And then I was on the road heading toward Kalispell, Montana. The beauty of this trip was compounded by the fact that I was often “off the beaten path” and traveling blacktop and 2 lane roads rather than interstates. As I drove, I often glimpsed beautiful log cabins and homesteads with bright red or green roofs peeking out among the evergreen trees. I tried to place myself on the inviting porches and imagine the never-ending views the inhabitants must enjoy. At least I hoped these views were enjoyed -- I would hate to think anyone took them for granted. 

My favorite part of the trip, however, had to be cruising around the western edge of Glacier National Park. I have used the word awesome a lot in my life before, but holy cow this was AWESOME!!! Driving from Kalispell and heading to Great Falls took me right past the Apgar Visitor Center and I detoured into one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I walked around the visitor center and heard people talking about the “Going-to-the-Sun Road.” Color me intrigued…! Those who know me know I can strike up a conversation with anyone, so I did! I asked about the road and was told it was a route through the interior of the park that provided some of the most incredible views there were. But, there was a problem -- the road wasn’t open because there were still 8 feet of snow on it and the park service had not been able to completely plow it yet! I marveled at the fact that even though it was almost the 4th of July, some roads were still buried in snow! Remember dear friends, I grew up among the fields of Central Illinois! 

Glacier National Park

The route I traveled took me from Boise through Ceour d’Alene to Naples, Idaho and then from Kalispell to Great Falls to Billings, Montana and was nearly 1100 miles of magnificent scenery and inspiring vistas. I can’t wait to return!

Libby, thank you for sharing your incredible journey and photos with us! Today is an appropriate day to feature Idaho, I should let you know, since hubby is from southern ID and today is our anniversary. Smile

It is absolutely beautiful and I’d encourage anyone to visit.

You can find Libby on her blog, at least now and then!

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