Friday, August 12, 2005 –
Since I have gone back to school, I had a break between my summer and fall sessions. I decided to use some of my Delta miles to go on a trip with my brother to Montana and the Canadian Rockies.
Jeff and I departed from Birmingham to Salt Lake City on Delta this morning. We ate lunch at the airport and connected on our flight to Helena, the capital of Montana. We arrived in the early afternoon and picked up our rental Jeep Liberty.
Afterwards we drove north on I-15 north before taking Highway 89 from Great Falls to Browning. Then we took Highway 2 to Essex, not far from the West Glacier area of Glacier National Park. That evening we arrived at our unique lodge, the Izaak Walton Inn & Resort, a family-owned retreat bordering Glacier National Park, in Essex.
The Izaak Walton caters in particular to rail passengers who are traveling on the Empire Builder Line to the West Glacier Amtrak station via the Chicago-Minneapolis-Seattle route. The old lodge has a historic rail legacy of serving rail passengers dating back to its Great Northern Railway days. The lodge is located by a switching yard not far from the Marias Pass through the Rockies. In fact, pulling locomotives in the yard help haul BNSF cargo trains up the steep pass from the Flathead Valley below.
Inside the hotel, we enjoyed dinner that night in the restaurant and took a tour of the lodge to see the historic rail memorabilia. Although we were staying in the lodge, you could also stay in some rail cars converted into rooms. It was relaxing in the lodge and quiet with no televisions and room telephones for a rustic feel. It was a relaxing evening and I already felt like I was on vacation.