Quackgrass Sally: On the Trail 10-14-13
Ryan Summerlin November 4, 2013
Fall is in the air, the summer has wound down and recently I headed to the mountains for another fun get-together trailer camping event with the Sisters on the Fly. As each small traveling group of ladies met up along the route, the multicolored caravan of vintage trailers grew longer, creating a sight that turned more then one head as it wound its way through the mountain communities, around Flathead Lake and on into Whitefish, Mont. The local television station was even on hand to film our arrival, as well as the adventures of parking 65 little trailers at the Whitefish Big Mountain Resort, 8 miles up the mountain, north of downtown.
This “Fish the Fish” event was hosted by the Whitefish Naughty Nymphs (a local ladies fishing club), the Big Mountain Resort and the whole Whitefish community. With the help of the Naughty Nymph’s “red shirt” Fellas, the ladies unhitched their trailers and lined them up under the tall pine trees. It looked like a whole new town had sprouted up, its main street the gravel lane between two long lines of vintage trailers. Before you knew it, everyone began to set-up housekeeping, decorating their camping spot and making it home for the next few days. Awnings, lawn chairs and even fresh flowers filled the areas in front of each trailer. Antique wooden ironing boards were transformed into horse-dour tables and martini bars … each lady creating her own unique and colorful “trailer-trash-glamping” world.
The public was welcomed on Saturday to tour all the trailers, with donations going to Casting For Recovery. (the money raised, helps send ladies recovering from cancer to fly fishing camp) Hundreds of people came to see the trailers, talk with the Sisters on the Fly sisters and share the fun of “glamping.” A fly-casting contest, BBQ and marathon race were held at the resort over the same weekend, in conjunction with our trailer tours.
Big Mountain Resort is a year round travel destination and most of the Sisters discovered that September is a great month to come play. I took the 7-Zipline adventure up the mountain one afternoon and wow was it an experience. Hiking the trails and speeding along the zip-lines gave me an eagle-eye view of this beautiful mountain valley I will never forget. The Alpine Slide made we gals squeal out loud as we slid down the hillside on a toboggan-like course. The resort has a Walk in the Treetops and an Aerial Adventure Park, as well as many mountain bike and hiking trails. Not only can visitors enjoy the Lodge, there are condos for use at this full-service Alpine Village. After the snow flies, I hear there are over 3000 ski-able acres and the lifts to get you to whatever skiing adventures you are in the mood for. Although a bit remote, Whitefish boasts among the closest direct air services into a mountain ski town in the U.S. (only 11 miles). Folks at the Resort told me that because of the location of the valley, the area is safe from the extreme climate changes encountered in other parts of Montana, making it a great year-round recreation destination.
I took one afternoon and headed down mountain to discovered what the town was like. Whitefish is a picturesque, small western town, filled with wonderful shops, restaurants and a wide variety of activities, including the Stumptown Ice Den, a multi-use facility that has public skating, hockey, curling and figure skating fun all yearlong. I saw a poster that invited everyone to attend the non-profit Community Performing Arts Co. for their latest theater show the following weekend. The covered sidewalk streets welcome everyone to slow down, take a leisurely walk and enjoy the galleries or visit the historic Depot Museum. On one corner, the Great Northern Brewery is housed in what is reported as the towns’ tallest building, a whoppin’ 3 stories. Open year round, visitors can tour the brewery and sample their famous Montana ales and lagers, as well as enjoy a nice meal.
Whitefish is also home to a Top 50 rated 36-Hole Golf course. The historic Lake Restaurant clubhouse beside Whitefish Lake, is beautiful, with boat rentals available, as well as whitewater float and rafting trips on nearby Flathead River. One Naughty Nymph told me that the fishing is fantastic throughout the whole 60 square mile valley, which includes Flathead lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. She wouldn’t tell me her favorite spot but I think Whitefish’s low-key atmosphere lends itself to a welcoming lifestyle, where the latest fish tale is swapped at the coffeehouse or saloon and everyone can join in. This quaint town is also nestled only 32 miles from Glacier National Park, home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the western United States, including the famous Going to the Sun highway.
After a rip-roarin’ good time was had by all and our vintage trailers were again hitched up, the Sisters on the Fly bid farewell to Whitefish. Rumor has it that another trailer-town will spring up next September and I can tell you that I will be there to enjoy every adventure this genuinely friendly Montana town can offer. Maybe I can work on that Naughty Nymph and she’ll share that famous fishing hole with me! THANKS Whitefish! ❖