Typing My Fingers to the Bone at Our Western Montana Lodge
Doesn't sound too fun? Actually it has been a real experience. I'm speaking of the hours and hours I've spent over the last couple of months revamping our website.

One of the benefits of owning a "Mom and Pop" establishment, is the opportunity to delve into a LARGE variety of different venues. We get to do it all - cooking, cleaning, maintenance repairs, bookkeeping, correspondence, customer contacts - and even web design. (Photo "Centennial Valley Winter" - courtesy of Mike Phillips)

Of course, we have a web page, which if you've visited our site before, you know is nicely done. However, Search Engine Optimization is changing the face of the web so rapidly, and so regularly, that what was good three years ago probably isn't up to date for today (or so 'they' say).

And so, with much fear and trembling (after all, I had to learn a whole NEW language - and the last time I tried that it was a dismal failure) I set forth on a new adventure. And, it has turned out to be very interesting, often fun, and a lot of work. But, I'm pleased with the results and looking forward to showing the 'final product' to the world. Maybe you'd like to see? Well, I'm expecting to have the page on the web within a week or so of this post. So, wait a couple of weeks then check us out at Elk Lake Resort Montana.

In other news, the snow hasn't come - at least not in the abundance we'd hoped. Not that there isn't good snow for playing, but it just isn't the piles and piles we enjoyed last year.

What we've lacked in snow we've made up for in cold! It has been bitterly cold at times (up to 40 below). Even our warm days have only been in the mid 20's (which is a blessing in that we haven't lost any of the snow which fell). However, with a light snow pack and low temperatures, Craig has been kept busy keeping our 'shower' cabin unthawed - with varying degrees of success.

But it has been beautiful! A couple of morning ago we woke to a low fog. As the sun rose, the fog quickly disapated, leaving behind a BEAUTIFUL sight. Frost coated aspens and willows, glittering snow, deep emerald evergreens, and tiny frost particles floating like glitter in the air. Wow! Some days the beauty of the pure nature outside my window takes my breath away. You really ought to come see it for yourself!

Lady of the Lake


"They're Back!" at Our Western Montana Lodge

The moose have returned to the Centennial Valley. Although year-round residents of the area, these unique animals are most visible in the winter. However, they hadn't been too visible until this latest snow storm followed by the extreme cold snap. In fact, they now seem to be sticking close to what little open water is available in the valley.

On our snowmobile ride out yesterday, I saw 7 moose - 6 within 1 1/2 miles of the lodge. On the return trip today, I saw 10 moose - 8 within 1 1/2 miles of the lodge -and one young bull in the yard! And, based on the fresh droppings and tracks, there are quite a few more hiding in the willows.

Although all the moose I've seen lately have lost their antlers, a couple of weeks ago we saw a large bull who still had a nice set of paddles.

In other 'news', things are finally starting to thaw out (I say that a bit 'tongue in cheek') here at the Resort. However, not before we nearly ran out of supplies (and that with a much lower level of traffic than would be the norm were it not for the bitterly cold temperatures).

The recent weather has definitely played havoc with our normal schedule. First the Sysco truck couldn't deliver our order (on Thursday last) because the roads were closed from Ashton, ID to West Yellowstone, Montana - and north to Ennis, MT. Friday our order was delivered but it stayed well below -10. So, we decided to wait for the promised 'warmer' weather. On Saturday it got a bit warmer (by about 3 degrees) but the snowmobiles refused to start (too many days of too cold of weather?). So Sunday, when it got to -8, we decided to make another try. The snowmobiles started (the 2 strokes) reluctantly, and we headed out. After a night in Island Park (where it ONLY got down to -10 for the LOW - compared to our -30), we returned home.

However, it does look like things are slowly thawing out. We got up to -4 for the high today. Looking back over the last 5 days we've had some pretty impressive temperatures - our lowest 40 below, our highest 4 below. Maybe tomorrow we'll break the 0 mark?

Lady of the Lake


Winter's Frigid Blast Visits our Western Montana Lodge

Just a few days ago we were languishing in a balmy 30 degrees (okay, balmy for the Montana mountains in the winter). Today we are shivering in the 30 belows! Yep, that's right - this morning we peeked out our window at the thermometer and -39.4 was the current reading.

With an expected high of 1 degree above, we don't expect to be spending too much time out-of-doors today. But, for all the cold, it is absolutely beautiful. The sun has created fields of diamonds outside my window. Ice crystals dance and shimmer in the air. The colors are so crisp and clear they look unreal.

However, when it turns this cold, the windows in our old lodge catch more of my interest. You've heard (and probably seen) frosted glass - glass which allows the light in, but keeps prying eyes from peering into private places. It doesn't seem to be in use as much anymore, but several years ago it was the latest rage for use in bathrooms.

Over the years, frosted glass manufacturors created a variety of designs - not just intended for privacy. In an effort to mimick the Creator's artistic abilities, they formed leaves and spirals and snowflakes. Although pretty, I've yet to find one man-made copy which compares with the beauty of the real thing.

Here in our lodge we have several old windows - those double hung wooden windows which don't keep out the heat or the cold. Of course, some industrious soul years ago (probably after spending a chilly winter) added the somewhat newer but still quite outdated double hung aluminum storm windows. The result - a little less hot and cold air and a lot more trapped water vapor.

This water vapor freezes to create the frosted window effect. And, things more interesting (and beautiful), the windows which receive directly sunlight for a portion of the day develop even more intricate ice patterns - alternately the sun melting and the cold freezing the trapped water vapor.

The Hand of the Artist is beautiful to behold - as the elements of nature combine to create beautiful window art, and even more beautiful views beyond the windows, here at Elk Lake Resort.

Stay warm!

Lady of the Lake


There Really is 'No Place Like -OUR - Home' at our Western Montana Lodge

In my opinion, neither Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz" nor Karen Carpenter crooning about being "Home for the Holidays" felt any stronger than I did - that pull to be HOME. As the pull to return home after our extended time away grew stronger, I found myself pondering the question more and more. "What is it about a place which makes it home?"

Obviously, for most of us, family and friends are a major key to making someplace feel like home. And, yet, for me anyway, they obviously weren't the ONLY pull. After all, I was traveling with family and visiting friends. If that were the 'it', I'd feel like I was home, right?

Of course there's your bed, your familiar 'things', which make life comfortable. As a lodging establishment, we are accutely aware of how important the 'comfort' factor is to making our guests' visit a positive one. However, again, this wasn't the issue. After all, I was traveling in comfort - an RV to which I returned each night to all the comforts of home - most important of which was a good bed.

In the end I decided location played a MAJOR role in my desire to return home. Not that we didn't visit some beautiful country. Not that we weren't experiencing more 'friendly' climates than awaited us at our Western Montana Lodge. Not that we weren't enjoying the areas we were visiting. But, I decided (okay, I just reaffirmed what I already knew) Elk Lake Resort offers elements of 'home' which are unequalled anywhere else.

I found my soul longed for the peace. The quiet. The abscense of crowds. The sounds and sights of pure nature. The essense of Elk Lake - pure, unadulturated nature!

And, so, like Dorothy of old, I rejoice to have returned to my home - that one place on earth I enjoy with every pour of my being.

Lady of the Lake


We Finally Return to our Western Montana Lodge

After a LONG and partially unplanned time away from our Western Montana Lodge, we finally return. One thing learned - there really is "No Place Like Home" (more on that in a later blog).

Returning just in time for Christmas, we quickly grouped our forces as we prepared for our first group of the winter season. Twelve hardy cross-country skiers braved the long miles (17 - 18) from their cars to the lodge to reach us. It took the group which skied the entire route nearly 8 hours to reach us, but their persistance paid off. And, as if in an effort to reward their extra-ordinary effort, the sunset turned the sky brilliant shades of red, orange and pink - just before they dropped down into the final canyon on the final leg of their journey.

A fun group, we enjoyed a lot of laughter and good natured ribbing as this group of 12 (mostly) strangers quickly became good friends.

As if the effort coming in wasn't enough of a challenge, the weather added its 'two cents worth'. With night temperatures dropping into the double negative digits and day time temperatures only reaching the low teens, most of the cabins were 'cool' at best. However, the wood stoves came to the rescue and life once again took on a warmer glow.

The overall conclusion: after 4 days and 3 nights of fun, food, laughter, and cold, fresh air, our guests were not only happy they came but talking of their 2nd annual New Year's Eve trip to Elk Lake Resort. For a 'test-drive' we were thrilled at our guests' final perspective and look forward to hosting three or four such weekends per winter in the months and years to come. This truly proved Elk Lake Resort isn't only for the adventurous summer guest but also holds a special allure to the hardy winter visitor.

Lady of the Lake