While we were at Marcus Island Chuck was talking with another couple enjoying the spectacular view. They asked where we were headed. When he said Whitefish, they said “Tally Lake.” “Cally Lake?” “No Tally Lake.” The gentleman had grown up in Whitefish and said we had to go to nearby Tally Lake. Thinking that since they liked Marcus Island as much as we did this must also be a great spot, we put it on our list.
He didn’t mention that it was 3.5 miles down a narrow, bumpy dirt road. He didn’t mention that the sites were dark and dreary. He didn’t mention that it’s heavily used by loud groups who come to boat on the lake and swim on the beach. He didn’t mention that the few sites with a view of the lake were in the North Loop down another narrow dirt road. He gave it a rave review and so we went to Tally Lake thinking it would be a good base for exploring Whitefish, but found it wasn’t so.
Lesson #5: Do your own research, even with a glowing recommendation.
One it was quite a drive into Whitefish. You had two options. In one direction you went 9 miles down the dirt road and it was supposedly 15 minutes quicker. The other direction it was only 3 miles of dirt road, but it was longer. Either way it was too far. Although the sites were spaced out ok, they were dark. It seemed depressing. We weren’t there to boat on the lake, and riding our bikes on the dirt road wasn’t too appealing. There was one hike up to a view of the lake, but we could stand right on the shore and see it all. It just wasn’t for us. And to top it all off, the water system had recently been vandalized and all the water spigots we’re covered and marked unsafe for drinking. So instead of staying there all day with no cell service (anywhere isn’t too bad if you can hide inside and surf the internet to plan your next stop 🙂 ) we decided would get some things done. We drove to the laundromat, picked up a few items we needed for the trailer, had lunch, got more groceries and used the wi-fi to make our plan of attack for Glacier.
And so after two campgrounds that weren’t stellar, we learned something. We really don’t like sites without some sky view.
We loved the open sky from the meadow in Winthrop. We loved watching the clouds across the lake in Marcus Island. Even at Newhalem where you can only see bits of sky from the sites, when you walk the campground you have views of the nearby peaks. So again two nights and we were out of there. We left early, packing up everything we could the night before and setting the alarm for the first time since we started our adventure. We knew we had to make it to Glacier before 10am to claim a spot, and the one good thing about Tally Lake was it put us close enough to do just that.