The North Fork of the Flathead River and the nearby little settlement of Polebridge have refreshed and renewed my spirit since I first saw them decades ago. The setting gripped my curiosity and refused to let go. Up on the North Fork, I’ve heard the purling harmony of wolves, seen a herd of elk pour like water down a hillside, and watched a griz gorge on huckleberries. For twenty years, a cherished friend ran the Polebridge Mercantile and the Northern Lights Saloon, which doubled as a restaurant, without benefit of electricity. Her stories and formidable energy led me to the Glacier National Park Library to peruse recorded oral histories of the early mountain men and homesteaders. As a result, the North Fork is the setting for my next book, a historical novel inspired by panoramic views, colorful adventurers, and that clear river swirling and rippling endlessly through my inspired imagination.
Photo from http://myitchytravelfeet.files.wordpress.com/fall-on-the-flathead-river-polebridge-montana-jpg
The first time we visited the North Fork (August, 1987), we stopped at the Polebridge Merc and I told the man running it that I could not wait to wade in the river. He said, “Little lady, that water is so cold, you need to put an ice cube in it to warm it up.” Being from hot, humid Texas, I didn’t believe him. It was August, the hottest month of the year. So when we got to our cabin, I ran into the shallow waters of the river and immediately discovered HE WAS RIGHT. Brrrrrrr
The man’s humor is typical North Fork, out there with a touch of truth buried in the nonsense.